We are interested in understanding how dynamics and structure of a protein results in the function of a protein. How can the chemistry of an internal cofactor in a protein be quite different from that in solution? How does the protein achieve that tuning? We study the physics of biology on its smallest scale: Proton and electron transfer reactions in proteins, and accompanying changes in hydrogen bond length and larger scale conformational changes. With femtosecond multi-pulse absorption spectroscopy in the midinfrared and visible regions, we achieve sub-Å resolution and 100 femtosecond time resolution on a time range of 1 millisecond. Contact: drs. Enis Arik. Read more in Structural dynamics in proteins and Ultrafast spectroscopy.
To understand cellular interactions in live tissue and develop novel diagnostic tools we use the physics of the interaction of short laser pulses with biological tissue to generate label-free microscopic images of volumes of tissue. We study the microscopic composition of skin and brain, and work towards clinical applications to detect tumor cells and diagnose neurodegenerative diseases, based on label-free third harmonic generation microscopy. See here for a few examples of our images of skin and brain. Contact: Dr Nikolay Kuzmin and Laura Huizen (master student).
In a related project we develop automated image analysis tools to quantitate the information of the volumes imaged by THG microscopy. Please read more on this topic here. Contact: drs. Andy Zhang and dr Jan de Munck (VUmc).