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Nanostructures for biology

Objective

I propose to employ our advanced capabilities for nanofabrication to explore new biology at the single-molecule and single-cell level. I choose to specifically address two directions of intense scientific interest: (i) With my team I will develop and exploit solid-state nanopores for the study of real-time translocation of individual biomolecules. In the past few years, my group has attained a leading position in this field and we want to apply our advanced knowledge to push the technology and use it to resolve some pressing questions in cell biology and biotechnology. Specifically, we will explore screening of DNA-protein complexes at the single-molecule level, and we will build biomimetic nanopores to address the physical mechanism of selection and controlled molecular transport of the nuclear pore complex. (ii) We will use nanofabrication to create well-defined landscapes for bacteria. This will allow biophysical studies of the interaction between bacteria and their habitat with an unprecedented control of the spatial structure and habitat parameters. I strongly believe that this approach constitutes a major new tool to experimentally address a number of fundamental issues in the ecology and evolution of bacteria for the first time in a controlled environment. Additionally, it opens up a way to explore the biophysics of bacteria in confined space, where we will study a new bacterial phenotype in nanofabricated slits which we recently discovered. While this research is primarily driven by the quest for understanding physical mechanisms in biology, it can also be expected to have profound impact on applications in antibiotics, gene therapy, and DNA sequencing.

Call for proposal

ERC-2009-AdG
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Host institution

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT
Address
Stevinweg 1
2628 CN Delft
Netherlands
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 499 091
Principal investigator
Cornelis Dekker (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Raymond Lent (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (1)

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 2 499 091
Address
Stevinweg 1
2628 CN Delft
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Cornelis Dekker (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Raymond Lent (Mr.)