Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Bionanotechnology: revolution at single molecule level

Progress in bionanotechnology is essential for our understanding of cells and for the development of new therapeutics, which nowadays increasingly function at the molecular level. This was one of the statements made by Prof. Nynke Dekker on Wednesday 8 April during her inaugural address at TU Delft, the Netherlands.

Bionanotechnology: revolution at single molecule level

Delft, The Netherlands | Posted on April 9th, 2009

The biological world contains a great many components and is, therefore, not straightforward to understand. However, research is accelerating as a result of the confluence of various disciplines. Collaboration between biologists, physicists and engineers has been particularly productive recently. These days, physical technologies enable us not only to perceive a single biological molecule (such as DNA) in a cell, but also to film, as it were, the interaction of this molecule with proteins.

As Prof. Nynke Dekker puts it: "With the development of biology in the direction of the molecular scale, cell biology is taking on an increasingly ‘engineering' character: the biologist's approach is rapidly changing into that of the engineer."


Bionanotechnologist Dekker explains: "Physicists and engineers are highly skilled in making, controlling and measuring small objects. You only have to look at the developments in quantum physics at the nanoscale, in which TU Delft has played a leading role."

Bionanotechnology is located on the interface between biology and nanotechnology and is, scientifically speaking, still largely unexplored. It is expected to become one of the key scientific areas of the 21st century. With the tools provided by nanotechnology, biological molecules can be accurately imaged, studied and controlled. This will lead to new insights in the functioning of the living cell.

World leader

Prof. Nynke Dekker (1971) is one of the prominent researchers in this field. She studied physics at Yale, USA, and obtained her doctorate at Harvard University, USA. She is also a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and received the prestigious European Young Investigators (EURYI) Award in 2007. According to the European Science Foundation, ESF, this puts Prof. Dekker in the top twenty excellent young researchers who are seen as potential world leaders in their fields.

Pulling and turning

She received the EURYI Award for her research into molecular motors and their interaction with individual DNA molecules. "Such experiments, in which you can control the state of DNA by pulling and turning it, have generated a lot of interest. If you can manipulate DNA to this extent, and watch it in real time, the next step is easy: why not add a protein that changes something about the DNA and see whether this is discernible?"


"A good deal of research focuses on using such single-molecule techniques, which the field has developed to such an extent that molecular motor movement along the elementary building blocks of DNA can be viewed. We hope to improve our understanding of the action of proteins at the molecular level in this way. This is essential for our understanding of the cell and for the future development of new therapeutics, which nowadays have an increasingly specific targets at the molecular level." TU Delft recognises the enormous significance of the bionanosciences and, for this reason, is setting up a new department for this field. In the next decade, the university will be investing 10 million euros in this new department, which will form a part of the university's successful Kavli Institute of Nanoscience.


About TUDelft
TU Delft cooperates with many other educational and research institutions, both in the Netherlands and abroad. The high quality of our research and teaching is renowned. TU Delft has numerous contacts with governments, trade associations, consultancies, industry and small and medium-sized companies.

For more information, please click here

Prof. Nynke Dekker, faculty of Applied Sciences, tel. +31 (0)15 278 3219,

Frank Nuijens, Science information officer, tel. +31 (0)15 278 4259,

Information TU Delft
T: 0031 (0)15 278 9111

Press information
Karen Collet
T: 0031 (0)15 278 5408

Michel van Baal
T: 015 2785454

Copyright © TUDelft

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Unusual quantum liquid on crystal surface could inspire future electronics October 22nd, 2016

Physicists use lasers to capture first snapshots of rapid chemical bonds breaking October 21st, 2016

Nanoparticle vaccinates mice against dengue fever October 21st, 2016

New perovskite solar cell design could outperform existing commercial technologies: Stanford, Oxford team creates high-efficiency tandem cells October 21st, 2016


Russia’s Nano-enabled Products Market to Witness Massive Growth February 8th, 2011

Adept Technology Announces Orders for Over $600K from Chinese Partner January 18th, 2011

Nanostart-held ItN Nanovation Receives Major Follow-on Order in Saudi Arabia November 29th, 2010

Homegrown Companies Developing Batteries for Clean Energy Storage November 2nd, 2010


Nanosciences: Genes on the rack October 21st, 2016

Nanoparticle vaccinates mice against dengue fever October 21st, 2016

Tiny gold particles could be the key to developing a treatment for pancreatic cancer October 19th, 2016

Highly conductive and pure gold nanostructures grown by electron beam induced deposition October 17th, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

Unusual quantum liquid on crystal surface could inspire future electronics October 22nd, 2016

Scientists find technique to improve carbon superlattices for quantum electronic devices: In a paradigm shift from conventional electronic devices, exploiting the quantum properties of superlattices holds the promise of developing new technologies October 20th, 2016

Exploring defects in nanoscale devices for possible quantum computing applications October 19th, 2016

Metamaterial uses light to control its motion October 10th, 2016

The latest news from around the world, FREE

  Premium Products
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project