In vitro membrane growth for synthetic cell division (MEP)

What and Why

One of the key challenges in the construction of a synthetic cell is to realize cell division. The physical process of dividing a single cell into two daughter cells has been a fascinating research question for decades, and its molecular basis is still far from understood. Besides an active machinery that can generate the constricting force required for division, also generation of extra surface area is required to facilitate the generation of two compartments.

The Project

In this project, you will explore various techniques for in vitro realization of membrane growth. You will compare external addition of membrane material with intracellular biosynthesis of the membrane building blocks, called phospholipids. You will mechanically characterize and quantify the membrane growth.


Lennard van Buren (, Gijsje Koenderink (

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