The Laan lab is located in the Department of Bionanoscience, part of the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology. We are fascinated by how interactions between biomolecules give rise to living matter, alias life. Physical and chemical laws are the same for living and non living matter, so what is it about the organization of a cell that makes it alive?

We know that cells are highly organized in space and time. During mitosis for example, an intricate network of interactions ensures a remarkable precision and robustness in DNA segregation. This network is highly dynamic and self-organizing; it disassembles at one phase during the cell cycle to be completely rebuilt in the next phase. Additionally this network needs to be robust against genetic perturbations. Especially large multi-cellular organisms, which acquire mutations during their lifetime need to buffer against spontaneous mutations to avoid, for example, cancer formation. Nevertheless, on long evolutionary timescales mutations are essential since they allow organisms to adapt to their changing environment. So how do these complex networks manage to be robust and highly organized on short cellular timescales, but also adaptable on long evolutionary timescales?

image by Andreu Tabener


September 26-27: Liedewij will give an invited talk at the 21st Evolutionary Biology Meeting in Marseilles.

September 13-14: Liedewij will give an invited talk at the Physics of living matter symposium in Cambridge, UK.

August 21-22th: Liedewij and Eveline present a poster at the European Society for Evolutionary Biology meeting (ESEP) in Groningen.

July 21st: Eveline and Leila's paper got accepted in Biophysical Reviews!

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  We try to answer these questions using a variety of experimental approaches ranging from physics to evolutionary biology. To   achieve a deeper understanding of our systems we combine our experiments with modelling approaches, often in collaboration with   theory groups.