We investigate how cells attain a well-structured architecture. Special attention is given to the role of forces and physical principles that determine the dynamics of cellular life. We focus on the interactions that cytoskeletal filaments, microtubules and actin, have with each other and from there aim to understand the organization and functioning of large-scale cytoskeletal networks that have essential roles in shaping cells. This approach is well demonstrated by our work on the mitotic spindle and the plant cortex. Here the ordering of cytoskeletal filaments regulates cell division and the deposition of cell wall material, a valuable natural resource.
The laboratory houses five senior researchers.
Marcel Janson studies microtubule organization using diverse model systems including the fission yeast S.pombe and in vitro reconstitution assays. Intriguing physical aspects of microtubule bundling by crosslinking proteins were recently described.
Tijs Ketelaar is interested in the role of actin in plant cell organization and cell growth (Arabidopsis). In addition he studies morphogenesis of the plant cell wall involving the cytoskeleton and cellulose synthase complexes.
Bela Mulder (adjunct professor of theoretical cell physics) applies concepts from physics to explain processes of self-organization in living cells. He has his main research group at the FOM Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam.