dr.ir. S. Lindhoud (Saskia)

Assistant Professor

About Me

Complex coacervate droplets: from life to death and how to turn it into technology?

Complex coacervates are dense liquid-like phases that form when oppositely charged macro-ions are mixed under the right conditions (pH, ionic strength, mixing ratio). 

My research focusses on three different aspects of these complex coacervates: 

Droplets of Life
I believe that inside complex coacervates containing RNA and polycations proteins can be formed from amino acids without the presence of enzymes and DNA. These droplets will allow me to provide direct evidence for the RNA world hypothesis, but understanding the mechanism is equally if not more important.

Droplets of Death
In many cases membrane-less organelles are part of a disease pathway. Proteins which accumulate inside the droplets form fibrils that are lethal for the cell. If we can predict under what conditions disease related proteins bind and accumulate, this may lead to new ways to interrupt the disease pathway.

Droplets for Tech
The fundamental questions that are being investigated in the Droplets of Life and Droplets of Death pillars of my research will lead to new applications of complex coacervate droplets. 






After completing a BSc and MSc on Molecular Sciences at Wageningen University in 2005, I started a PhD project at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science under supervision of Prof. Martien Cohen Stuart and Prof. Willem Norde. The topic of my PhD work was the incorporation of enzymes in polyelectrolyte complex micelles. Within four years (2009) I defended my thesis entitled “Polyelectrolyte Complex Micelles as Wrapping for Enzymes.” After graduating, I left the Netherlands to investigate whether shower-gel can be made “greener” using oxidized cellulose as viscosity modifier. This research was performed at the University of Bath (UK). During this two year project I performed many neutron and x-ray scattering experiments at large scale facilities (ISIS, DIAMOND, ESRF and ILL) trying to resolve the structure of these oxidized cellulose gels. Beginning 2013 I joined the Nanobiophysics group at the University of Twente to work on a project called: “Motor failure in cellular disease.” Later that year I was awarded NWO prestigious Veni award on “Complex Coacervates as Molecular Crowding Agents,” to start my own research line. Since June 2016 I am an Assistant Professor at the Nanobiophysics group and my research focusses on "Complex coacervate droplets: from life to death and how to turn it into technology?"


Schmitt, J., Calabrese, V., Da Silva, M. A., Lindhoud, S., Alfredsson, V., Scott, J. L., & Edler, K. J. (2018). TEMPO-oxidised cellulose nanofibrils; Probing the mechanisms of gelation: Via small angle X-ray scattering. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 20(23), 16012-16020. DOI: 10.1039/c8cp00355f
Lindhoud, S., & Cohen Stuart, M. A. (2013). Relaxation phenomena during polyelectrolyte complex formation. In M. Mueller (Ed.), Polyelectrolyte Complexes in the Dispersed and Solid State I, Principles and Theory (pp. 139-172)

UT Research Information System

Google Scholar Link


Below you can find a selection of MSc and BSc projects.

Please drop me an email if you are interested s.lindhoud@utwente.nl



Current Projects

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Science and Technology
Horst - Zuidhorst (building no. 28), room 157
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Science and Technology
Horst - Zuidhorst  157
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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