Research activities

At the molecular level, we use optical tweezers and single-molecule fluorescence to study how chaperones fold amino-acid chains into functional proteins, and more recently to probe the role of ribosomes and translation.

At the cellular level, we use time-lapse microscopy and image analysis to understand how multi-cellular systems self-organise, with a specific recent interest in organoids.

The group is based at the AMOLF institute in Amsterdam, and is part of the Living Matter initiative. It is headed by Sander Tans, who is also affiliated with Delft University of Technology, and the Kavli institute of Nanoscience.

If you are interested in joining our team, send us an e-mail to

See the Tans group website

Group Members

  • First study of CRISPR-Cas defense in individual cells shows remarkable variability

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  • A magic top hat for protein folding

    Following a single protein inside the cavity of a GroEL chaperone for the first time, researchers at AMOLF led by professor Sander Tans discovered how protein folding can be accelerated.

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  • Signal discovered that connects cell size with cell growth

    The mechanisms connecting growth with cell size have been mysterious – up till now: in a recent publication in Current Biology, researchers from AMOLF and TU Delft  have uncovered that …

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  • Two NWO Rubicon grants for AMOLF researchers

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