The research is centered on the physics - life science interface, applying techniques from fundamental physics and developing new instrumentation to understand biological systems. The current interests include the interaction between photons and different types of nano-structures ranging from single walled carbon nanotubes and metal nano-particles to intracellular structures like the cytoskeleton and vesicles. One aspect is the development of new sensors that allow local measurements inside live cells. This will provide new ways to study the relation between molecular structure and its function in a natural environment. The focus here lays on the understanding of molecular motors and cytoskeletal/membrane interactions involved in cell-cell communication.

In vitro toxicology

A collaboration with the cosmetics industry on alternative methods for toxicity testing, has resulted in the development of a three-dimensional corneal model. Further to classical toxicology assays we characterised the cytokine secretion of the construct which was stable in controls and specifically altered after exposure to toxicants.

An newer interest is models to study nanoparticle toxicity in the light of their potential as a research tool and therapeutic modality.

Organ-cultured cornea (top) and 3D corneal model (bottom) where epithelial cells grown on a collagen gel seeded with human corneal fibroblasts.

Working in this area

The following people are involved in this research:

Latest publications

  • M Fleischer, D. Zhang, K. Braun, S. Jager, R. Ehlich, M. Haffner, C. Stanciu, Horber, JKH, AJ Meixner and DP Kern. 'Tailoring gold nano structures for near-field optical applications', Nanotechnology, 21, (pp. 1-7), 2010
  • Ehlich, R and Horber, JKH. 'Molecular order affecting electron transport through ssDNA', Ultramicroscopy, 109, (pp. 1074-1079), 2009

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