At Amsterdam Science Park, we believe knowledge has no borders. That’s why you’ll find cutting-edge institutes, top-class facilities and business incubators in one convenient location. You’ll meet motivated students, innovative researchers, talented scientists and adventurous entrepreneurs – all in an environment where it’s easy to work together. Cross-disciplinary initiatives and holistic thinking flourish. Ground-breaking research projects become successful spin-offs. That’s the strength of Amsterdam Science Park: connecting boundless minds.
Gijsje Koenderink leads a research team on the physics of the living cell at AMOLF, which is located at Amsterdam Science Park.
“I came to AMOLF in 2006, because this institute gave me the opportunity to start my own research group, and because it has excellent facilities. It’s one of the research laboratories of the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), which is part of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). It’s active in two main areas: light, namely nanophotonics and photovoltaics; and biophysics, the physics of life."
“There’s a constant, natural turnover of research projects, which makes AMOLF more dynamic than a typical university”
“I’m in the biophysics department and my main interest is the workings of the living cell. I actually started out in physical chemistry, but after finishing my PhD in Utrecht I changed direction. I was at Harvard when AMOLF approached me, which led to my current position as a scientific group leader. There’s a really dynamic environment here, with the focus on new research directions and interdisciplinary interests."
“My own research aims to understand what moves and shapes cells. We have 200 different cell types in our bodies, all of them dynamic in form. Unlike our bony skeleton, the cell’s cytoskeleton is dynamic and constantly moving. Studying the molecular basis of its function can help us understand what happens when things go wrong – for example, in cancer cells – and how cells interact with their environment, which is helpful in developing stem-cell applications and tissue engineering. There are some amazing developments to look forward to here, including the repair of spinal cord injuries and organ damage. My dream is to make a ‘synthetic cell’, a highly complex system with life-like properties that can move and divide itself, because this would greatly advance our understanding of how the cell works."
“The different cultural backgrounds represented at Amsterdam Science Park give you a wider perspective”
“Amsterdam Science Park is an important centre for bioscience, with a strong experimental and theoretical research community. Research is all about the people who do it – and here we have access to some very bright people, in our own field and in related areas. The physical proximity of people doing soft-matter science, for example, which is complementary to what we do, is really valuable."
“Amsterdam Science Park is very actively engaged in the international community”
“Our group is thoroughly international, with people from all over the EU and the USA. I think it’s important to have different cultural backgrounds represented in research, because it gives you a wider perspective and a more dynamic team. Amsterdam Science Park is highly attractive to young, internationally oriented people from all over the world – they are drawn to the city and what it has to offer, and also to the exciting science here. I like the park’s accessibility – that’s so important for international interaction. We’re close to Schiphol Airport, a major hub, so it’s easy and attractive for colleagues from abroad to come here on their way to somewhere else. There is so much here at Amsterdam Science Park, and it is very actively engaged in the international community. I have absolutely no plans to move anywhere else!”
“The greatest benefit of Amsterdam Science Park is that it connects you with such a diverse group of people and so with a world of different ideas. There is huge potential for interdisciplinary research and I see the park growing into an even greater hub of expertise and knowledge.”