• Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 October 2021

DutchBiophysics is the annual two-day conference on molecular and cellular biophysics. The aim of this conference is to bring together all Dutch research groups in these two fields of biophysics. The next edition of DutchBiophysics takes place on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 October 2021.

We are all longing for a regular physical meeting this year. The current chain of events and the information provided by the Dutch government however, do not allow us to sufficiently predict the situation in October 2021. After ample deliberation we, the scientific programme committee and the organising team, see no other possibility therefore than to organise a digital conference again.

DutchBiophysics programme

The programme of DutchBiophysics consists of keynote presentations, various plenary sessions with invited national and international speakers, parallel sessions and poster presentations. During the conference, the BioPM Thesis Prize and the BioPM Poster Prize will be awarded by the Association for Biophysics and Biomedical Technology (BioPM).


All researchers working in the field of biophysics are welcome to submit their contribution. Themes include, but are not limited to:
Biomedical engineering; artificial life; bio-mimetic chemical and physical systems; bio-material applications.
Experimental techniques
Experimental techniques of biophysics, including light and electron microscopy, imaging techniques, computational imaging, image analysis, spectroscopy, structural biology, single molecule techniques, and others.
Molecular biophysics; structural biology; single molecule studies; protein engineering.
Organelles, cells, and organs
Cellular biophysics; tissue characterisation and engineering; organismal and organelle-level biophysics; systems biophysics; physiology; microscopy and imaging studies of the above; physics of organs.
Soft matter and bio-materials
Biological membranes; phase behaviour; supramolecular phenomena; materials in and from biology; engineered biomedical materials; molecular assembly in biology; (bio-inspired) soft matter.
Theory and numerics
Theoretical biophysics; numerical simulations; molecular dynamics; systems biophysics; protein design.


Dutch Biophysics is organised and sponsored by the NWO domain Exact and Natural Sciences (ENW), in collaboration with the Dutch Society for Microscopy (NVvM), the Association for Biophysics and Biomedical Technology (BioPM), and the Dutch Society for Cell Biology (DSCB).


You can contact the organisers by email at biophysics@nwo.nl.

  • Programme committee

    Programme committee 2021

    Dr. Tineke Lenstra (chair) NKI
    Prof. dr. Patrick van der Wel (chair) RUG
    Prof. dr. Alexandra Cambi Radboud UMC
    Dr. Ben Giepmans UMC Groningen
    Dr. Jeffrey van Haren Erasmus MC
    Dr.ir. Jacob Hoogenboom TUD
    Dr. Daniela Kraft LEI
    Dr. Tim Marcus VUMC
    Dr. Naomi Chrispijn-Steenbeek NWO
    Dr. Emilie Wientjes WUR


    More information

  • Programme

    Invited speakers 2021

    Keynote speakers

    Stefan Hell - Max Planck Institute for biophyisical chemistry
    Julie Theriot - University of Washington

    International speakers

    Anne Carpenter - Broad Institute
    Rumiana Dimova - Max Planck Institute Potsdam

    National speakers

    Anna Akhmanova - Utrecht University
    Daan Brinks - Delft University of Technology
    Patrick Onck - Groningen University
    Sonja Schmid - Wageningen University

    Abstracts & Bio's

    Stefan Hell

    Stefan Hell
    MINFLUX nanoscopy and related matters
    I will show how an in-depth description of the basic principles of diffraction-unlimited fluorescence microscopy (nanoscopy) has spawned a powerful superresolution concept, namely MINFLUX nanoscopy. MINFLUX utilizes a local excitation intensity minimum (of a doughnut or a standing wave) that is targeted like a probe in order to localize the fluorescent molecule to be registered. In combination with single-molecule switching, MINFLUX has obtained the ultimate (super)resolution: the size of a molecule. MINFLUX nanoscopy, providing 1–3 nm resolution in cells, is being established for fluorescence imaging at molecular-size resolution.
    Relying on fewer detected photons than popular camera-based localization, MINFLUX is poised to open a new chapter in the imaging of protein complexes and distributions in fixed and living cells.

    Stefan W. Hell is a director at both the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research Heidelberg, Germany.

    Stefan W. Hell received his doctorate (1990) in physics from the University of Heidelberg. From 1991 to 1993 he worked at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and followed with stays as a senior researcher at the University of Turku, Finland, between 1993 and 1996, and as a visiting scientist at the University of Oxford, England, in 1994. In 1997 he was appointed to the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen as a group leader and was promoted to director in 2002. From 2003 to 2017 he also led a research group at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). Hell holds honorary professorships in physics at the Universities of Heidelberg and Göttingen.

    Stefan W. Hell is credited with having conceived, validated and applied the first viable concept for overcoming Abbe’s diffraction-limited resolution barrier in a light-focusing fluorescence microscope. For this accomplishment he has received numerous awards, including the 2014 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Anne Carpenter

    Anne Carpenter
    Accelerating drug discovery with the power of microscopy
    Quantifying images is a critical, widespread need in biomedical research as imaging experiments continue to grow in scale, size, dimensionality, scope, modality, and complexity. We work with biomedical researchers worldwide to extract metrics from cell images, particularly in high-throughput screening experiments testing drugs in disease model systems. As the cell systems and phenotypes of interest become more complex, so are the computational approaches needed to extract information; we bridge the gap between biologists’ needs and the latest algorithms, including deep learning.
    We aim to go beyond measuring individual phenotypes that biologists already know are relevant to a particular disease. Instead, in a strategy called image-based profiling, we stain many cellular components and extract thousands of morphological features from each cell’s image, often using an assay called Cell Painting. We then harvest similarities in these “profiles” to identify, at a single-cell level, how diseases, drugs, and genes affect cells, which can uncover small molecules’ mechanism of action, discover disease-associated phenotypes, identify the functional impact of disease-associated alleles, and identify novel therapeutics.

    Dr. Carpenter is an Institute Scientist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Her research group develops algorithms and strategies for large-scale experiments involving images. The team’s open-source CellProfiler software is used by thousands of biologists worldwide (www.cellprofiler.org). Carpenter is a pioneer in image-based profiling, the extraction of rich, unbiased information from images for a number of important applications in drug discovery and functional genomics.

    Carpenter completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and MIT’s Computer Sciences/Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Her PhD is in cell biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Carpenter has been named an NSF CAREER awardee, an NIH MIRA awardee, a Massachusetts Academy of Sciences fellow (its youngest at the time), a Genome Technology “Rising Young Investigator”, and is listed in Deep Knowledge Analytics’ top-100 AI Leaders in Drug Discovery and Advanced Healthcare.

    Anna Akhmanova

    Anna Akhmanova
    Control of microtubule organization and dynamics: Seeing proteins and drugs in action
    Microtubules are dynamic cytoskeletal filaments that control different aspects of cell architecture. Tight regulation of microtubule dynamics is essential for many cellular processes, including cell division, migration and morphogenesis. Using in vitro reconstitution experiments, single molecule assays and live cell imaging, we explore the detailed mechanisms of such regulation. We currently focus on proteins that block microtubule growth in different cellular contexts, from immune cells to centrioles. Furthermore, we use assays with fluorescent analogues of microtubule-stabilizing and destabilising agents to directly visualize their effects on microtubule growth and uncover mechanisms governing microtubule dynamics.

    Anna Akhmanova studied biochemistry and molecular biology at the Moscow State University. She received her PhD in 1997 at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In 2001, she has started her own research group at the Department of Cell Biology at the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Since 2011, Anna Akhmanova is professor of Cell Biology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Akhmanova studies cytoskeletal organization and trafficking processes, which contributes to cell polarization, differentiation, vertebrate development and human disease. She is an expert on microtubule dynamics and microtubule-based membrane trafficking.
    In 2018 Akhmanova received the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) Spinoza Prize. On top of that, she is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Akhmanova serves as a Deputy Editor of eLife, an Open Access journal in Life Sciences.

    Daan Brinks

    Daan Brinks
    Voltage imaging with Genetically Encoded Voltage Indicators: development and applications
    Technologies that allow high-speed imaging of cellular dynamics are central to our ability to ask and answer new questions in cell biology and neuroscience. Here, I will focus on voltage imaging: the optical recording of membrane potentials and their fast dynamics in excitable cells. I will touch upon the development of pooled high throughput screens, high-speed microscopes, targeted gene expression schemes and improved near-infrared voltage indicators, which enabled simultaneous in vivo recordings of supra- and subthreshold voltage dynamics in multiple neurons in the hippocampus of behaving mice. I will discuss recent developments in our lab expanding the palette of available tools and applications for voltage imaging in vitro and in vivo.

    Dr. Ir. Daan Brinks is assistant professor in the department of Imaging Physics of TU Delft and PI in Molecular genetics at Erasmus MC. He studied Applied physics at the University of Twente and obtained his PhD in Nanophotonics from ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain under supervision of Prof. Dr. Niek van Hulst. He went on to do a postdoc at Harvard University with Prof. Dr. Adam Cohen before returning to the Netherlands to start his own lab. He focuses on the development of microscopy and molecular sensor technology for applications in neuroscience and cancer biology. He is a recipient of a NWO startup and ERC starting grant and a cofounder of UFO Biosciences.

