Hans Tanke (the Netherlands)


Leiden University Medical Center

Einthovenweg 20, Leiden; 2333 ZC Leiden

PO Box 9600, Leiden; 2300 RC Leiden

The Netherlands


Phone : +31 (0) 71 526 9201/9200

Email : h.j.tanke (at) lumc.nl

COST ROLE: Leader of the working group 3-Instrumentation

Description of the Organisations and PI

The LUMC has a tradition of many years of pioneering medical and bio-medical research and is among the international top in this field. The LUMC research strategy is strongly focussed on cross-disciplinary and international orientation. The LUMC aims at identifying the causes of disease, improving diagnosis, prevention, and ultimately developing effective treatments. Current science crosses traditional borders. There are four biomedical research profiles and three generic research profiles. Every research programme within the LUMC is associated with one biomedical research profile and with at most two generic research profiles. LUMC annual research budget is approximately 150 million euros. Lastly the LUMC has its own graduate school, where currently around 700 PhD students are registered (https://www.lumc.nl/research/graduate-school/).The Leiden University Medical Center is a center for medical innovation, committed to the advancement of health care and the university is a member of  the Coimbra group, placing it amongst the most prestigious universities in Europe and furthermore the LUMC is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), an alliance of leading research universities in Europe.

The Department of Molecular Cell Biology (MCB) of the Leiden University Medical Center aims to perform curiosity-driven basic research for: i) the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie the function and activity of cells and tissues; ii) the unravelling of the molecular defects that form the basis of inherited and acquired disease; iii) making this knowledge and related technology emanating from this research available to others for improved diagnosis or to develop novel treatment modalities.

Research performed in the six MCB sections is clustered in four research themes (https://www.lumc.nl/org/moleculaire-celbiologie/research/. 

Most relevant to the work of the COST consortium is theme 4: Microscopic imaging and technology. The aim of this research program is to develop and/or adapt microscopic imaging methods, instrumentation and fluorescent labelling technologies to study the molecular composition of tissues, cells and subcellular compartments. The program involves both light and electron microscopy and supports projects within the realm of both cell and structural biology. Examples include the use of two-photon or confocal laser scanning microscopy to study molecular dynamics in living cells using FRET/FRAP techniques, time-lapse fluorescence imaging of living cells, two-photon intravital microscopy of small laboratory animals, digital fluorescence workstations to perform 48 colour FISH karyotyping in case of malignancies and pre/postnatal abnormalities. For high-resolution (nm-scale) ultrastructural studies, the core electron microscopic imaging tools include (cryo) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with energy-filtering, (cryo) scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron tomography for the 3D imaging of cellular organelles and macromolecules. A key focus is correlative light-electron microscopy, which allows the combination of high-resolution imaging by electron microscopy with live-cell dynamic imaging by fluorescence light microscopy. The light and electron microscopy facilities are extensively used for collaborative projects within the LUMC. Important themes of collaborative research are genetics, pathology, oncology, hematology and infectious diseases.

The Deparrtment of Molecuar Cell Biology has an international reputation due to its pioneering role in the development of multicolour FISH techniques, fluorescence microscopy and microscopy automation, cryo-electron tomography and correlative microscopy.

Phosphors and up-converting phosphors: Decades ago the group has introduced the use of inorganic phosphors as labels of cellular macromolecules resulting in a broad basic patent submitted in 1985 US patent 5,043,265 and  granted in 1991:  H.J. Tanke. J.C.M. Slats, J.S. Ploem:”Inorganic phosphor labelled macromolecules; a process for their preparation and their use for immunological or immunocytochemical assays”). Since 1999 the group has developed various lateral flow (LF) based assays to detect infectious diseases focusing on user-friendly field-applications; under the supervision of staff member Dr. Paul Corstjens over 50 studies have been published. More recently, the group has introduced point-of-care UCP-LF  based assays are to monitor immunodrug so-called trough levels in oncological and IBD patients, in order to establish the desired therapeutic drug level for each individual patient.

Prof. Dr. Hans Tanke (Biochemistry degree, Utrecht University 1977; PhD degree, Leiden University 1982) was appointed full professor in 1992 at Leiden University, and chairs the Department of Molecular Cell Biology (Leiden University Medical Center) since 1997(see also www.lumc.nl/1050).  His present research field relates to the development of novel fluorescence based technology including advanced imaging to study the molecular composition of cells and chromosome. A special research focus is the analysis of molecular interactions in living cells using CSLM, FRAP and FRET-FLIM techniques. Aim is to unravel the molecular mechanisms that determine normal and abnormal cell function, aiming to understand the cause of inherited and acquired disease. He pioneered the development of novel fluorescent reporters and promoted the use of digital fluorescence microscopy for this purpose, awarded with a NWO Pioneer grant in 1989. In past decades the Leiden laboratory has made many original contributions to the field of FISH and immunocytochemistry and advanced microscopy.  Since a decade his team develops technology for point-of-care diagnosis of infectious diseases. Hans Tanke also has appointments of professor at Delft University of Technology (Department of Bionanoscience) and that the Science Faculty of the University of Leiden, to supervise microscopic imaging. He is (co)-author of more than 350 peer reviewed scientific papers, and is (co)-inventor on 5 patents (current H-index = 54).  Dr. Tanke has been (or is) a member of the scientific advisory boards of Vysis-Naperville, Kreatech Biotechnology-Amsterdam, Leica Microsystems (Wetzlar), Applied Imaging (San Jose) and FEI-Portland, and has acted as consultant for Perkin Elmer,  Roche Diagnostics and Orasure Technologies, Bethlehem PA.  He is current part-time scientific director of Genomescan (www.genomescan.nl), a company to implement next generation sequencing technology for diagnostic purposes.

