Antoine VanOijenDistinguished Professor Antoine van Oijen

Phone:  +61 2 42 21 4780
Office:   B18.226

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  • Distinguished Professor 
  • Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow

Research Interests 

The fundamental processes of life, one molecule at a time: Single-molecule biophysics 

Figure 4Living cells are filled with complex protein machines that are responsible for the molecular processes supporting life. Our group develops the physical tools that enable the study of these protein complexes at the level of single molecules. By making real-time single-molecule movies of complex biochemical process we hope to unravel underlying molecular mechanisms and provide the fundamental knowledge required to understand disease mechanisms and catalyze drug development.

Figure 1In particular, we are interested in studying the protein machines responsible for DNA replication, the process of duplicating genomic information before cell division. DNA replication proteins are involved in a large number of disease pathways and represent important drug targets. A full understanding of their working principles requires novel experimental approaches that visualize molecular details beyond the reach of conventional biophysical and biochemical approaches. We are tackling this challenge by developing and using single-molecule approaches in the context of different levels of biological complexity: from well-defined, isolated replication complexes to the crowded, intracellular environment.

Figure 3Not only are we interested in developing novel experimental strategies that facilitate the observation and a better understanding of complex biochemical processes, we are also involved in using these methods to catalyze new approaches in drug discovery. For example, we are developing a novel microfluidics platform that allows the real-time observation of the process by which a virus merges its membrane to the lipid bilayer enveloping living cells. This method allows us to rapidly screen the effects drug candidates have on the kinetics of this important step in the infection pathway.

Figure 2Bringing physics, chemistry and biology together, the researchers and students in our lab form a highly international and interdisciplinary research team. The nature of our work, developing novel physical tools to study important biological processes at the single-molecule level, requires a wide variety of skills that need to be integrated in a seamless fashion. We are always looking for talented students and researchers who are ready for an interdisciplinary adventure.

Abbreviated CV

Professional Experience

2001-2004  Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, USA
2004-2010  Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, USA
2010-2014  Professor, Groningen University, the Netherlands
2015-present  Professor, School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong 

Other Experience and Professional Memberships

2007-2010  Scientific Advisory Board Ion Torrent Systems
2011-present  Editorial Board member Cell Reports
2012-present  Council member (elected) Biophysical Society
2013-present  Editorial Board member Biophysical Journal
2013-present  Scientific Advisory Board 4Catalyzer 


2001-2002  Postdoctoral fellowship Niels Stensen Foundation
2002  C.J. Kok prize for best doctoral thesis in sciences at Leiden University, the Netherlands
2002-2004  Long-term postdoctoral fellowship Human Frontier Science Program
2005-2007  Armenise-Harvard Junior Faculty Award
2005-2008  Searle Scholar
2006-2011  NSF CAREER Award
2011-2016  Vici Award Dutch Science Foundation
2012-2017  Starting grant European Research Council
2011  Dutch Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology award for most promising young scientist
2015-present  Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow

Representative publications

A.M. van Oijen, M. Ketelaars, J. Köhler, T.J. Aartsma, J. Schmidt; Unraveling the electronic structure of  individual photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes; Science 1999; 285: 400-402

A.M. van Oijen, P.C. Blainey, D.J. Crampton, C.C. Richardson, T. Ellenberger, X.S. Xie; Single-molecule kinetics reveal base dependence and dynamic disorder of ambda exonuclease; Science 2003; 301: 1235-1238

B.P. English, W. Min, A.M. van Oijen, K.T. Lee, G. Luo, H. Sun, B.J. Cherayil, S.C. Kou, X.S. Xie; Ever-Fluctuating Single Enzyme Molecules: the Michaelis-Menten Equation Revisited; Nature Chemical Biology, 2006; 2: 87-94

J.B. Lee, R.K. Hite, S.M. Hamdan, X.S. Xie, C.C. Richardson, A.M. van Oijen; DNA primase acts as a molecular brake in DNA replication; Nature, 2006; 439: 621-624

S.M. Hamdan, D.E. Johnson, N.A. Tanner, J.-B. Lee, U. Qimron, S. Tabor, A.M. van Oijen, C.C. Richardson; Dynamic DNA Helicase-DNA Polymerase Interactions Assure Processive Replication Fork Movement; Molecular Cell, 2007; 27: 539-549

N.A. Tanner, S.M. Hamdan, J. Slobodan, K.V. Loscha, P.M. Schaeffer, N.E. Dixon, A.M. van Oijen; Single-molecule studies of fork dynamics in Escherichia coli DNA replication; Nature Structure & Molecular Biology, 2008; 15: 170-175

D.L. Floyd, J. Ragains, J.J. Skehel, S.C. Harrison, A.M. van Oijen; Single-particle kinetics of influenza membrane fusion; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2008; 105: 15382-15387

S.M. Hamdan, J.J. Loparo, M. Takahashi, C.C. Richardson, A.M. van Oijen; Dynamics of individual DNA replication loops reveal temporal control of lagging-strand synthesis; Nature, 2009; 457: 336-339

H. Yardimci, A.B. Loveland, S. Habuchi, A.M. van Oijen, J.C. Walter; Uncoupling of sister replisomes during eukaryotic DNA replication Mol. Cell, 2010; 40: 834-840

A. Tafvizi, F. Huang, A.R. Fersht, L.A. Mirny, A.M. van Oijen; A single-molecule characterization of p53 search on DNA; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2011; 108: 563-568

J.J. Loparo, A.W. Kulczyk, C.C. Richardson, A.M. van Oijen; Simultaneous single-molecule measurements of phage T7 replisome composition and function reveal the mechanism of polymerase exchange; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2011; 108, 3584-3589

H. Yardimci, X. Wang, A.B. Loveland, I. Tappin, D.Z. Rudner, J. Hurwitz J, A.M. van Oijen, J.C. Walter; Bypass of a protein barrier by a replicative DNA helicase; Nature, 2012; 492, 205-209

A.B. Loveland, S. Habuchi, J.C. Walter, A.M. van Oijen; A general approach to break the concentration barrier in single-molecule imaging; Nature Methods, 2012; 9, 987-992

G.B. Erkens, I. Hänelt, J.M.H. Goudsmits, D.J. Slotboom, A.M. van Oijen; Unsynchronized subunit motion in single trimeric sodium-coupled aspartate transporters; Nature, 2013; 502, 119-123

T. Ivanovic, J.L. Choi, S.P. Whelan, A.M. van Oijen, S.C. Harrison; Influenza-virus membrane fusion by cooperative fold-back of stochastically induced hemagglutinin intermediates; Elife, 2013; 2:e00333

H.J. Geertsema, A.W. Kulczyk, C.C. Richardson, A.M. van Oijen; Single-molecule studies of polymerase dynamics and stoichiometry at the bacteriophage T7 replication machinery; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2014; 111:4073-4078 

J.J. Otterstrom, B. Brandenburg, M.H. Koldijk, J. Juraszek, C. Tang, S. Mashaghi, T. Kwaks, J. Goudsmit, R. Vogels, R.H.E. Friesen, A.M. van Oijen; Relating influenza virus membrane fusion kinetics to stoichiometry of neutralizing antibodies at the single-particle level; Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2014; 111:5143-5148

Searchable RIS publications from 2000 to date

Last reviewed: 8 March, 2016