Proteins@WorkProteins@Work: A large-scale proteomics research facility for the life sciences

Contact details:

Prof. dr. Albert J.R. Heck
Utrecht University Padualaan 8 3584 CH Utrecht
+31 (0)30 253 6797

The Proteins@Work proteomics facility provides access to high level proteomics technology, equipment and expertise for academic and industrial biological and biomedical communities. Proteins@Work consists of a core facility at Utrecht University, and out-stations at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam and the University Medical Centre Utrecht. The facility offers state-of-the-art mass spectrometry based proteomics methods and training to aid fundamental, translational and clinical research into proteins and biomarkers relevant for health and disease. Technologies available include protein identification, analysis of complex protein samples, mapping posttranslational modifications and quantitative analysis of (sub)proteomes. Further information is available at

Proteomics focuses on system-wide analysis of proteins with the goal to understand their biological function in the context of all the other biomolecules present in the cells and/or tissue. For example, it allows studying the regulatory effect of protein interactions and modifications on cancer and autoimmune diseases. Moreover, as nearly all used drugs target proteins, proteomics has led to a better understanding of drug-treatments, in the context of the emerging view that such treatments should be personalized, avoiding unwanted side-effects.
Proteomics has become a pivotal technology for research in the life sciences; it provides the crucial link between information presented by gene sequencing and the phenotype of the disease or other relevant studied biological process. Proteomics tools are nowadays used in a broad spectrum of applications, ranging from the in detail study of inter and intra-cellular signaling, monitoring early diagnostic protein biomarkers of disease, to application in structural biology. During the last decade, the realization has emerged that successful proteomics requires an expensive and a constantly evolving infrastructure as well as a critical mass/size including well-trained high-level personnel. The Netherlands Proteomics Centre (NPC), founded in 2003, combined research in proteomics technology with localized “research hotels” that provided access to technology alongside an integrated program to enhance and improve the use of bioinformatics in proteomics. The NPC is now firmly established in the national research community, and is also recognized internationally because of its high-quality contributions to the field, and played a coordinating role for instance also in the European large-scale proteomics facility PRIME-XS (2011-2015). The NPC also laid a solid foundation for providing high-end proteomics expertise and technology to the Dutch scientific community. Built on this solid foundation in 2014, the national Roadmap Facility Proteins@Work was initiated. Through NWO support we were able to acquire the latest generation of mass spectrometry equipment (i.e. protein sequencers) and hire expert personnel needed to initiate collaborations with scientists throughout the Netherlands.
The Proteins@Work proteomics facility provides access to a very wide range of both academic and industrial partners. Being both technological and community-driven, Proteins@Work contributes to the innovative climate in the Netherlands and Europe and helps to address the societal challenges in health and food as defined in the Horizon 2020 programme. The enabling technologies developed by the program, often in collaboration with industrial partners, has led to substantial economic and societal value. Proteomics has an almost limitless range of applications in fields as diverse as improving quality of life, health care and disease prevention, as well as environmental monitoring and sustainability research. These fields have a broad societal and economic impact. Proteins@Work collaborates with other large-scale facilities such as the European Bioinformatic Institute (EBI), the Dutch Tech Centre for Life Sciences (DTL) and the ESFRI project Instruct for integrated structural biology. Proteins@Work is also well affiliated to at least two NWO Gravity programs: ( and the Institute for Chemical Immunology (ICI). Proteins@Work thus plays an essential role in Life Sciences and Health research.

Connection to strategic developments
Life Sciences & Health
Health and Food