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NIM nanosystems initiative munich

Targeting cancer cells with sugars

Nanocarriers binding the mannose receptor. Picture: C Hohmann

Globally, cancer is the second leading cause of death, also because the efficiency of chemotherapeutics is inadequate due to poor delivery to the tumor. NIM scientist Prof Olivia Merkel and her team develop targeted nanocarrier systems to increase the delivery rates of therapeutic formulations and their specific uptake into the target cells.

Hendrik Dietz receives ERC Proof of Concept Grant

Professor Hendrik Dietz. Picture: TUM

The European Research Council awards the NIM biophysicist Prof Hendrik Dietz with an ERC Proof of Concept Grant. In this new project, he aims to develop a “Nanodevice” to measure the kinetic properties of molecular reactions using an inexpensive, simple and reliable device.

Optical “overtones” for solar cells

"Solar guitar". Picture: PhOG (LMU)

Analogous to a phenomenon known for music instruments when overtones of two different fundamental notes get into resonance, NIM scientists from LMU Munich have found a new effect regarding the optical excitation of charge carriers in a solar semiconductor. It could facilitate the use of infrared light, which is normally lost in solar devices.

Making patterns robust

Experimentally observed protein pattern. Picture: S Kretschmer (Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry)

Correct protein localization is crucial for many fundamental cellular processes. The NIM scientists Prof Erwin Frey and Prof Petra Schwille have now asked how to confer robustness against variations in protein concentrations on pattern formation mechanisms.

Sino-German Young Researcher Symposium in Munich

Nanocarrier formulation. Picture: C Hohmann

The Sino-German Young Researcher Symposium on “Nanopharmaceuticals: Drug Delivery in the Nanoscale” in Munich was organized by Dr Ulrich Lächelt (LMU) and Prof Rongqin Huang (Fudan University, Shanghai) to promote the scientific exchange between young scientists from China and Germany, working on new nanocarrier formulations and drug delivery.

Dynamics of microtubules

Molecular motors walking along a microtubule. Image: M. Rank/PRL

Filamentous polymers called microtubules play vital roles in chromosome segregation and molecular transport. NIM scientist Prof Erwin Frey and coworkers have now examined how microtubule lengths vary in response to changes in the availability of their protein components.

Feeling the tension: Cells contract the matrix to modify its stiffness

Human breast cancer cells (blue) inside a collagen fiber matrix (green). The cells contract to strongly pull on the fiber matrix. Picture: C. Broedersz

Living cells inside a tissue can pull on their environment. NIM biophysicist Prof Chase Broedersz and colleagues demonstrated that this cellular pulling dramatically enhances the stiffness of the surrounding matrix. They developed a new method - the Nonlinear Stress Interference Microscopy (NSIM) - to measure elastic interactions between cells and the extracellular matrix.

Dieter Braun receives ERC Advanced Grant

Professor Dieter Braun

The NIM scientist Prof Dieter Braun is exploring the Origins of Life. For his new research project on the “Mechanisms of emergence and replication of primary sequence information of life in the geothermic microfluidics of the early earth”, the biophysicist receives an ERC Advanced Grant worth 2.5 million euro.

Bacterial adhesion in vitro and in silico

This figure shows how the staphylococcal adhesion protein (in green) interacts with its cognate peptide ligand (red). Picture: H. Gaub

Researchers around the NIM scientist Prof Hermann Gaub have characterized the physical mechanism that enables a widespread bacterial pathogen to adhere to the tissues of its human host.

Müller-Buschbaum is the new Scientific Director of the FRM II

Professor Peter Müller-Buschbaum

NIM scientist Prof Müller-Buschbaum will be the new scientific director of the worldwide most powerful neutron research facility FRM II in Garching as from 1 April 2018.

Leibniz Gründerpreis 2018 for Heinrich Leonhardt

Prof. Heinrich Leonhardt, Dr. Jonas Helma-Smets, Dr. Dominik Schumacher, Prof. Christian Hackenberger (left to right). Picture: C. Bleese

The Start-up company "Tubulis Technologies" receives the Leibniz-Gründerpreis 2018. NIM scientist Prof Heinrich Leonhardt is one of the founders und supports the company developing new antibody-drug conjugates for the specific treatment of tumors.

Peter Hänggi receives the Blaise Pascal Medal in Physics

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Peter Hänggi

In recognition of his pioneering and lasting contributions on the beneficial role of fluctuations in statistical mechanics in and away from thermal equilibrium, NIM scientist Prof Dr Dr h.c. mult. Peter Hänggi receives the Blaise Pascal Medal in Physics 2018 awarded by the European Academy of Science.

Brown adipose tissue made transparent

The new laser method MSOT represents brown fat. Picture: G Diot (TUM)

Brown adipose tissue has played a key role in prevention research since its presence was first documented in adults. However, there was no non-invasive method of measuring its heat generation. NIM scientist Prof Vasilis Ntziachristos and his team now succeeded in making the activity of brown adipose tissue visible without injecting substances.

How exact is my nanoruler?

Schematic of a nano ruler with DNA-coupled fluorescent dyes (red) on a DNA origami square (grey). The bright double signal on the black background presents highly resolved images of nanostructures acquired by super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. Picture: M Raab.

The development and evaluation of DNA origami-based nanorulers enables measurements in the nano cosmos with increasing precision. NIM scientist Prof Dr Philip Tinnefeld and his team explore such self-assembled nano structures.

