New Materials and Biosystems (Spatz)

Investigation of the interaction between synthetic and living materials





The Department explores fundamental and applied research topics in the area of biomaterials, biophysics and biomedicine. Its focus are novel functions and phenomema based on the self-organization of molecules, proteins, nanoparticles, bacteria, and cells as well as their chemical and physical manipulation. In this context we are developing new devices and biomaterial systems (e.g. photoswitchable molecules and proteins, structured interfaces for bio- and optically active interfaces as well as fiber systems for cell matrices) and shedding light on fundamental issues such as individual and collective cell migration, cellular interactions with their environment (cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion) and, its influence on higher biological functions like immune responses, tissue development and regeneration, wound healing and tumor development. Moreover, the Department addresses issues in synthetic biology, how individual cell functions like cell adhesion and cell migration can be created synthetically. The latter topic is being funded by an ERC Advanced Grant of the EU (together with Benjamin Geiger from the Weizmann Institute of Science), among others.