2021 Dr Arnold Boersma - “Sensors To Determine Cell Physiology and Biochemical Organization”
Dr. Arnold J. Boersma studied chemistry at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) where he also pursued his graduate studies in the group of Prof. Ben L. Feringa (Nobel Laureate, 2016) and Prof. Gerard Roelfes. Here, he developed a new concept in catalysis by using DNA as an asymmetric catalyst. For this research, he was awarded the KNCV Catalysis prize for the best Ph.D. thesis on catalysis in the Netherlands. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University in the group of Prof. Hagan Bayley, funded by an NWO Rubicon grant. Here, he became an expert in protein engineering and lipid membranes. In 2012, he returned to the University of Groningen to become an independent researcher with an NWO Veni fellowship. Here, he developed novel probes to detect the physicochemical properties in various types of cells. Based on these research achievements he was awarded an NWO Vidi fellowship in 2016 to become a group leader. He joined the DWI-Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in August 2018 as an independent group leader and obtained the ERC Consolidator grant in 2020.
The Boersma group focuses on synthetic biochemistry, to engineer new proteins as well as larger cell-like systems. These systems are synthesized with specific applications in mind, which range from medical relevance (diagnosis, screening, and/or understanding the basis of disease) to materials and devices. The group has especially a strong record of accomplishment on the design of FRET-based protein probes for macromolecular crowding in diverse living and nonliving systems and for ionic strength measurements. Current interests lie in the development of novel probes and cell-like systems to detect novel parameters in fields that range from biology to material science.
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