Professor Nynke Dekker joins Kavli Oxford

Professor Nynke Dekker joins Kavli INsD, Oxford

We are thrilled to announce that Professor Nynke Dekker has joined Kavli INsD having taken up the Professorship of Biophysics at the Department of Physics and as Fellow at St Peter's College, University of Oxford, effective from January 1, 2024. Her appointment signifies a valuable addition to the Kavli INsD's research and academic community.


nynke dekker


Graduating cum Laude with a BSc from Yale (with majors in physics and applied mathematics), an MSc cum Laude in physics from Leiden University, and a PhD in physics from Harvard University, Professor Dekker's academic journey has been marked by excellence. Following her postdoctoral period at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, during which she transitioned into biological physics, she joined TU Delft in 2002 as faculty.

Professor Dekker's research delves into fundamental biological phenomena such as transcription, replication, and topology, with a strong biomedical connection. Employing a quantitative approach, she investigates the dynamics of single molecules of DNA, enzymes, and molecular motors, providing a precise biophysical perspective. Her work extends to the study of live bacterial cells, allowing for quantitative comparisons of individual biological molecules in vitro and in vivo.

Recent research focuses on unraveling the dynamics of the complete eukaryotic replication fork at the single-molecule level. Professor Dekker's group, equipped with high-end single-molecule technology, purifies all proteins involved in DNA replication in yeast. This facilitates the study of the dynamic composition and motion of the yeast replisome. Understanding eukaryotic replication mechanisms is crucial for unraveling disease development, including genetic disorders and cancer. Additionally, her group maintains an interest in RNA replication, a process fundamental to the growth and proliferation of various viruses.

Professor Dekker's laboratory has been instrumental in developing techniques in single-molecule research. Her ability to innovate methodologically allows her to explore enzymatic activity at the single-molecule level, providing key insights into biomedically relevant areas, particularly eukaryotic DNA replication.

Physics Professor Achillefs Kapanidis, Co-director of Kavli Oxford comments: "We are very excited to welcome Prof Nynke Dekker to our Biological Physics activity and to the Kavli Institute. Prof Dekker is one of the most recognisable leaders in the field of single-molecule biophysics worldwide, and her recent work on eukaryotic DNA replication is both inspiring and insightful. Her leading role in another Kavli Institute (in Delft), her lab's developments of advanced biophysical methods to study complex cellular mechanisms, and her collaborative and nurturing approach to doing science fit beautifully to the Kavli mission, and will act as a magnet to budding researchers - we thus look forward to many great contributions by Prof Dekker in the years to come at Oxford."

"I am thrilled about Nynke joining us in Oxford" comments Dominika Gruszka, Royal Society and Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow at Kavli INsD, Oxford. "This is a huge gain to our local scientific community and the British biophysics community more broadly. I look forward to welcoming her group here, her exciting research on DNA and RNA replication and future collaborative projects.”