Who are you, what is your background and how did you get involved in MDR?
I finished my PhD at EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany, where I dissected molecular mechanisms controlling cell shape transitions and changes in tissue mechanics during Drosophila embryogenesis. I have established novel optogenetic methods that in combination with multi-photon microscopy allowed me to control cell contractility with subcellular precision at distinct developmental stages. By combining this approach with biochemistry, genetics and quantitative imaging, I have identified the mechanisms controlling basal surface mechanics that time cell shape transitions during epithelial morphogenesis and control tissue remodeling.
Tell us a little bit more about the research you are planning to do within MDR.
I want to investigate potential effects of tissue-scale mechanical forces on cellular processes underlying intestinal homeostasis by making use of advances in organoid technology and culture condition using synthetic materials that allow accurate characterization of tissue mechanical properties.
Who is your biggest example in science and why?
Sydney Brenner. Despite all his accomplishments in various fields of research and for modern molecular biology in general, he remained a scientist driven by an intrinsic curiosity and with astonishing modesty. “Progress in science depends on new techniques, new discoveries and new ideas, probably in that order.”
What do you do in your free time and how can we recognize the typical Daniel?
In my free time I enjoy nature and beer from tap especially during pub quiz. Adjusting to the new local environment in Utrecht, I discovered the joy of exploring the scene through the various grachten in foldable canoes.