Biologically Inspired Materials Science

Prof. Hendrik Dietz (Hans Fischer Tenure Track Fellow), is conducting research toward developing novel scientific devices and methods for applications in biomolecular physics, biological chemistry, and molecular medicine. A central focus of his newly established Laboratory for Biomolecular Nanotechnology is on investigating the physical details of intermolecular interactions, in particular protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions. To overcome critical experimental challenges that one faces when studying low-affinity biomolecular interactions, the Dietz lab is working toward taking advantage of the fine positional control afforded by molecular-self assembly with DNA origami to build nanometer-scale scientific devices that will be used to interface and manipulate target macromolecules and that will enable conformational read-out with single-molecule fluorescence methods and/or with transmission electron microscopy. Since 2016 Prof. Hendrik Dietz has been a Carl von Linde Senior Fellow.

Prof. Zvonimir Dogic of University of California, Santa Barbara, is a Hans Fischer Senior Fellow working in this Focus Group. Active matter is an assembly of microscopic objects, each of which consumes energy to generate continuous dynamics. Interactions between such objects lead to collective emergent properties that are strikingly different from those of conventional materials assembled from inanimate objects. An example of active matter is the biological cytoskeleton which is built from animate actively propelled molecular motors and other components. Being released from the constraints of the equilibrium the cytoskeleton exhibits remarkable properties such as motility, rapid shape changes and spontaneous internal flows. Our goal is to create biologically inspired far-from-equilibrium polymeric and liquid crystalline materials from purified biological components. Prof. Dogic in collaboration with the groups of his TUM-IAS Hosts Prof. Hendrik Dietz and Prof. Andreas Bausch seeks to deconstruct the complicated cytoskeletal machinery and to identify the simplest set of proteins that reproduce the remarkable material properties of the cytoskeleton.

TUM-IAS funded doctoral candidates:
Felix Keber, Molecular & Cellular Biophysics