Profile of the advisor

Prof. dr. Wouter Roos obtained a PhD in biophysics in Heidelberg and after a post-doc period at the Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung (Stuttgart) and Institut Curie (Paris) he went to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to focus on Physical Virology techniques and approaches. In particular he studied (and still studies) material properties of viruses using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). In 2015 he accepted the chair in Molecular Biophysics at the Zernike Institute, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Here Roos is heading a research group focusing on mechanics and dynamics at molecular to cellular length scales, including studies on viral self-assembly and mechanics, extra-cellular vesicles and membrane proteins. These questions are addressed with an interdisciplinary team where people with backgrounds in various disciplines of Life sciences, including physics, chemistry and biology, combine forces to tackle the challenges that come up while elucidating the fascinating mechanisms that govern life processes.


Biophysics, Viruses, AFM, self-assembly.

Profile of the research group

The Molecular Biophysics lab aims to describe and unravel physical principles of (sub)cellular mechanics and dynamics and to elucidate mechanisms behind protein and supramolecular assembly functionality. In particular we study the structure and mechanics of viral capsids, their interaction with host cell molecules and the mechanisms of nanoparticle self-assembly. Viral assembly and genome-capsid interactions are closely related and for many viruses assembly is crucially dependent on the encapsulated cargo. We study this assembly and the related cargo-capsid interactions with various biophysical techniques, such as (High Speed-)AFM, Optical Tweezers and Fluorescence Microscopy. In addition we study the structure and dynamics of liposomes and extracellular vesicles. These latter vesicles have recently become under intense scrutiny for their role in inter-cellular communication as well as for their potential as drug carrier vehicle.