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Department Chemie
Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Guido Grundmeier
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The Nanobiomaterials group investigates the structure and behavior of biomolecular systems with the aim to create novel materials and functionalities, optimize medical implant surfaces, elucidate the molecular causes of degenerative diseases, and identify new therapeutic agents. Our research is focused on the following topics.

DNA nanotechnology

Regular nanoscale protein patterns via directed adsorption through self-assembled DNA origami masks (Ramakrishnan et al., ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2016)

The DNA origami technique enables the fast, high-yield synthesis of arbitrarily shaped 2D and 3D nanostructures by exploiting the strong specificity of Watson−Crick base pairing. It employs a long, single-stranded DNA scaffold which is folded into the desired shape by a suitable (i.e., complementary) set of designed short synthetic oligonucleotides, called staple strands. The sequence of each staple strand is designed to facilitate multiple binding events with different segments of the scaffold strand, thus forcing the scaffold to fold into an arbitrary shape which is determined by the sequences of the individual staple strands. The resulting DNA origami nanostructures may serve as spatially addressable molecular breadboards that enable the controlled arrangement of biomolecules and nanoparticles with nanometer precision. Our current research is focused on further advancing the DNA origami technique toward novel applications in structural biology, drug discovery, and surface functionalization.

Amyloid aggregation

Self-assembly, dynamics, and polymorphism of hIAPP(20–29) aggregates at solid–liquid interfaces (Hajiraissi et al., Langmuir 2017)

The denaturation and aggregation of proteins into amyloid aggregates play important roles in the development of various degenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. In the course of these diseases, partially unfolded proteins associate with one another and form nanoscale fibrillar structures with different morphologies. Many different factors may act as the initial trigger of the protein misfolding and subsequent aggregation, including pH, ionic strength, and protein concentration. Furthermore, also the presence of a surface may induce the formation of initial aggregation seeds and affect the assembly rate and the structure of the aggregates. We are, therefore, investigating the molecular mechanisms responsible for the aggregation of different medically relevant proteins and peptides such as the islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP), which plays a crucial role in the development of type II diabetes. We are particularly interested in the role of surface effects that may promote or inhibit amyloid fibril formation.

Bio-surface interactions

Low-aspect ratio nanopatterns on bioinert alumina influence the response and morphology of osteoblast-like cells (Wittenbrink et al., Biomaterials 2015)

The interaction of adhering cells with biological and artificial surfaces is to a great extent controlled by the adsorption and conformation of different proteins from the medium. Understanding and ultimately controlling the behavior of biomolecules at surfaces thus represents an important prerequisite for various applications in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and cell therapy. We, therefore, study the interaction of biomolecules with model surfaces in order to shed light on the fundamental processes that govern cellular response. We are particularly interested in the influence of surface topographic features with nanometer dimensions. In order to fabricate model surfaces with well-defined topography, we utilize low-energy ion irradiation which leads to the self-organized formation of ordered nanopatterns on the irradiated surface. Although such nanopatterns have vertical dimensions in the range of only a few nanometers, they can be recognized by adhering cells and may influence their response.

Group leader

Dr. Adrian Keller

Technische Chemie - Arbeitskreis Grundmeier

Group leader "Nanobiomaterials"

Adrian Keller
+49 5251 60-5722
+49 5251 60-3244

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