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Research Zernike (ZIAM) Molecular Biophysics Van Oijen Group


Antoine van Oijen (group leader)

After having completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in physics at Leiden University (the Netherlands), Antoine moved to the Boston area in 2001 for a postdoctoral fellowship in Sunney Xie’s lab at Harvard Chemistry. In 2004 he started his own lab at Harvard Medical School, followed by a return in 2009 to the country of wooden shoes and tulips as a full professor at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. In 2015, he will move his research group to the University of Wollongong in Australia. (e-mail:

Hylkje Geertsema (graduate student)

After receiving her master’s degree in Physics of Life in Amsterdam, she was the first graduate student to join the Single Molecule Biophysics group in the far northern city, Groningen. Together with Nathan, she works on single-molecule prokaryotic DNA replication (e-mail:

Victor Krasnikov (research scientist)

Victor obtained his Ph.D. from Moscow University on studies of resonance nonlinear optical processes in atomic media. Afterwards, he continued working on nonlinear optics and laser spectroscopy in the Optical Condensed Matter Physics group. His obtained knowledge and Russian roots have shown to be extremely helpful in setting-up our new lab in Groningen (e-mail:

Margriet Derix (secretary)

Started working for the University of Groningen in September 1992, after several year working as a secretary to a CEO in industry. The first 6,5 years as secretary for the Biochemistry Department, followed by 14,5 years as management-assistant for the bureau of the Zernike Institute. Since 1 June 2013 she works for the Single-Molecule Biophysics group (email:

Michiel Punter (programmer)

Michiel received his master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Twente. After working as a scientific programmer at Technical Medicine for the University of Twente he decided to move back to the north of The Netherlands where he is originally from. He joined the Single Molecule Biophysics group to help build the tools to support a world-class biophysics research program at the University of Groningen (e-mail:

Andrew Robinson (postdoctoral fellow)

Andrew completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Macquarie University in Sydney before idling down the coast to join the laboratory of Nick Dixon at the University of Wollongong in 2007. He recently traded warm weather and x-rays for a cooler climate and lasers, joining the Single Molecule Biophysics group in Groningen late in 2010. As before, he is working on DNA replication in bacteria, and is learning to accept the fact that things move when they’re not in crystal structures (e-mail:

Da Liu (graduate student)

Da received his bachelor’s degree in Fundamental Sciences, Chemistry and Biology from Tsinghua University, China. Originally trained as an all-round physicist, chemist, and biologist, in 2010 he joined the lab to become a real biophysicist. In his PhD research, he is using super-resolution imaging and in vivo single-molecule tracking techniques to study membrane-protein biogenesis. (email:

Alex Turkin (graduate student)

Having obtained a bachelor’s degree in hardcore theoretical physics in Ukraine, Alex decides to try himself in Nanoscience. For that purpose he moves to the Netherlands where he successfully graduates from the University of Groningen with a top-master’s degree in Nanoscience. From then on Alex takes another sharp turn and joins the Single-Molecule Biophysics group to study the yet completely unknown to him biological processes, particularly the sliding of peptides on DNA. (e-mail:

Samaneh Mashaghi (graduate student)

She did her undergraduate studies in Mechanical engineering in Iran and Switzerland. While she was at ETH Zurich she developed interest in nano-optics. She then moved to Finland and completed her master studies in Nanoscience with a thesis on chirality sorting of SWCNTs. Her current research focus is to combine single-molecule fluorescence imaging techniques with the use of microfluidics to enable the highly multiplexed observation of viral fusion events. (e-mail:

Joris Goudsmits (graduate student)

Two years after visiting the Van Oijen Lab in Boston for a few months, Joris decided to join the group in Groningen. With a master’s degree in Applied Physics (Eindhoven University), he is complementing the team that works on single molecule studies of membrane transporters. (e-mail:

Victor Caldas (graduate student)

Victor obtained his bachelor’s degree in Physics and Biomolecular Sciences and a Master degree in Applied Physics, both from University of São Paulo, being a member of the Protein Crystallography group (IFSC-USP) for several years. After an academic about-face, he decided to join the Single-Molecule Biophysics group and is now working with DNA trans-lesion polymerases in E. coli. It still amazes him that he can research without tons of pure protein/ml in a tube and that there is no problem in biking in the rain with a umbrella. (

Sarah Stratmann (graduate student)

Sarah obtained her master’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Tuebingen, Germany, with a penchant for the biophysics of motor proteins during her thesis. She joined the van Oijen group in 2011 to work on single-molecule studies on the overall coordination of the T7 replisome (email: S.A.Stratmann

Karl Duderstadt (postdoctoral fellow)

Karl completed his undergraduate studies in physics at Oberlin College in the United States before moving to the laboratory of James M. Berger at the University of California Berkeley, where he earned his PhD in biophysics studying how replication origins are opened. Since joining the Single-Molecule Biophysics group, Karl has been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Human Frontier Science Progam to develop novel imaging techniques to study the coordination of daughter strand synthesis by single replication complexes. (email:

Lisanne Spenkelink (graduate student)

Lisanne obtained her master’s degree in Experimental Physics at the University of Groningen. Because she always had an interest in Biology, she joined the Single-molecule Biophysics group for her master’s thesis, working on the visualisation of protein exchange in DNA replication by E. coli . She enjoyed this work so much that she started her PhD. in the Van Oijen group in September 2013 to continue working on the project. As a part of the FOM crowding program, she focusses on the visualisation of single proteins under high, physiologically relevant protein concentrations. (email:

Jelle Blijleven (graduate student)

Jelle started out with an interest in Physics and the Theory of All. However, his weak spot for biology kept nagging him and he was very happy to join the Single-molecule Biophysics group for his Master’s thesis in viral fusion. Using the microscopy techniques adopted here and supported by a modelling group he will now focus on the intricate machinery of influenza fusion. (e-mail:

Enrico Monachino (graduate student)

Enrico obtained his Master degree in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Trieste, Italy with a thesis on catalytic reduction of carbon dioxide. However, his physicist soul needed a partner, which eventually was found to be biology. To cut a long story short, he joined the Single-molecule group where he is involved in the “Crowding Management” project. In particular he studies how the E. coli replisome deals with roadblocks on its DNA track. (e-mail:

Harshad Ghodke (postdoctoral fellow)

Harshad performed his doctoral studies on the dynamics of DNA damage recognition at the single molecule level in the laboratory of Prof. Van Houten at the University of Pittsburgh. In January 2014, he moved to Groningen where he started working in the van Oijen lab as a Postdoctoral fellow. In the Single Molecule Biophysics Group, he traded quantum dots for genetically encoded fluorescent proteins to study DNA repair in live cells. (e-mail:

Flynn Hill (postdoctoral fellow)

Flynn completed his PhD at the University of Wollongong in the lab of Nick Dixon, under the co-supervision of Moeava Tehei. There, he used X-ray and neutron scattering techniques to investigate the structures and dynamics of a range of bacterial replisome proteins, the enzymes which carry out DNA replication. After joining the Single Molecule Biophysics group in late 2013, he is now using single-molecule techniques, in particular tethered particle microscopy, to investigate the dynamics of individual DNA replication complexes. (email

Last modified:24 May 2019 5.46 p.m.