TUM-IAS Carl von Linde Senior Fellow Professor Hendrik Dietz measures forces in the DNA molecule


TUM-IAS Carl von Linde Senior Fellow Hendrik Dietz, member of the TUM-IAS Focus Group Biologically Inspired Material Science, and a team of scientists at TUM have, for the very first time, successfully measured the forces in DNA molecules on the level of single base pairs.

This new knowledge could help to construct precise molecular machines out of DNA.

Prof. Hendrik Dietz, who joint for the first time TUM-IAS in 2010 as a Hans Fischer Tenure Track Fellow, worked on the problem of directly measuring the weak stacking forces between base pairs, which was a big technical challenge, for six years. In collaboration with the TUM Chair of Molecular Biophysics (Prof. Matthias Rief) and the TUM Chair of Theoretical Biophysics - Biomolecular Dynamics (Prof. Martin Zacharias), they succeeded in developing a special experimental setup that now makes it possible to measure extremely weak contact interactions between individual molecules.

The results of the measurements may help to better understand mechanical aspects of fundamental biological processes such as DNA replication, i.e. the reproduction of genetic material.

The results of the study were published in the prestigious high-ranked Science Magazine (IF 34.661). For more information, please see the official TUM press release.