8A Nanomolecular machines in cellular force-transduction

Nanomolecular machines in biological systems are capable of generating mechanical forces that are used for active transport processes. These machines lead to active behavior of cellular polymer networks, and lie at the basis of the ability of cells to communicate on a mechanical level with their surrounding tissue. The aim of this programme is to understand, at a fundamental level, what the working principles are of these biomolecular machines, how they collectively operate in functional units, how this affects the material properties of active cellular materials, and how, within tissues, this allows cells to transduce forces to their environment.

We apply both experimental and theoretical techniques, and in addition aim to develop and apply new advanced nano-measurement techniques for the study of biological systems.

Knowledge obtained in this programme will be of immediate value to companies specializing in developing novel strategies and materials for tissues engineering. It furthermore holds the potential to lead to the molecular understanding of certain (motor-related) diseases, and will lead to the development of new research tools for nano- and micro-scale investigations of living cells. The programme brings together leading expertise in the biophysical investigation of cytoskeletal motors, experience in the study of active bionanomaterials, (industrial) expertise in tissue engineering (QTIS/e), and (industrial) expertise in advanced measurement techniques (FEI, Nikon, NT-MDT).

Back to theme 8: Bio-nano

Foto: Bram Saeys. 9-6-2011, STW NanoNext Karel V Utrecht

Programme Director:
Prof. dr. A.M. (Marileen) Dogterom (Delft University of Technology)