Short CV/Education and training

Academic positions

  • since 2006
    Scientific group leader, Biological Soft Matter, FOM Institute AMOLF, Amsterdam

  • since 2010
    Professor of Biological Soft Matter Physics at the Faculty of Sciences, VU University Amsterdam

  • since 2011
    Tenured (permanent appointment)

  • since 2014
    Department head, Systems Biophysics department, FOM Institute AMOLF

Education and Training

  • 1998 – 2003
    PhD researcher, Van’t Hoff Laboratory for Physical and Colloid Chemistry, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

  • 2003 – 2004
    Post-doctoral researcher (FOM/v fellow), VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Physics of Complex Systems group of Prof. C.F. Schmidt

  • 2004 – 2006
    Post-doctoral researcher (Marie Curie Outgoing International fellow), Harvard University, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science, Cambridge MA, USA; Experimental Soft Condensed Matter group of Prof. D.A. Weitz

Selected publications

Top-five recent publications (2011 – 2015)

  • 1. F. Huber, A. Boire, M.P. Lopez, G.H. Koenderink, Cytoskeletal crosstalk: when three different personalities team up, Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 32C: 39-47 (2015)

  • 2. M. Mavrakis, Y. Azou-Gros, F.-C. Tsai, J. Alvarado, A. Bertin, F. Iv, A. Kress, S. Brasselet, G.H. Koenderink and Thomas Lecuit, Septins promote F-actin ring formation by cross-linking actin filaments into curved bundles, Nature Cell Biology 16: 322-334 (2014)

  • 3. J. Alvarado, M. Sheinman, A. Sharma, F.C. MacKintosh and G.H. Koenderink, Molecular motors robustly drive active gels to a critically connected state, Nature Phys. 9: 591–597 (2013)

  • 4. MF Engel, CC Vandenakker, M. Schleeger, KP Velikov, GH Koenderink, M. Bonn, The polyphenol EGCG inhibits amyloid formation less efficiently at phospholipid interfaces than in bulk solution, J. Am. Chem. Soc.134: 14781-8 (2012)

  • 5. M. Soares e Silva, M. Depken, B. Stuhrmann, M. Korsten, F.C. MacKintosh and G.H. Koenderink, Active multistage coarsening of actin networks driven by myosin motors, PNAS 108, 9408-9413 (2011).

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • The Biological Soft Matter group is an experimental research group that focuses on the physical properties of living cells. Our central aim is to understand the physical mechanisms that govern the self-organization and (active) mechanical properties of the cell’s cytoskeleton. We have two main research lines:

  • 1.Cytoskeletal model systems: we reconstitute minimal cells from purified cytoskeletal proteins within cell-sized microchambers or liposomes. This approach enables us to dissect the roles of polymer physics, motor protein activity, and active filament (de)polymerization.

  • 2.Cellular mechanoresponse: we study living cells inside extracellular matrices that mimic the cells’ natural tissue environment. Our aim is to understand the mechanisms that underlie cellular mechanosensing and -response.

  • Key technologies in our lab are advanced microscopy and quantitative image analysis, optical tweezer manipulation, optical microrheology, and rheology. We strive to learn biological design principles that can be applied to new supramolecular materials with biomimetic properties, such as the incredible strength or active nature of living cells. At the same time, we contribute a physics component to the fields of mechanobiology and tissue engineering.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

Activities as editor

  • Editorial board member of European Physical Journal E (Springer), since 2012

  • Editorial board member of Biophysical Journal (Cell Press), since 2011

Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Other activities and achievements/family

  • Married and mother of 2 boys (born in 2008 and in 2010).


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