Prof.dr. Cees Dekker

Research Theme(s): Single-molecule biophysics, Synthetic biology, Cell biophysics

Current Research Interests: Chromatin structure, DNA loop extrusion, Genome in a box, Nanopores for protein sensing and sequencing, Biomimetic nuclear pore complex, Synthetic cells, Bacterial biophysics, Diagnostics for neglected diseases


Prof. dr. Cees Dekker (1959) is Distinguished University Professor at Delft University of Technology and KNAW Royal Academy Professor. Trained as a solid-state physicist, he discovered many of the exciting electronic properties of carbon nanotubes in the 1990s. Since 2000 he moved to single-molecule biophysics and nanobiology, with research from studies of DNA loop extrusion and supercoiling to DNA translocation through nanopores. More recently his research has focused on studying chromatin structure and cell division with bacteria on chip, while he is also attempting to ultimately build synthetic cells from the bottom up.
 Dekker is an elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and fellow to the APS and the IOP. Dekker headed the prestigious Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft as Director from 2010-2018. He initiated an entirely new Department of Bionanoscience at Delft and leads the 51M€ NWO Zwaartekracht program NanoFront. He published over 300 papers, received an honorary doctorate, and many prizes such as the 2001 Agilent Europhysics Prize, the 2003 Spinoza award, the 2012 ISNSCE Nanoscience Prize, and the 2017 NanoSmat Prize. In 2006, Delft University appointed him as an Institute Professor. In 2014, Dekker was knighted as Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and in 2015, he received his second ERC Advanced Grant and the KNAW appointed him as a Royal Academy Professor.

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


Current Projects

  • Chromatin structure
  • DNA loop extrusion
  • Genome in a box
  • Nanopores for protein sensing and sequencing
  • Biomimetic nuclear pore complex
  • Synthetic cells
  • Bacterial biophysics
  • Diagnostics for neglected diseases

Highlight Publications

1. DNA-loop extruding condensin complexes can traverse one another

E. Kim, J. Kerssemakers, I.A. Shaltiel, C.H. Haering, C. Dekker



2. Real-time imaging of DNA loop extrusion by condensin

M. Ganji, I.A. Shaltiel, S. Bisht, E. Kim, A. Kalichava, C.H. Haering, C. Dekker

Science 360, 102-105


3. Paving the Way to Single-Molecule Protein Sequencing

 L. Restrepo-Pérez, C. Joo, C. Dekker

Nature Nanotechn. 13, 786–796


4. The condensin complex is a mechanochemical motor that translocates along DNA

T. Terekawa, S. Bisht, J.M. Eeftens, C. Dekker, C.H. Haering, E.C. Greene

Science, eaan6516


5. Treadmilling by FtsZ filaments drives peptidoglycan synthesis and bacterial cell division

A.W. Bisson-Filho, Y.-P. Hsu, G.R. Squyres, E. Kuru, F. Wu, C. Jukes, C. Dekker, S. Holden, M.S. VanNieuwenhze, Y.V. Brun, E.C.Garner

Science 355, 739-743


6. Zooming in to see the bigger picture: using nanofabrication to study bacteria

F.J.H. Hol and C. Dekker

Science 346, 1251821


7. Dynamics of DNA supercoils

M.T.J. van Loenhout, M.V. de Grunt, C. Dekker

Science 338, 94-97


8. Solid-state nanopores, a new single-molecule tool for biophysics and biotechnology

C. Dekker

Nature Nanotech. 2, 209-215 


A full list of publications can be found here

Full Professor

Prof.dr. C. Dekker

Management Assistant

Nadine Kuijvenhoven