    Rumiana Dimova

    Rumiana Dimova
    Membrane remodeling in artificial cells: to bud or not to bud
    Cellular membranes exhibit a large variation in curvature, which is commonly believed to be generated by proteins. However, curvature can be readily modulated by various asymmetries. As a workbench for artificial cells, we employ giant vesicles (10-100µm). Several membrane remodeling examples will be considered: asymmetric distribution of ions/molecules/lipids across the membrane and wetting by droplets. All these can reshape the membrane triggering the formation of buds and nanotubes. We will also show how curvature modulation can induce vesicle fission. The presented examples will demonstrate that even in the absence of proteins and active processes, membranes and cellular organelles can be easily remodeled by physicochemical cues.

    Rumiana Dimova obtained her PhD at Bordeaux University (France) in 1999. Afterwards she joined the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Germany) as a postdoctoral fellow, where she became a group leader in 2000 leading the Biophysics Lab (www.dimova.de). Her main research interests are in the field of membrane biophysics. She has been tackling a variety of open questions in cell membrane biophysics and synthetic biology while employing giant vesicles as a platform to develop new methods for the biophysical characterization of membranes and processes involving them. In 2014, she was awarded with the Emmy Noether Distinction for Women in Physics of the European Physical Society, and in 2021 she received the Liesegang Prize of the German Colloid Society.

    Sonja Schmid

    Sonja Schmid
    PROTEIN DYNAMICS ACROSS SCALES – investigating the vibrant nature of proteins
    Proteins are the molecular makers in our body. Researchers successfully identified a vast proteome, a dense web of metabolic interactions, and thousands of static 3D structures. But the essential molecular dynamics causing protein function are still challenging to detect – yet they are our key to understanding the energetics of protein systems.
    I will present our results from optical and electrical single-molecule experiments. FRET allows us to watch single proteins at work in real time. And with the NEOtrap, we developed a new label-free technique to monitor the time evolution of single native proteins electrically, using nanopores. Our goal is to push beyond current detection limits to learn how protein function arises at the nanoscale.

    Sonja Schmid is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Wageningen University. She studied Nanosciences at Basel University and earned her PhD in 2017 from TU Munich working in Thorsten Hugel’s lab where she developed single-molecule fluorescence/FRET experiments, invented SMACKS a direct pattern-recognition approach to infer single-molecule kinetics, and uncovered diverse regulatory effects of protein conformational dynamics. She was awarded an SNF Postdoc.Mobility fellowship to strengthen her expertise in single-molecule biophysics during a postdoc in Cees Dekker’s lab at TU Delft, where she developed a new nanopore-based approach to detect protein dynamics, the NEOtrap. At the same time, she independently initiated and now leads the kinSoftChallenge, an international multi-laboratory benchmark study on single-molecule kinetics software. Since 2020, she is an elected member of the advisory board of the international FRET community. In 2021, she set up her NanoDynamicsLab at WUR to develop new optical and electrical single-molecule techniques to study biomolecular dynamics beyond current detection limits.

    Patrick Onck

    Patrick Onck
    Nuclear transport at amino-acid resolution
    The nuclear pore complex (NPC) is a large protein complex in the nuclear membrane and the sole gateway for molecules to leave or enter the nucleus. Intrinsically disordered proteins act as gatekeepers of the NPC by providing a selective permeability barrier. To resolve the puzzling paradox of providing both transport and barrier functionailty within a single protein complex, we developed a coarse-grained molecular dynamics framework at amino acid resolution. Recent results will be discussed of our quest to uncover the fundamental physical mechanisms that are responsible for selective transport. Both top-down and bottom-up approaches will be reviewed with special emphasis on the essential, sequence-dependent molecular interactions.

    Patrick Onck obtained his PhD degree at Delft University of Technology, followed by a postdoc position at Harvard University. He was elected Research Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and was a visiting researcher at the Institute for Medicine and Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2001 he moved to the University of Groningen and since 2012 he is professor of Physics at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, heading a research group in computational physics and biophysics.

    His research interests include cell and molecular biophysics, responsive materials and soft robotics. He employs multiscale modeling approaches by utilizing a range of numerical techniques, including all-atomistic and coarse-grained molecular dynamics, finite element methods and solid-fluid interaction techniques. Currently his main research focus is on understanding the functional role of intrinsic protein disorder in nuclear transport, phase separation and disorder-to-order transitions.

  • Abstracts

    Abstract submission

    The call for abstracts for oral presentations is now closed.

    For poster presentations you can use the button below.


    Please note that you have to register for the conference independently from your abstract submission.

    Deadlines for submitting abstracts:

    • Oral presentation abstract: Tuesday 1 June 2021, 14.00 hours CE(S)T
    • Poster abstract: Tuesday 7 September 2021, 14.00 hours CE(S)T.

    Presenters will receive detailed instructions when their abstract is selected for an oral or poster presentation.

  • Registration

    Register for DutchBiophysics 2021


    Registration is now open.

    Click here!

    The deadline for registration is 7 September 2021, 14:00 hrs CE(S)T.

    In the registration process, you are able to provide your preferences for the Teaming up with industry session. Read more >>.


