The exchange of information between cells – for example a T cell and an antigen-presenting cell, as depicted above – is a complex process, requiring the concerted interaction of many molecules in so-called signaling cascades or pathways.
The Physics of Cellular Interaction Group is exploring the basic physical principles behind cellular signaling. How do cells transmit, process and respond to information, both precisely and unambiguously?
Our group focuses specifically on pathways that are critical for the immune system. For example, we investigate the interplay of membrane topography and signaling: we explore how cells shape their membranes not only in response to signals, but also to detect and discriminate them. We address these questions by studying signaling processes in live cells and by reconstituting them in model-membrane systems (“artificial cells”). By combining a synthetic biology approach with tools from single-molecule biophysics and microfabrication, we can study signaling patterns in time and space and how they give rise to new cellular functions.
En route to addressing these questions, we spend a considerable time developing new methods. For example, we improved a method to encapsulate biological systems into GUVs by cDICE (see here for a detailed protocol and here for building your own cDICE setup) and we have succeeded in repurposing DNA-PAINT for hour-long single-molecule tracking. We share all methods and instrumentation on our group GitHub page.
Interested in our research? See how to join us below, and follow our lab on Twitter (Ganzinger Lab @KGanzinger)!
Laura Bouw, Sharon Bouw, Robert Strasser, Kimberly Westheim, Cedric Iseli, Claudia Concu, Roy Hoitink, Thomas van Boxmeer, Ilaria Zanolla, Elia Escoffier
Louis Brimont, Miles Wang-Henderson
WE HAVE VACANCIES FOR POSTDOC POSITIONS! E-mail Kristina for additional information, and check the website regularly.
AMOLF group leader Kristina Ganzinger (Physics of Cellular Interactions) is one of the 78 researchers who received a NWO Vidi grant that is worth 800.000 euros. This grant allows Ganzinger to further expand her research on immune cell signaling using advanced microscopy and synthetic biology tools. Re-wiring our immune cells to fight cancer Our immune system not only safeguards us from infection, but also cancer: immune cells are constantly surveying our bodies to find – …
The ability of a cell to separate its own matter from its surroundings is a basic requirement for life. A team of researchers at AMOLF and Delft University of Technology have managed to create a synthetic container, or lipid vesicle, that is able to hold a range of different biological systems: from a cytoskeleton to entire E.coli bacteria. Their findings on this optimized cDICE method, which has the potential to reveal the inner workings of …