Company Visit Gent

Last week the first and second year students visited Gent. We had a tour and a presentation at two companies: The Cell Factory and ProDigest. Here the students learned a lot on how to turn research into a viable company in the biotechnology sector. The cell factory is a company focused on the development of extracellular vesicles for applications in regenerative medicine. The development of these EV’s would be much more affordable than other drugs used in this field. The cell factory is the Research and Development department of the larger company Esperite. During the tour we could see how the EVs were visualized using light scattering. Secondly, we visited...
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Mystery of superior Leeuwenhoek microscope solved after 350 years

Researchers from TU Delft and Rijksmuseum Boerhaave have solved an age-old mystery surrounding Antonie van Leeuwenhoek’s microscopes. A unique collaboration at the interface between culture and science has proved conclusively that the linen trader and amateur scholar from Delft ground and used his own thin lenses. Considering the unrivalled quality of the microscopic images produced by Van Leeuwenhoek, this was always thought to be practically impossible. The prevailing view was that grinding small lenses of such high quality by hand was simply a bridge too far. A new research method helped to solve the mystery: namely using a neutron bundle from the TU Delft research reactor. The TU Delft Reactor...
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Graduation Bachelor and Master students

On March 29, a small group of Nanobiology students received their Bachelor and Master’s degree. During the ceremony, Tessa Vergroesen (BSc) gave a speech in which she explained how Nanobiology bridged the gap for her personally. She explained that she had to get out of her comfort zone by studying math and physics next to biology. During the speech of Héctor Tejeda (MSc), we learned a lot about the fun and struggles of a Mexican in the Netherlands. Next to Tessa Vergroesen and Héctor Tejeda, we would like to congratulate Ayla Engels, Mandy Segers and David Hueting with getting their degrees!

Kickoff Delft Bioengineering Institute

Last week the Kickoff of the Delft Bioengineering Institute took place at the Aula. Prof. Isabel Arends, professor of Biocatalysis and the founder of the Institute: “All across our campus you find scientists who share my fascination for the building blocks of biology and what we can achieve with them. It is a wide and varied field of research. In Delft, we are working on biofuels and biomaterials, but also on subjects like bacteriophages, cell imaging, organ-on-chip technology, and the synthetic cell. The institute will connect these people with each other, and with parties from other areas of society, such as government, industry, non-profit organisations and other academic partners. Together, we...
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Excursion Phenomworld

Last week a group of Master Students traveled to Eindhoven to visit Phenomworld. Phenomworld has separated from a major Electron Microscope Builder, FEI, a few years ago. Phenomworld makes desktop Scanning Electron Microscopes. A desktop SEM is about as big as an old school computer, but weights between 60 and 80 kilos. The resolution can be up to 8 nm in ideal circumstances. Normally, SEMs take up almost an entire room. Desktop SEMs have different applications, like looking at gun shot residues, but also many applications in the Life Science Field. If you want to use a desktop SEM yourself, you can always go to the children’s museum NEMO.

Mathematics explains why Crispr-Cas9 sometimes cuts the wrong DNA

The discovery of the Cas9 protein has been of great value to medical science. It has simplified gene editing tremendously, and may even make it possible to eliminate many hereditary diseases in the near future. Using Cas9, researchers have the ability to cut DNA in a cell to correct mutated genes, or paste new pieces of genetic material into the newly opened spot. Initially, the Crispr-Cas9 system seemed to be extremely accurate. But unfortunately, it is now apparent that Cas9 sometimes also cuts other DNA sequences similar to the exact sequences it was programmed to target. Scientists at Delft University of Technology have developed a mathematical model that explains why...
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Prof. Cees Dekker reveals DNA mystery

Prof. Cees Dekker’s team resolved a biological mystery in collaboration with foreign researchers from EMBL Heidelberg and Columbia University: how our genes are packed in cells. It was already known that DNA molecules, that have a size of two meters in each cells when they are stretched out, must be packed in some way. In 1882 it was already observed through a microscope how DNA molecules are packed into very small chromosomes prior to cell division. The question remained how these molecules are packed exactly. It was already known that condensin plays a key-role in compacting chromosomes. Until recently, there were two theories on how condensin packages these molecules. One...
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Wnt Holiday 2018

The Wnt holiday 2017/2018 on Fuerteventura was a surf holiday to never forget. We went with a beautiful group of students from different years and did all kinds of activities, from surfing and mountain biking to a legendary cocktail party. Also every day the group went to the beach to learn how to surf or for the less talented to just chill at the beach. While it was freezing in Holland,  we were laying on our surfboards catching some waves and tanning our skin. In the evening we often had dinner with the whole group like on the tapas evening. Every night was a big party and memories were made....
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The axolotl genome

Scientists from the universities of Dresden, Heidelberg and Vienna have recently sequenced the entire genome of the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). This Mexican salamander serves as a modelorganism in the evolutionary developmental biology and plays an important role in the research on regeneration. Pluripotent stemcells, neoblasts and blastema give multiple species the capacity to regenerate tissues and organs after loss or damage. Already in 1768 it was discovered that axolotls can regenerate limbs and tails, yet the complete genome of these organisms remained unknown for a long time. One of the main obstacles in sequencing this genome is its size: the axolotls genome consists of 32 billion basepairs (which is ten...
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Scientists at the EMC receive grant for research on dementia

The research groups Molecular Genetics and Neuroscience of the Erasmus Medical Center have received 1,2 million euro’s for research on dementia. The focus of the research will be the influence of aging and DNA damage on dementia. Prevention is a central theme in all research on these aging-associated diseases. The formation of protein-plaques is a specialism of the researchers. Earlier research has shown that the neural system benefits from an improvement in diet. Especially a smaller intake of protein (for example from meat) likely has a positive effect. Dr. Joris Pothof (teacher for the Nanobiology course Engineering Genetic Information) and dr. Pier Giorgio Mastroberardino from Molecular Genetics and prof. Ype...
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