THE BOERSMA LAB
Welcome to the website of the Arnold Boersma Lab. We are embedded within the DWI-Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials, in Aachen, Germany.
The Boersma group works in the area of chemical biology, synthetic biochemistry, biophysics, synthetic chemistry, and biochemistry.
We engineer proteins, small molecules, and larger cell-like systems for fundamental biological understanding but also with specific applications in mind. Applications range from medical tools (diagnosis, drug screening) to materials and devices. The group has a strong record of accomplishment on the design of FRET-based protein probes for macromolecular crowding in diverse living and nonliving systems, probes for ionic strength in cells (see left), and probes to determine protein self-organization.
Current interests lie in the development of novel proteins, small molecules, and cell-like systems for biological understanding and applications from medical to material science.
Our research is made possible by funding from the ERC, NWO, DFG, and the Leibniz association
TWO NEW MANUSCRIPTS AND PRESENTATIONS BY QI AND SARA
March 9, 2021
We published two manuscripts!
In the Biophysical Journal, we describe with the Sheets/Heikal group in Minnesota a study using fluorescence anisotropy measurements on our ionic strength sensors. We also uploaded a preprint to BioRxiv where we describe a new method to follow structural changes in protein self-assembly!
In the meantime, Qi Wan presented this research at the Biophysical Society conference, online in Baltimore. Finally, Sara Mouton presented her research for an eLife symposium on aging research.
FABIAN AND ANDRE JOIN THE LAB
February 1, 2021
We are excited that Fabian and Andre join the lab. Fabian will work as a lab manager and research assistant, while Andre will do his Master's thesis on microfluidics. Welcome!
SARA PUBLISHES IN ELIFE ON PHYSICAL CHEMICAL PARAMETERS IN YEAST DURING AGING
October 10, 2020
With our optimized crowding sensor in yeast in a dedicated microfluidics device, we show that crowding is relatively stable during yeast aging, contrasting with our initial expectations, with the note that longer-lived cells show higher crowding stability. On larger length scales (at least more than the 8-nm crowding sensor), we show with CLEM (correlative light-electron microscopy) that there are drastic changes in the organellar volume fractions. We tentatively name this organellar crowding to distinguish the µm-scale crowding with nm-scale macromolecular crowding. Using pHluorin, a green fluorescent protein sensitive to the pH, we observe small but significant acidification of the cytoplasm, which decreases sharply after senescence. We hoped to show that several physical and chemical parameters drift during aging, and the levels at which they arrive should be considered when describing molecular events in old cells
ILARIA, MENG-RUO, AND NUNO JOIN THE LAB
August 8, 2020
We are stoked to be joined by three new members in the lab at the same time (partially due to delays induced by Covid...). Ilaria will perform her master thesis on synthetic cells, while Meng-Ruo will do his postdoc studies on chemistry on proteins and in cells, and Nuno will perform his postdoc studies on the intracellular physicochemical properties. The lab is getting ever more busy and vibrant!