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Research topics

1. Antibody-mediated immune reactions to endogenous proteins

One of the major challenges in understanding the complex immune system is the question when and why this defense system attacks endogenous proteins (i.e. self-proteins). In the frame of an ERC Starting Grant (PredicTOOL), we focus our research on antibody-mediated immune reactions to endogenous proteins. By high sensitivity nanotechnological tools based on spectroscopic and imaging techniques (e.g. Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy, Single Molecule Force Spectroscopy, Isothermal Titration Calorimetry, Fluorescence Microscopy), we characterize the interaction of autoantibodies with their antigens and further interaction with cells of the immune system.


2. Mechanobiology of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes on 3D substrates towards improved implant surfaces

In the frame of a DZHK project, we investigate using 3D engineered surfaces with various properties (e.g. size, shape, elasticity) the mechanobiology of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CM) under physiological and pharmacological conditions. The primary goal is to understand the mechanisms through which the complex physico-chemical interactions between cardiomyocytes and their environment are translated into biochemical and cellular responses.The results will serve to understand the basic functionality of cardiac cells and will allow fabricating in vitro myocardial tissue constructs.

Adv Healthc Mater. 2016 Feb 4;5(3):335-41. doi: 10.1002/adhm.201500740.



3. Immunogenicity of nanoparticles

The BMBF funded project aims to predict & control using in vitro tools the immunogenicity of biomaterials (nanoparticles) by adjusting the physical properties (e.g. size, geometry, surface charge), the structural composition (e.g. polymeric, metallic, hybrid) and the targeting ligands (e.g. antibodies, proteins, nucleic acids, sugars). 






  • Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (Microcal iTC 200)
  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry ( microcal VP DSC )
  • Circular Dichroism Spectrometry ( Chirascan )
  • Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (Q-Sense)
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance (Biacore T200) for investigation of biomolecular interactions in real time, retrieving on-rate and off rate as well as dissociation constants
  • Dynamic Light Scattering (Zetasizer with green laser 533 nm) for measuring the size of biopolymeric aggregates
  • Ellipsometry
  • Scanning Electron Microscope (Zeiss SV 40) equipped with stem detector for transmission electron microscopy and silicon drift detector for identification of elements in the microscopic sample and Electron Beam Lithography (Raith) for production of nano-structures surfaces
  • Atomic Force Microscope (Bruker Catalyst) equipped with Microscope (Leica DMI 6000B) and Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF technique)
  • Atomic Force Microscope (JPK) equipped with laser scanning microscope (Olympus IX81),
  • Life Cell Microscope ( TILL Photonics ) equipped with highly sensitive Andor camera for detection of very weak fluorescent signals as well as with a high speed camera (2500 fps) for studies of cell migration cell activation. The microscope can be equipped with a precision pump system for studies of cells under flow conditions and cheer forces.
  • Chromatographic systems (ÄKTA Explorer) for purification of proteins
  • Chromatographic system for analytical separations of biomolecules (ÄKTA Micro)
  • Asymmetric field flow fractionation system ECLIPSE (Wyatt Technology) combined with an AGILENT HPLC system, for separation of large proteins and protein aggregates in a matrix free flow cell; the system is also equipped with a highly sensitive flow-through refractometer (Wyatt) for samples non absorbing in UV-light