Alexander van Oudenaarden is director and group leader at the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) and professor of quantitative biology of gene regulation at the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine at Utrecht University. His research group works with advanced (light) microscopy and sequencing technologies in order to study individual cells. Van Oudenaarden studied materials science and physics at Delft, where he also obtained his PhD in solid state physics. As a postdoc he worked at Stanford University collaborating with Steven Boxer and Julie Theriot. He was professor of physics and biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2012 he moved to the Hubrecht Institute after 15 years in the USA. His group combines techniques – in part developed by themselves – from developmental biology, molecular biology, physics, mathematics and computer science. He was awarded the 2011 and 2016 ERC Advanced Investigator grant and in 2017 van Oudenaarden won the Spinoza Award.