Wilhelm Huck full professorProf. Wilhelm Huck obtained his PhD in chemistry from University of Twente in 1992 winning the DSM Award for best thesis. In 2004 he became the Director, Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, University of Cambridge. In 2007 he was promoted to Full Professor. Awards include a DuPont Young Professor Award, a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel award of the Humboldt Foundation and an ERC advanced grant. He is currently Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and Professor of Physical Organic Chemistry at the Institute for Molecules and Materials, Radboud University Nijmegen.
Microdroplets in microfluidics are an enabling technology to study compartmentalized reactions at the femtoliter, single cell, or indeed single molecule level. The key features of microdroplets in microfluidics are that they 1) provide picoliter compartments in which species or reactions can be isolated, 2) are monodisperse and therefore they are suitable for quantitative studies, 3) droplets facilitate working with extremely small volumes and single cells or molecules, and 4) as droplets are generated at kHz frequencies, it is possible to perform very large numbers of experiments.
The aim of our research is to exploit microdroplets technology to provide us with unparalled insights at the molecular as well as cellular level into the chemistry and biology of complex systems. Our research is roughly organized in two parts:
- How does the physical environment within living cells, which is dominated by crowding, small volumes, interfaces and low copy numbers, affect the chemistry that occurs within that cell?
- Microdroplets provide picoliter compartments that can trap single cells and their environment and allows a quantitative chemical analysis of both. We aim to further develop this platform as '-omics' tool to study metabolic, epigenetic and signalling processes at the single cell level at very high throughputs.
Personal prizes & awards national & international
- 2016: NWO Spinoza Prize