Prof. dr. Bert Poolman

Profile of the supervisor

Prof. dr. Bert Poolman was trained in bioenergetics and microbiology and moved to biochemistry and biophysics in later years. Central questions in his research are: How do molecules permeate biological membranes and how can one control solute fluxes? Throughout his career, he has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the dynamics and permeability of biological membranes and to the field of small molecule transport. He has advanced the field of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, one of the largest known protein families, by combining functional and structural studies.


ABC transporters, membrane reconstitution, cell volume regulation, optical microscopy.

Profile of the research group

Poolman’s group has contributed to several methodological advances, including the expression and quality control of membrane proteins, the in vitro reconstitution of cellular function and microscopy analyses of translocation processes in vitro and in vivo. Highlights include:

  • Discovery of export of hydrophobic compounds from the inner leaflet of the lipid bilayer;
  • Elucidation of the sensing and gating mechanism of ABC importers involved in cell volume regulation;
  • Structural basis for peptide selection by receptors involved in nitrogen uptake;
  • Structural basis for vitamin recognition and transport by a new class of ABC importers;
  • Elucidation of substrate binding and delivery in ABC importer at the single molecule level.
Prof. dr. Bert Poolman