Prof. Maarten Merkx, Founding Scientist

Maarten is a full professor at the department of Biomedical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), where he leads the research group Protein Engineering operating at the interface of chemical biology and synthetic biology. His research group combines approaches from protein engineering, chemical biology, and synthetic biology to develop biomolecular sensors and actuators for applications in intracellular imaging, point-of-care diagnostics, optogenetics, and antibody-based therapies. An important research theme is the engineering of biomolecular switches, which include fluorescent and bioluminescent sensor proteins for intracellular imaging, photo-switchable proteins, and protein- and DNA-based sensors for antibody detection and actuation. Maarten’s journey toward founding LUMABS BV was significantly accelerated in 2019 when he received an NWO Take Off grant to map the commercial possibilities of glow-in-the-dark paper-based assays for point-of-care diagnostics. This is now one of several of Maarten’s inventions in the LUMABS BV technology portfolio. “By engineering new proteins with new functions we go beyond the already impressive functional diversity of natural proteins and developing new applications for proteins in diagnosis and therapy.”