Dr. S. (Sabina) Caneva

Dr. S. (Sabina) Caneva


Sabina Caneva is a tenure track Assistant Professor and Delft Technology Fellow in the Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering at TU Delft. She is interested in bridging advances in instrumentation and nanofabrication with insights into biophysical phenomena at the smallest scale. Her group focuses on developing ultrasenstivie nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) to study fundamental questions and tackle challenges in nanobiology, including molecular diagnostics and size-selective biomolecular transport across cell membranes.

She currently leads the interdisciplinary BioNEMS team of 2 Postdocs, 3 PhD students and 3 Master students, with backgrounds in nanoscience, physics, optical engineering, electrical engineering and physical chemistry.


Keywords: 2D materials, single-molecule biophysics, nanodevices, acoustofluidics, fluorescence microscopy, DNA origami, quantum emitters.

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Research interests

Our group's current research is focused on two main themes

  • Acousto-photonic nanofluidics -  We are building novel single-molecule analysis platforms by combining advances in 2D material nanophotonics, nanopore technologies and acoustofluidics. We are particularly interested in understanding acoustic-structure effects and light-matter interactions at the nanoscale for single-molecule confinement, manipulation and detection.
  • DNA origami nanoactuators - Using cutting-edge techniques such as DNA origami self-assembly, acoustic tweezers and fast-scan AFM imaging, we study the mechanics and dynamics of mechanically-adaptable nanopores for on-demand delivery of diagnostically relevant macromolecules in cells.

Our research has been featured in the media:

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Academic background

Dr Caneva holds an Undergraduate-Masters degree in Materials Science from Oxford University and a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge. In 2016, she joined the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in Delft as a postdoc between the Departments of Quantum Nanoscience and Bionanoscience, where she worked on molecular electronics and nanopore sensors.

Dr Caneva started her independent research group at the Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering, TU Delft, in May 2020. 

She acquired prestigious national and international funding, including a Marie Curie individual fellowship (2018, Project BioGraphING), a Delft Technology Fellowship (2020), an ENW-XS grant (2021, Project MechanoPore) and an ERC Starting Grant (2022).

For more information about our work and openings please visit the group website: https://www.canevalab.com/

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