Molecular Biophysics

Cells are comprised of a multitude of molecular components that work together to perform an impressive array of complex tasks. Casimir researchers study the workings of the living cell using a physics-based quantitative approach down to the single-molecule level. Newly developed experimental techniques and the materials control offered by molecular biology are key ingredients.

In-vivo: Whereas past breakthroughs in biophysical research were mostly based on idealized in-vitro experiments, it is expected that the processes in real living cells will be qualitatively and quantitatively different. The challenge taken on by Casimir researchers is to take biophysics to the next level and study cellular processes in the more realistic environment of living cells. To achieve this, physicists, together with chemists and biologists, are developing and pioneering non-invasive tools.

Bionanoscience: In Delft, the department of Bionanoscience, led by Prof. Marileen Dogterom, is home to a strongly multidisciplinary team of scientists with varying backgrounds ranging from cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry, synthetic biology, theoretical biology to biophysics and nanoprobes. Together, these researchers use in-vitro single-molecule techniques to study how DNA replicates and repairs errors, how multi-protein complexes function as a whole, and how bacteria acquire resistance against antibiotics.

Single molecules: In Leiden, biophysics forms part of a joint laboratory with chemistry, biology, and pharmacology, called the Cell Observatory. As one of the projects, the group of Orrit recently pioneered a technique to image the scattering of light by single gold nanoparticles. These particles are non-toxic and do not suffer from photo-bleaching. In collaboration with the groups of Van Noort and Schmidt the nanoparticles will be used as labels for probing single-molecule dynamics and mechanical properties in a living cell.

Take a look at our positions:
Positions PhD
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Researchers in the field of Molecular Biophysics

  • Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam, Delft
  • Bertus Beaumont, Delft
  • Greg Bokinsky, Delft
  • Pouyan Boukany, Delft
  • Stan Brouns, Delft
  • Christophe Danelon, Delft  
  • Cees Dekker, Delft
  • Nynke Dekker, Delft
  • Martin Depken, Delft  
  • Marileen Dogterom, Delft
  • Peter Gast, Leiden
  • Edgar Groenen, Leiden
  • Martina Huber, Leiden
  • Timon Idema, Delft
  • Arjen Jakobi, Delft
  • Chirlmin Joo, Delft
  • Gijsje Koenderink, Delft
  • Liedewij Laan, Delft
  • Dimphna Meijer, Delft
  • John van Noort, Leiden
  • Tjerk Oosterkamp, Leiden
  • Michel Orrit, Leiden
  • Thomas Schmidt, Leiden
  • Stefan Semrau, Leiden
  • Sander Tans, Delft
  • Claire Wyman, Delft
  • Hyun Youk, Delft
  • Kristin Grussmayer, Delft
  • Jos Zwanikken, Delft