ESC7: Single Molecule Approaches

Dates: 6th-8th November 2023

Location: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands (RUG-BP)

Full address: Moleculaire Biofysica, Zernike Instituut, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands

Number of participants: 10

It is no longer possible to apply for this course.

Description of the course:

The course focuses on single-molecule and single-particle approaches, which are approaches that are nowadays common in biophysics labs. With these approaches one can study molecules and particles at the single entity level as opposed to bulk methods in which ensemble averaging occurs over large quantities of particles. In particular the focus will be on STED super-resolution microscopy, optical tweezers and atomic force microscopy.

During the course the participants will learn about the fundamental background and operational procedures of the techniques and hands-on practice with the instruments will be performed. Attention will be given to sample preparation, set-up operation, data gathering and data analysis. As the techniques are quite labour intensive to learn, the applicants will, after an introduction on the three techniques, focus on one of the three techniques to work with during the three days. Short excursions to the other techniques will be organised.

Outline of the course:

The course will start on Monday the 6th and end midday Wednesday the 8th of November 2023.

Day 1

Lunch including round table introduction of participants and hosts

Lecture 1: Introduction to STED super-resolution: Principles and information content
Lecture 2: Introduction to AFM and Optical Tweezers: Principles and information content

Sample preparation

Day 2

Hands on in teams of 2-4 participants

  • STED group; setting up the system and first measurements
  • AFM group; setting up the system and first measurements
  • Optical Tweezers group; setting up the system and first measurements

Tour to the other set-ups (the two set-ups the participants have not chosen)

Hands on in teams of 2-4 participants

  • STED group; Imaging fixed compounds
  • AFM group; Vesicle dynamics and lipid bilayer formation
  • Optical Tweezers group; DNA mechanical properties

Day 3

Lecture 3: Difficult samples and often encountered problems
Lecture 4: Advanced studies

Hands on in teams of 2-4 participants

  • STED group; Imaging live cells
  • AFM group; Virus mechanics
  • Optical Tweezers group; Protein-DNA interactions

Lunch, questions and goodbye.

Other details:

Participants will receive partial financial support to attend the course, including economy travel, lunches and 2 nights of accommodation with breakfast (accommodation will be booked by the organisers). Successful applicants will be informed of the eligible expenses when they receive a formal acceptance letter.

Download a pdf version of a flyer for this course via the link below:


Application to take part in the course

The course is limited to 10 participants and therefore any interested parties will need to submit an application for consideration to take part.

Who is eligible to apply:

Anyone with a workplace/host institution in one of the EU member or associated states may apply to attend this course (this includes people from the UK). Applicants from industry are also welcome. It is expected that the applicant has at least a basic knowledge of molecular biology, chemistry and/or biophysics and that it is applicable to their area of research/work. Applications from scientists in the early-stage of their career are particularly encouraged and we will strive to obtain a gender balance of the participants in the course.

How to apply:

The application consists of:

  • submission of a completed course application form which includes:
    • motivation for attendance
    • a short scientific CV
  • if you are a student or postdoc, a reference letter.

Once the application period is closed, all submissions will be reviewed and the applicants will be informed of the outcome.

When to apply:

It is no longer possible to apply for this course. The applications received are under review and applicants will be informed once a decision has been made.

Application deadline:

The deadline for submission of an application to participate in this course was the: 15th September 2023.