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Cell Biology: Kees Jalink


Kees Jalink, Ph.D.Group Leader

About Kees Jalink

Biophysics of Cell Signaling

It has become clear that most, if not all, signal transduction pathways can only be truely understood by knowing them in great detail, that is, by knowing exactly where and when they become activated, how they are deactivated and what the intricacies are of e.g. compartmentalization and cross-talk. Because signaling events involve molecular interactions, it is also clear that a nanometer scale applies. This means that the tools to study signals must yield data with spatial and temporal detail from living cells, preferably from cells that are as much as possible in a natural environment.  
In our laboratory, we combine cell biology with live cell imaging and biophysical tools capable of supplying the required spatiotemporal resolution. For example, Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) is used to dynamically follow molecular interactions with nanometer resolution, and techniques like high-performance Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) and Fluorescence Cross Correlation Spectroscopy (FCCS) reveal protein-protein associations at a sub-millisecond scale. We build and operate the dedicated equipment for these studies, and we contribute new technological developments and new FRET sensors.
Whereas part of the techniques employed are biophysical, our research interests are very much in cell-biology, including:

  • the "channel-kinase" TRPM7, a bifunctional protein that combines a non-selective cation channel and a serine/threonine kinase. TRPM7 regulates cell adhesion and cell spreading and, in turn, it is controlled by several signaling cascades including the Gaq-PLC route. Our working hypothesis is that TRPM7 acts as a mechanosensor that controls the formation of adhesive structures known as podosomes/invadopodia
  • its sibling TRPM6, which serves a role in gut and kidney as gate-watcher of organismal Mg2+ homeostasis. Regulation of TRPM6 is largely unexploited.
  • the spatiotemporal control of phosphoinositides such as PIP2 and their role as messenger molecules

and several collaborative projects with groups both within and outside the NKI.


Klarenbeek, J..jpg

Jeffrey Klarenbeek



I studied chemistry, and now hold a supportive position as biochemist in the Jalink lab. I have a keen interest in development of new FRET sensors and also study migration of cancer cells.

I support the students, post-docs and PhD students in the group in any possible way and am involved in many of the running projects, e.g. elucidating the mechanism underlying the internalization of Connexin43 and investigating the role of the channel-kinase TRPM7 in actin remodeling and migration.

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Broek, Bram van den.jpg

Bram van den Broek

Postdoctoral fellow (Operator high-content confocal screening microscope)


I am a physicist who has specialized in single-molecule biophysics (PhD) and cellular biophysics (postdoc), with an emphasis on microscopy technique development (including optical tweezers, multifocal 2-photon microscopy, 3D tracking).
At the NKI I have a supportive role. In the Jalink lab I focus on developing and maintaining various advanced microscopy and related techniques. Additionally I construct image analysis tools that aid cell biologists to quantify and interpret their data.
I am also the contact person for high-resolution confocal high-content screening at the NKI. And I' am working as Operator high-content confocal screening microscope.

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Nahidiazar, Leila

Leila Nahidiazar

Postdoctoral fellow


I hold degrees in Electronic Engineering and Laser Physics as well as Biology.   

During my PhD, I successfully investigated different cellular compartments by single molecule localization Microscopy (SMLM) techniques. Furthermore I invented a new buffer system and an imaging chamber to support multicolor super resolution microscopy. 

Currently I am a postdoctoral researcher running a shared project between three institutes - Hubrecht, OnCode and The Netherlands Cancer Institute.

In this project, I combine advanced microscopy and biochemistry methods to observe and demystify the spatial organization of DNA. Designing and developing image processing tools is in the realm of my interest.


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Rolf Harkes

Postdoctoral fellow


I am a biomedical engineer and specialized in biophysics. During my PhD I focused on quantitative analysis of single-molecule localization microscopy data. At the NKI I work on the further development of the Toggel camera from Lambert Instruments. This camera is developed for frequency domain fluorescence lifetime imaging. It is ideally suited for large population screening of cell signaling dynamics using FRET sensors. The goal of my project is to setup a proof-of-principle screen of cAMP dynamics. I am also involved software development and the implementation of novel algorithms for the analysis of image data.

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Kukk, Olga

Olga Kukk

Postdoctoral fellow


During my PhD studies (University of Tartu, Estonia) I focused on GPCR-mediated signaling studies. I was implementing FRET-based biosensor assays for real-time detection of different second messenger molecules in live cells. I found considerable advantages with the adaptation of the BacMam system for adjustable and reproducible expression of the recombinant biosensors. I was working on multiple GPCRs in a variety of cell lines. Functional studies were complemented by ligand binding experiments from radioactivity or fluorescence anisotropy based assays. 

In the Jalink lab at the NKI I work on establishing an innovative microscopy platform with fully adjustable atmospheric conditions, along with a panel of biosensors optimized for use at hypoxia. Oxygenation of the preparation dramatically affects efficacy of drugs and here at the NKI we aim to characterize these effects by functional microscopy at hypoxic conditions.

My specialties are: GPCR signaling, biosensors for second messengers, fluorescence based assays, ligand binding characterization, molecular biology (molecular cloning), protein expression systems, mammalian and insect cell culture.

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Research updates View All Updates

  • Student Positions - Jalink Lab

    Student positions Jalink lab

    If you are interested in performing a research internship (>6 months) in our lab, please ask for current vacancies including your motivation and CV.


Recent publications View All Publications

  • Selective Loss of PARG Restores PARylation and Counteracts PARP Inhibitor-Mediated Synthetic Lethality

    Cancer Cell. 2018 Jun 11;33(6):1078-1093.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.05.008

    Gogola E, Duarte AA, de Ruiter JR, Wiegant WW, Schmid JA, de Bruijn R, James DI, Guerrero Llobet S, Vis DJ, Annunziato S, van den Broek B, Barazas M, Kersbergen A, van de Ven M, Tarsounas M, Ogilvie DJ, van Vugt M, Wessels LFA, Bartkova J, Gromova I, Andújar-Sánchez M, Bartek J, Lopes M, van Attikum H, Borst P, Jonkers J, Rottenberg S.

    Read more
  • Doxorubicin-induced DNA damage causes extensive ubiquitination of ribosomal proteins associated with a decrease in protein translation

    Mol Cell Proteomics. 2018 Feb 8. pii: mcp.RA118.000652. doi: 10.1074/mcp.RA118.000652

    Halim VA, García-Santisteban I, Warmerdam DO, van den Broek B, Heck AJR, Mohammed S, Medema RH.

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  • Office manager

    Mariet van den Berg

  • E-mail

  • Telephone Number

    +31 20 512 9184

Van den Berg, Mariet


'Research for the benefit of cancer patients'

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