D (Daan) Vorselen

D (Daan) Vorselen

Universitair docent

For the most up-to-date information, check out the Vorselen Lab website: https://vorselenlab.com/

Daan Vorselen started as assistant professor in the department of cell biology and immunology (CBI) in August 2022. He received an interdisciplinary training in biology (Leiden University) and biophysics (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). He performed his postdoctoral research in mechanobiology and immune cell biology at Stanford University and the University of Washington with Julie Theriot. This work was partly funded by a personal CRI Irvington fellowship.

Throughout his research career Daan worked on a variety of topics, from prediction of population collapse of labaratory yeast colonies, to probing of mechanical properties of extracellular vesicles in blood disorders, to phagocytic behavior of immune cells. His current work aims to understand rapid and complex immune cell dynamics, and particularly the role of physical forces therein. He uses a truly interdisciplinary approach, combining development of biophysical methods with quantitative imaging and advanced molecular biology approaches.

Our current research focusses on:

  • Development of new mechanobiology approaches. Although less familiar than genetic or biochemical aspects, physical forces have emerged as key regulators of cellular processes. This includes our immune response, where immune cells use physical forces to guide target selection and enhance target killing. We develop new tools, such as deformable microspheres, to better understand how forces regulate immune cell behavior.
  • Dynamics of phagocytic cup shaping. Phagocytosis, the uptake of large targets by cells, is important for clearing bacteria during infection as well as removal of dead tissue cells in homeostasis. How do immune cells adapt to such a wide variety of targets? We study the dynamics of the engulfment process: how are large cellular shape changes orchestrated in space and time by individual interactions between proteins? See here for an example.
  • Molecular regulation of efferocytosis. A recent current focus is on how macrophages clean up dead cells from tissues. This process is a promising novel target for therapeutic intervention in the context of atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer. We recently performed a genome-wide CRISPR screen to identify regulators of this process, and are now trying to establish how known and novel regulators, including receptors, function in efferocytosis.


To achieve our goals, we develop biophysical approaches and make use of quantitative high-resolution microscopy and advanced molecular biology. We are also keen on exploring different (immune) cell-cell interactions. Interested in joining or collaborating? Reach out to daan.vorselen [at] wur.nl