Dr. Christophe Danelon

Research Themes: Synthetic Biology

Research Interests: Our group is devoted to the construction of a synthetic cell using a bottom-up biology approach. The core architecture of our minimal cell consists of a cell-free gene expression system (called PURE system) encapsulated inside a lipid vesicle compartment (called liposome). Using in-liposome synthesis of proteins from DNA templates, we aim at reconstituting essential cellular modules that will ultimately work in concert to support autonomous growth and division cycles.


Christophe Danelon was born in Montauban (France) in 1977. He studied chemistry and physics in France, and obtained a PhD degree in membrane biophysics from the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse in 2003. After a postdoctoral stay at the EPFL and University of Lausanne (Switzerland), he joined the Bionanoscience department at the TU Delft in 2010, where he’s currently an associate professor. Since 2017, he’s the Director of the Casimir Research School, a research school in interdisciplinary physics established between groups at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in Delft and at the Leiden Institute of Physics (LION).

For further information regarding current research and available projects, visit Danelon Lab


Current Projects

  • Directed evolution for optimization of single protein and system’s level functions
  • DNA replication with the phi29 machinery
  • Vesicle growth through internal production of phospholipids
  • DNA-programmed liposome division

Highlight Publications

  1. D. Blanken, D. Foschepoth, A. Calaça Serrão, and C. Danelon, "Genetically controlled membrane synthesis in liposomes", preprint (2020)
  2.  E. Godino, J. Noguera López, I. Zarguit, A. Doerr, M. Jimenez, G. Rivas, and C. Danelon, "Cell-free biogenesis of bacterial division proto-rings that can constrict liposomes", preprint (2020)
  3. E. Godino, J. Noguera López, D. Foschepoth, C. Cleij, A. Doerr, C. Ferrer Castellà, and C. Danelon, "De novo synthesized Min proteins drive oscillatory liposome deformation and regulate FtsA-FtsZ cytoskeletal patterns" Nature Communications 10, 4969 (2019)
  4. P. van Nies, I. Westerlaken, D. Blanken, M. Salas, M. Mencia and C. Danelon, “Self-replication of DNA by its encoded proteins in liposome-based synthetic cells”, Nature Communications 9, 1583 (2018)

Associate Professor

Christophe Danelon

Management Assistant

Romy de Man