Research activities

Our research group focusses on three themes:

  1. Folding pathways are traditionally studied for proteins in isolation, even though chaperones are critical to achieving native folds. Consequently, the mechanisms by which chaperones act remains poorly understood. We address this question with a single-molecule approach, using optical tweezers, protein constructs, and computer modelling (Science 2007).
  1. The stochastic nature of gene expression is increasingly understood, but how it impacts growth and fitness remains unclear. We investigate this issue using genetic engineering, microfabricated flow-cells, single-cell time-lapse fluorescence microscopy (EMBO rep. 2009).
  1. Evolutionary processes are typically studied in constant environments, and a descriptive manner. As a result, the evolutionary dynamics in variable environments has been barely addressed, even though this is considered central to the evolution of complex biological functions. Using synthetic biology and mathematical modelling, we aim to bring a more predictive approach to these fascinating issues (Nature 2007)

Past research topics include single-molecule studies on DNA packaging by bacterial viruses, and carbon nanotube-based electronics.

More biophysics on tansgroup website

Figure: Empirical fitness landscapes reveal accessible evolutionary paths. Nature 445:383-386 (2007)

Group Members

  • Molecular machine tears toxic protein clumps apart

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  • Moleculaire machine trekt toxische eiwitaggregaten uit elkaar

    Hoe halen cellen aan elkaar geklonterde eiwitten uit elkaar? Onderzoekers van AMOLF en de universiteit van Heidelberg laten zien dat de moleculaire chaperonne ClpB aan enkele eiwitketens trekt, en deze …

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  • Evolutie is als het weer: kansrijke mutaties zijn te voorspellen

    Omdat evolutie drijft op toeval, lijkt het voorspellen ervan onmogelijk. Toch is het biofysici van AMOLF en het ESPCI in Parijs gelukt om met een model voorspellingen te doen over …

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  • New method predicts evolution

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