I performed my master’s studies in Medical Biology at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. After this, I did my PhD studies in the laboratory of Titia Sixma at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam. During my PhD I studied DNA mismatch repair and solved the first crystal structure of the key mismatch repair protein MutS. Subsequent to my PhD, I moved the United States where I joined the laboratory of John Kuriyan at the University of California, Berkeley. During my postdoctoral work I determined the crystal structure of the replicative DNA polymerase Pol III from E. coli and started my first cryo-EM work in the lab of Eva Nogales, UC Berkeley. It was also during this time I got first interested in DNA replication in the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Following my postdoctoral work, I started my own research group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. Here I expanded my research on E. coli DNA replication and translesion DNA synthesis and started working on DNA replication in M. tuberculosis. During this time, our work benefited from the recent major technological advances in cryo-EM techniques and determined multiple structures of DNA replication and DNA repair complexes. In addition, my lab also implemented single-molecule light microscopy techniques that perfectly complement the biochemical and structural work. In 2017 I moved to the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, where I continue my work on DNA replication in E. coli and M. tuberculosis using biochemical, structural, and single molecule approaches and expanding into high-throughput screening for novel inhibitors of M. tuberculosis DNA replication proteins.
Since 2019 I am co-director of the Netherlands Center for Electron Nanoscopy (NeCEN) at the Leiden Faculty of Science. Since 2022 I also head the Section Electron Microscopy in the Department Cell and Chemical Biology at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC).