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Group Leader

Biophysical Chemistry

With a background in biophysics and biochemistry, I have a long-standing interest in gene expression regulation in diverse systems, ranging from bacteria and viruses to mammalian cells. After I obtained my master's from Warwick University (UK), I moved to the Netherlands where I received my PhD in 2015. I then worked in the lab of Leor Weinberger at Gladstone Institutes (UCSF) in San Francisco, where I studied gene expression dynamics in viruses, specifically HIV. Now I am interested in understanding how fluctuations at the (macro)molecular level can impact cellular behaviour. In my free time I like to take long walks with my dog, cook and read fantasy books.

If you are interested in joining our team, see the openings section.

Research grants and prizes:

2023: NWO Vidi

2022: ERC Starting Grant, ZonMw Off Road, NWO XS

2021: Descartes-Huygens Prize, NWO XS

2020: NWO XS

2016: NWO Rubicon


MOL-165 Biochemistry II

MOL-128 Essentials of Biochemistry Lab

MOL-129 Biochemistry Lab 


Frank Nelissen, Ing.
Research Staff

I have a background in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and am also interested in Biotechnological applications. I studied at the HAN University of Applied Sciences and graduated in 2002. Since then, I am working at the department of Biophysical Chemistry and specialized in enzymatic nucleic acid synthesis, labeling, manipulation and purification methods, but cloning, PCR, protein expression & purification, blotting, (next generation) sequencing, cell culture and other associated techniques are also common practice. Furthermore, I feel the responsibility to keep our labs running safely and in an organized manner and am therefore involved in First Aid, Biosafety, PAM (working circumstances) and BHV (Emergency Respons). Lastly, I enjoy being involved in the Biochemistry and DNA technology practical courses for 1st and 2nd year students. In my free time, besides spending time with my family & friends and doing jobs around the house, I am a fanatic squash and padel player and in dry weather conditions I like long distance inline skating. I am also a big music fan and like to attend concerts.


Aafke Jonker, Ing.
Research Staff

I have a background in Biochemistry and graduated in 1987. Since then I am working at the department of Biophysical Chemistry.

I spend a considerable part of my time supporting the department: Inventory management, advice and instructions to PhD students and master/bachelor students of our own group as well from other groups and ordering chemicals and consumables. I also am involved in the Biochemistry and DNA-technology practical for 1st and 2nd year students.

In my spare time I play tennis and enjoy walks and bike rides.

Regular working hours : Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday


Óscar García Blay, MSc
PhD student

I studied genetics and biomedical research in Barcelona. I am interested in a variety of topics related to how the genome works to regulate and control biological processes. As a PhD candidate in the Hansen Lab, I combine my interest in gene expression research with the perspective of systems biology. My goal is to identify mechanisms that regulate gene expression noise in a biological context. Outside the lab, I enjoy cooking, listening and sharing music and also travelling. I am always looking for nice activities to do such as escape room games.  

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Carmen Grandi, MSc

PhD student

I studied biotechnologies and molecular biology at the University of Ferrara, in Italy. I am fascinated by the functional complexity of organisms and, through this journey as a PhD student in the Hansen Lab, I aim to study how stochastic events can impact molecular processes that regulate gene expression, leading to different phenotypes. Doing science also needs creativity: this is why I've always been interested in many forms of art. My biggest passion is singing and creating music. I also enjoy a lot drawing when I need to relax and think.

Xinyu Hu, PhD

During my PhD, I have been working on understanding stem cell fate decisions under mechanical forces. To this end, we developed a novel image-based technique to profile RNAs and proteins simultaneously at a single cell level, called ARTseq-FISH. In the Hansen lab, I focus on unravelling the mechanisms that regulate transcriptional activities and further influence the lineage choices of mouse embryonic stem cells. In my free time, I enjoy trying new recipes and taking photos.

Martin Emmaneel, MSc
PhD student

I did my BSc Life Science and Technology at Leiden University and Delft University of Technology. Afterwards I continued with MSc Chemistry of Life at Radboud University. As a PhD candidate in the Hansen Lab, I focus on the effect of post-transcriptional modifications on gene expression and eventually how it regulates differentiation choices of mouse embryonic stem cells. Outside of the lab I like to take care for my ever-growing collection of house plants. 

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Meilin Yu, MSc
PhD student

In the past, I studied clinical science of stomatology at Fudan University (CHN), where I focused on the construction of polymer materials for alveolar bone regeneration. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in the Hansen Lab to write an entirely fresh and exciting chapter in my life. My goal Is to identify small-molecules that regulate transcriptional noise, aiming to block cancer drug resistance. Beyond the lab, I enjoy music, movies, and exploration of culinary delights.


Pieter Verhagen, MSc
PhD student

I studied Science and Chemistry of Life at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. It was during this time that I developed a passion for multidisciplinary research, spanning the realms of biology, chemistry and physics. My internships at both the Hansen lab and the Lenstra group at the NKI made me realize that I can combine these fields when studying gene expression noise. As a PhD student in the Hansen lab, I will focus on understanding how nuclear speckles contribute to this noise. Beyond the lab, I practice various sports, enjoy hiking trips and love to draw!  

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Sue van de Griendt, MSc
PhD student

During my bachelor I studied Molecular Life Sciences at the Wageningen University. After, I continued with the research master Oncology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I am fascinated by the extreme cellular and molecular differences of cancerous cells which allow them to survive many circumstances. In the Hansen lab I will study pathways regarding gene expression noise in relation to drug tolerance in cancer cells. In my leisure time, I like cooking, drawing and playing board games.

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Sjoerd Uijttewaal

Master Student

Medical Biology

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Merijn Koot

Master Student

Chemistry of Life

Gwendoly Koenhein

Master Student

Human Biology

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Lynn Schepens

Master Student

Medical Biology

Kavita Lips

Master Student

Human Biology

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Joey van den Broek

Master Student

Chemistry of Life

Former lab members:

Bibian Verstegen - Master Student, Medical Biology (2023)

Zumaya Abdi - Master StudentHuman Biology (2022-2023)

Omnia Elzokla - Master StudentMedical Biology (2022-2023)

Martin Emmaneel Master Student, Molecular Life Sciences (2022)

Pieter Verhagen - Master Student, Chemistry of Life (2021-2022)

Christin Wassermann - Erasmus Master Student, Medical-Biological Chemistry (2022)

Yoanna Petrova - Intern, University of Applied Sciences (2021-2022)

Fréderique Struijs - Master Student, Medical Biology (2021-2022)

Fathi Ibrahim - Intern, University of Applied Sciences (2021-2022)

Laura Roosenboom - Master Student, Medical Epigenomics (2021-2022)

Lise Wubbolts - Master student, Chemistry of Life (2020-2021)

Benjamin Martin - Master Student, Université Paris  (2020-2021)

Louise van Hoof - Bachelor student, Molecular Life Sciences (2021)

Fulvio Farina - Bachelor student, Chemistry (2021)

Femke Michels - Bachelor student, Molecular Life Sciences (2021)

Pieter Verhagen - Bachelor student, Molecular Life Sciences (2021)

Ruben Kuijl - Intern, University of Applied Sciences (2020-2021)

Cong-Quan Ta - Intern, University of Applied Sciences (2020-2021)

Bart Swinkels - Bachelor student, Molecular Life Sciences (2020)

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