Our genome is constantly copied, modified, rearranged and maintained. We are interested in how the complex machineries are functioning that drive these biological processes.
To this end we develop new biophysical tools that allow to monitor the activity as well as conformational states of single biomolecular machines in real time. This includes so-called tweezers techniques where magnetic and photonic forces are used to probe the mechanical properties and the states of single biomolecules. We combine such measurements with singe-molecule fluorescence approaches that report on the localization and on nanoscopic conformational changes of individual molecular players. Our single-molecule measurements are complemented by physical modeling in order to understand the main working principles of biomolecular machines.
Using this methodology we investigate the physical processes that lead to DNA compaction in the nucleus of cells, decipher the mechanisms of motor enzymes that are involved in the repair of broken DNA and explore how CRISPR-Cas enzymes that currently revolutionize the field of genome engineering are recognizing their programmable targets.
Beyond understanding biomolecular machines we also try to make use of biological principles in order to fabricate artificial bioinspired nanosystems. Hereby we exploit DNA as building material to fabricate three-dimensional objects of complex shape and with designed functionality. These structures are applied in membrane biophysics as well as for the self-assembly of nanoelectronic components.
+++ NEWS +++
01. March 2017: Sebastian joined the lab to work on polymer mechanics.
22. February 2017: The contract for a newly awarded ERC consolidator grant that will start in spring has just been signed.
09. September 2016: Our collaborative work with the Cejka lab at the University of Zurich on helicases involved in double-strand DNA break repair was accepted at eLife. Congrats to Kristina as well as to Cosimo from the Cejka lab.
01. September 2016: Jingjing wins the 1st poster prize at the NanoNet workshop in Prague for her DNA brick system.
25. March 2016: Our paper on the force-dependent dynamics of the single stranded DNA binding protein RPA got accepted at Nucleic Acids Research. Congrats to Felix.