Martin Depken appointed Department Chair of Bionanscience (BN)


Martin Depken has been appointed Department Chair of BN with effect from 1 April 2021. He succeeds Marileen Dogterom who has managed and directed the growth of BN since 1 January 2014 as Department Chair. As head of department Marileen has established the Bionanoscience department’s position as a cutting-edge bio-science centre that attracts top talent from all over the world. I would like to express my thanks to Marileen for all her commitment and efforts for both BN and the TNW faculty over the past seven years.                                                                 

Martin Depken was born in Sweden, and studied Applied Physics at Lund University. He graduated with a DPhil in theoretical physics from Oxford University in 2005, and held postdoc positions at Leiden University, MPI/CBG-PKS Dresden, and the VU Amsterdam, before joining the department of Bionanoscience as an assistant professor in 2011. He was promoted to associate professor in 2016.

Martin runs a theoretical group focusing on the biomolecular machines that read, copy, and modify the genetic code. Using bottom-up mechanistic modelling, they aim to understand how biological function arises from the physical interactions between machine, code, and environment. A recent focus has been the popular genome editing tool CRISPR-Cas.

As head of department Martin will continue to solidify the Bionanoscience department’s position as an international hotspot for research and education at the interface of nanophysics and biology. He especially wants to further this goal by focusing on the department members, ensuring that time spent in the department adds value to the lifes and careers of all—irrespective of position, or whether the path leads inside or outside academia.

Martin spends his leisure time with his family, and dabbles with paint and he says: “I keep my inner engineer alive by trying to automate the watering of my plants and tracking ants using an Arduino.”

In Martin we have found a strong, enthusiastic candidate with the necessary management experience, passion for research and interest in the people of BN. I wish him every success in his new position.

Lucas van Vliet,

Dean TNW