    The registration fee is 15 euros (incl. VAT) for the whole conference. It is possible to pay by iDEAL or creditcard. 

    If you think you are eligible for free admission, please send an email to biophysics@nwo.nl. Examples: members of the programme committee, invited plenary and keynote speakers or NWO-D ENW employees.

    Cancellation policy

    If you have to cancel your registration please inform us by email, but due to administrative costs we shall not refund the registration fee.
    DutchBiophysics 2021 is a fully digital conference!

  • Teaming up with industry

    Are you a group leader or industry representative? Then come and join the Teaming up with industry session during DutchBiophysics!

    What is Teaming up with industry?

    During Teaming up with industry we will discuss the developments in the biophysics field based on several discussion topics. The session will take place on Monday 11 October and provides the ideal moment to connect with others in the field, to discuss your work, and to develop fruitful private-public collaborations between academia and industry partners! Furthermore, it offers possibilities to translate fundamental knowledge from the biophysics field into practical applications.  

    After a brief introduction to the funding possibilities at NWO and a presentation of examples of such fruitful collaborations, you will be able to join to the round table discussion of your choice. Here you will meet like-minded researchers and company representatives. You will have plenty of opportunities to have discussions with each other and to share your contact details.

    The key aspects of this programme part are networking, discussion and the possibility to learn from each other. These aspects will make Teaming up with industry also interesting for fundamental researchers that are not necessarily looking for a collaboration. We envision that this session helps to decipher what knowledge and needs the group leaders have in their research group and which companies are interested in this knowledge or can complement those needs.


    The registration for the conference including Teaming up with industry will open shortly. Would you like to be contacted when this happens? Please contact us!

    Please note: registration for DutchBiophysics (€15,-) is required in order to join the Teaming up with industry session.

  • Awards

    DutchBiophysics BIOPM thesis award

    The thesis award of the Netherlands' Society for Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering is granted each year for the best PhD thesis in the area of biophysics and biomedical engineering. The award consists of a certificate and a money prize.

    The BioPM Thesis Prize 2020 has been awarded to João Medeiros Silva (MIT).


    The research will be judged on the basis of:

    • New insights obtained by this work
    • Scientific quality
    • Presentation
    • Accessibility for non-specialists

    The jury will be appointed by the board of the Society.


    Candidates have obtained their PhD degree at a Dutch university, on research in the area of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering. The PhD ceremony must be between 1 August 2020 and 1 August 2021. The candidate, or his/her (co)–promotor, must be a member of the Society. The candidate is willing to present his/her work at the DutchBiophysics conference.

    A submission consists of a link to a pdf version of the thesis, to be sent by email to: secretarisbiopm@gmail.com

    In addition, the candidate must submit a motivation letter of at most one A4, describing why his/her work is important, and why it deserves this award. The list of candidates will not be made public.

    Time schedule

    Candidates must submit their thesis before 5 July 2021. The winner will be notified before 1 September 2021.

    Award ceremony

    To be announced


    DutchBiophysics Poster Prize

    The DutchBiophysics Poster Prize is granted each year for the best PhD poster in the area of biophysics and biomedical engineering.

    Evaluation criteria

    Please judge the posters based on the following aspects:

    • The quality of the scientific content
    • The way in which the research and the results are explained on the poster
    • The lay-out and design of the poster

    Jury members

    To be announced.

    Award ceremony

    To be announced

  • Companies


    Present your company at DutchBiophysics 2021.

    With over 500 participants the annual DutchBiophysics conference offers a great opportunity to:

    • broaden your network;
    • start new partnerships and collaborations;
    • meet potential customers and the talents of the future;
    • showcase your company, your ideas and your expertise;
    • get informed about new developments in the field;
    • get in touch with NWO and learn about funding for public-private partnerships programmes.

    Sponsorship packages

    You are very welcome to present your company during our conference and get in touch with our visitors. We offer the opportunity to have your own companypage on our online platform, before, during and after the event, and there will be more options! Interested in the possibilities or do you have ideas of your own? Please send an email to biophysics@nwo.nl.

    Scientific contributions

    Companies are also very welcome to contribute to our scientific programme in the form of a (poster)presentation. Please submit your abstract here before 1 June 2021, 12.00 CE(S)T (noon).

    More information

    You can contact Hans Peter van der Lit by email at biophysics@nwo.nl.

  • Photo impression 2020 - photo credits Bram Saeys

    De Roskam, Houten
    De Roskam in Houten, conference venue of DutchBiophysics 2020
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    Presenter and moderator Marloes ten Kate
    Main studio
    Conference opening
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    Arian Steenbruggen, director of NWO Domain Science, opens DutchBiophysics 2020
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    Wouter Ellenbroek, chair of Programme Committee DutchBiophysics 2020
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    Miao-Ping Cien, Chair of the Programme Committee DutchBiophysics 2020
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