Research infrastructure


The Department of Molecular Cell Biology has excellent facilities for microscopic imaging (https://www.lumc.nl/org/moleculaire-celbiologie/research/Facilities/Light-Microscopy/; and https://www.lumc.nl/org/moleculaire-celbiologie/research/Facilities/Electron-Microscopy/ ) containing confocal laser scanning microscopes (4), some adapted for two-photon illumination and STED super-resolution microscopy, time lapse live cell imaging, cryo-electron tomography (including access the Titan KRIOS FEI systems) and 3D scanning electron microscopy. For UCNP imaging there is a two-photon laser scanning microscope for intravital imaging and  a 980 nm excitation wide field fluorescence microscope.

Relevant papers:

  1. Zijlmans H.J., Bonnet J., Burton J., Kardos K., Vail T., Niedbala R.S. and Tanke H.J.,  "Detection of cell and tissue surface antigens using up-converting phosphors: a new reporter technology," Anal. Biochem. 267(1), 30-36 (1999).
  2. van de Rijke F., Zijlmans H., Li S., Vail T., Raap A.K., Niedbala R.S., and Tanke H.J., Up-converting phosphor reporters for nucleic acid microarrays, Nat. Biotech., 19 (2001) 273.
  3. Corstjens P., Zuiderwijk M., Brink A., Li S., Feindt H., Niedbala R.S. and Tanke H.J.,  "Use of up-converting phosphor reporters in lateral-flow assays to detect specific nucleic acid sequences: A rapid, sensitive DNA test to identify human papillomavirus type 16 infection," Clinical Chemistry 47(10), 1885-1893 (2001).
  4. Zuiderwijk M., Tanke H.J., Niedbala R.S. and Corstjens P.L., "An amplification-free hybridization-based DNA assay to detect Streptococcus pneumoniae utilizing the up-converting phosphor technology," Clin. Biochem. 36(5), 401-403 (2003).
  5. Corstjens P.L., Li S., Zuiderwijk M., Kardos K., Abrams W.R., Niedbala R.S. and Tanke H.J.,  "Infrared up-converting phosphors for bioassays," IEE. Proc. Nanobiotechnol. 152(2), 64-72 (2005).
  6. Corstjens, P.L., de Dood C.J., van der Ploeg-van Schip J.J., Wiesmeijer K.C., Riuttamäki T., van Meijgaarden K.E., Spencer J.S., Tanke H.J., Ottenhoff T.H.M. and Geluk A. "Lateral flow assay for simultaneous detection of cellular- and humoral immune responses," Clin. Biochem. 44, 1241-1246 (2011).
  7. van Dam G.J., de Dood C.J., Lewis M., Deelder A.M., van Lieshout L., Tanke H.J., van Rooyen L.H. and Corstjens P.L.,  "A robust dry reagent lateral flow assay for diagnosis of active schistosomiasis by detection of Schistosoma circulating anodic antigen," Exp. Parasitol. 135(2), 274-282 (2013).
  8. Corstjens P.L., Fidder H.H., Wiesmeijer K.C., de Dood C.J., Rispens T., Wolbink G.J., Hommes D.W. and Tanke H.J.,  "A rapid assay for on-site monitoring of infliximab trough levels: a feasibility study," Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 405(23), 7367-7375 (2013).
  9. Corstjens P.L., de Dood C.J., Priest J.W., Tanke H.J., Handali S. and the Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru, "Feasibility of a lateral flow test for neurocysticercosis using novel up-converting nanomaterials and a lightweight strip analyzer, " PloS NTD 8(7), e2944 (2014).
  10. Tanke H.J., Zuiderwijk M., Wiesmeijer K.C., Breedveld, R.N., Abrams W.R., de Dood C.J., Tjon Kon Fat E.M. and Corstjens P.L., "The use of upconverting phosphors in point-of-care (POC) testing, " Proc. SPIE 8947, 89470P-1 (2014).


COST Action CM1403 (2014-2018)

Chair: dr Hans Gorris (University of Regensburg, Germany)

Vice-Chair: prof.Tero Soukka (University of Turku, Finland)

COST Science Officer: Dr. Lucia Forzi (Bruseels, Belgium)

STSMs Manager: dr hab. Artur Bednarkiewicz (PAS & WCB EIT+, Poland)


info @ ucnp.eu


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