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Personal profile


Lab website: https://www.nat.vu.nl/~erwinp

Erwin Peterman is interested in understanding how life works at the fundamental, single-molecule level. With his experiments he strives to provide quantitative insights in life processes that can be rigorously tested using physical models. To this end, he applies a multidisciplinary approach including elements from molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, statistical physics and optics. The techniques used in his lab are (single-molecule) fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy and optical tweezers.

Current research focuses on the cooperation of motor proteins in intracellular transport in C. elegans cilia, on the mechanics of DNA and DNA-processing proteins, on the dynamics of membrane proteins in living bacteria, and on the development of new instrumentation and approaches to study life at the single-molecule level.



Peterman teaches several courses at the bachelor's and master's level to students in Physics, Medical Natural Sciences, and Biomolecular Sciences, in particular "Microscopy and Spectroscopy" and "Mechanics and Thermodynamics in the Cell". He frequently supervises BSc and MSc research projects.


Prizes and Awards

In 2003 Peterman received a five-year VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), in 2011 a VICI grant. In 2013, he was appointed as full professor on a University Research Chair. In 2017 he was awarded the NWO Physics Valorization prize (together with Gijs Wuite). In 2018 Peterman received an ERC Advanced grant.



B.Sc. & M.Sc.: Molecular Sciences, Wageningen University, 1988-1993.

Ph.D.: Chlorophylls and Carotenoids in Oxygenic Photosynthesis, VU University Amsterdam, Promotors: van Grondelle & van Amerongen, 1993-1998.


Ancillary activities

  • LUMICKS B.V. | Amsterdam | Oprichter / aandeelhouder / adviseur | 2018-04-15 - present
  • Epifluorescence B.V. | Amsterdam | Directeur/eigenaar | 2018-04-15 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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