Faculty of Applied Sciences
31 March 2020
ERC Advanced Grant for Cees Dekker and Lieven VandersypenTwo researchers of AS have been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant. Cees Dekker (Bionanoscience) and Lieven Vandersypen (Quantum Nanoscience/QuTech) will receive this European grant, which is awarded to five-year projects conducted by internationally established research leaders. Cees Dekker - Building a chromosome from the bottom up How is DNA organized in our cells? In 2018, Cees Dekker had a breakthrough that made headlines. His research group recorded on video how a protein complex extrudes loops in the DNA to pack the genetic material into compact chromosomes. Early this year, he discovered a new kind of DNA loops , called 'Z-loops'. "With this ERC Advanced Grant, my group can spend the next five years researching how our DNA is organised into chromosomes, which change shape all the time during a cell's life cycle," says Dekker. "In recent years, it has become clear that the spatial arrangement of chromosomes is crucial to their biological function. We are going to figure out exactly how their structure and function are related". In order to achieve that goal, Cees Dekker will, among other things, build a chromosome from the bottom up - an approach that the group calls 'genome-in-a-box'. "The idea is to add all kinds of essential, DNA-organising proteins to a very long piece of bare DNA that is the size of an entire genome under controlled conditions", explains Dekker. "Indeed, by building it step by step, we can learn a lot. Genome-in-a-box is a unique way to learn which protein systems and physical conditions are needed for the formation of chromosomes." The Cees Dekker Lab has a lot of knowledge and tools related to single molecule biophysics, which enables the group to manipulate and measure single molecules. Based on that knowledge and skill, and helped by collaborations with some of the world's best biochemists, Cees Dekker and his group expect to be able to literally and figuratively unravel the secrets of chromosomes in the coming years. Lieven Vandersypen - Performing quantum simulations with an experimental model system Aristotle’s phrase ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ applies perfectly to Lieven Vandersypen’s research on so-called ‘quantum many body systems’. In these systems, quantum particles interact with one another, leading to phenomena such as quantum magnetism and superconductivity. The complexity of these systems makes them very difficult to model on conventional computers. Instead of using a computer, Vandersypen therefore uses a model quantum system. Vandersypen: “By constructing experimental model systems, we hope to get new insight into some of the biggest open problems in condensed matter physics, and to reveal new physics.” For more information about this project, please read the more detailed article on the QuTech website .
10 March 2020
Researchers organically engineer solar cells using enzymes in papaya fruitTitanium dioxide (titania) thin films are commonly used in various types of solar cells. The fabrication methods that are currently used to create such titania films require high temperatures, as well as expensive, high-end technologies. Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have now developed a fully organic method to engineer porous titania thin films at relatively low temperatures.
06 March 2020
Light flows around corners unhinderedResearchers of AMOLF and TU Delft have seen light propagate in a special material without it suffering from reflections. The material, a photonic crystal, consists of two parts that each have a slightly different pattern of perforations.
05 March 2020
2020 Soft Matter Lectureship awarded to Valeria GarbinThe Royal Society of Chemistry has announced Dr Valeria Garbin as the recipient of the 2020 Soft Matter Lectureship. This annual award was established in 2009 to honour an early-stage career scientist who has made a significant contribution to the soft matter field.
Life from the lab
Scientists at TU Delft want to make a synthetic cell from separate biological building blocks.
Crafting matter atom by atom
Over the past twenty years, the scale of data storage decreased at an astonishing rate. With society currently creating more than a billion gigabytes of data every day, further decrease of data storage area is becoming increasingly relevant. Together with his team, however, Prof. Sander Otte from Delft University of Technology found the ultimate solution.
Tinkering under the bonnet of life
CRISPR-Cas9, the technique scientists use to very precisely edit DNA, is receiving global attention. And rightly so, because this technology has far-reaching consequences. A longer life in good health? The end of genetic disorders? Crops that are able to survive in the harshest conditions? CRISPR-Cas9 brings all of this and more within our grasp. The research group of Dr Stan Brouns at the department of Bionanoscience is conducting fundamental research into how CRISPR systems function. What is his take on the forthcoming revolution?