The paradoxical role of turbulence

Schematic representation of Min protein patterns at the transition into the chaotic regime. Red dots are unstable local equilibriums. Picture: F Brauns (LMU)

The formation of self-organizing molecular patterns in cells is a critical component of many biological processes. NIM researcher Prof Dr Erwin Frey and a PhD student have proposed a new theory to explain how such patterns emerge in complex natural systems.

Collective disentanglement of entangled polymers

NIM physicist Prof Dr Erwin Frey and a colleague have disproven the conventional theory used to explain the dynamics of polymer solutions. They show that for biopolymers collective effects facilitate chain mobility, which is reminiscent of the behavior of glass-like materials.

Light-steering of spin-polarized currents in topological insulators

Helicity-dependent edge conductance. Picture: A Holleitner

Spin-polarization occurs as soon as an electric current flows in the topologic insulator material. Prof Dr Alexander Holleitner and his cooperation partners measured this for the first time optically at room temperature. In particular, they succeeded to steer spin-polarized currents towards the edges by a circularly polarized light beam and to read out the electron spin-polarization at the circuits facets.

Piecework at the nano assembly line

Electric fields drive the rotating nano-crane – 100,000 times faster than previous methods. Picture: E Kopperger

Nanobots are now fast enough to do assembly line work in molecular factories. NIM Scientists Prof Friedrich Simmel and Prof Don C Lamb and colleagues have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. It allows molecular machines to move a hundred thousand times faster than with the biochemical processes used to date.

Progenitors of the living world

The basic constituents of the earliest RNA molecules may have formed in a geothermal environment, such that seen here in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Picture: fotolia/Allen

RNA was probably the first informational molecule. Now NIM chemist Prof Dr Thomas Carell and his team have demonstrated that alternation of wet and dry conditions could have sufficed to drive the prebiotic synthesis of the RNA nucleosides found in all domains of life.

New generation of ultrathin humidity sensors

Photonic crystals as ultrathin humidity sensors. Picture: K. Szendrei-Temesi

Photonic crystals comprising very few layers of 2D-nanosheets and nanoparticles or two alternating nanosheet materials represent a new generation of ultrathin humidity sensors. NIM chemist Prof Dr Bettina Lotsch and her team have developed functional colorimetric sensing materials with increased sensitivity, better optical quality and reduced production cost.

Quantum Hall Physics in 4D

Illustration of a hypothetical device for studying the quantum Hall effect in 4D systems. Picture: LMU/MPQ

Prof Dr Immanuel Bloch, NIM scientist at LMU and Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and his research group implement a dynamical version of the 4D quantum Hall effect with ultracold atoms in an optical superlattice potential.

How do bacteria adapt?

Bacterial cultures fed with a changing supply of nutrients. Picture: J. Wiedersich

A fundamental prerequisite for life on earth is the ability of living organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Physicists have now determined that the regulation mechanisms used by bacteria to adapt are based on a global control process that can be described in a single equation.

ERC Consolidator Grants (TUM)

F Pollmann (left) and G Koblmüller (right). Picture: NIM

Two new research projects proposed by the NIM scientists PD Dr Gregor Koblmüller and Prof Dr Frank Pollmann of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) were impressive enough to be awarded Consolidator Grants by the European Research Council (ERC) this year.

Photocatalysis without noble metals

H2 evolution with COF-based photocatalyst and cobaloxime. Picture: T. Banerjee

This first noble metal-free covalent organic framework (COF)-based photocatalytic system uses cobaloximes instead of metallic platinum as the hydrogen evolution electrocatalyst. NIM scientist Prof Bettina Lotsch and her team have developed a new COF-based system for sustainable fuel generation from water by photocatalysis.

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

Artist’s view of global teleportation of quantum bits. Picture: C. Hohmann, NIM

Long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network were achieved by the NIM scientist Prof Gerhard Rempe and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics.

DNA origami surpasses important thresholds

As big as a virus capsid: dodecahedron constructed from DNA origami building blocks by self-assembly. Picture: H Dietz

The technique of DNA origami has not only broken out of the nanometer realm to build larger objects, but has also cut the production costs a thousand-fold. These innovations of NIM biophysicist Prof Hendrik Dietz open a whole new frontier for the technology.

ERC Consolidator Grants (LMU)

A. Högele (left) and L. Pollet (right). Picture: NIM

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the award of the NIM scientists Prof Alexander Högele and Prof Lode Pollet with generously endowed ERC Consolidator Grants over a period of five years. Notably, both have previously received ERC Starting Grants from the ERC.

It´s a matter of gradients

Thermal energy forms pH gradient. Picture: C. Mast

Thermophoresis for the energy supply of early cells. NIM scientist Dr Christof Mast and his team suggest thermally driven formation of pH gradients and proton flux as source of chemical energy conversion in early stages of life.

17th Münchner Wissenschaftstage

Young scientists. Picture: I. Almstätter

“Shaping the future with Nano” was the topic of the Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM) and the Center for Nanoscience (CeNS) joint stand on the 17th Münchner Wissenschaftstage. General subject of this year´s event was – “Future plans – research, society, mankind”.

Pushing the limit

New quantum detector. Picture: F. Reinhard

Applying spin-based quantum sensors, a new detector protocol was developed by the NIM scientist Dr Friedemann Reinhard and his team. Compared to state-of-the-art detectors, considerably higher frequencies can be detected, potentially even single photons and phonons.

Viral or bacterial? New test for infections

Student team at the iGEM-competition in Cambridge (USA). Photo: iGEM-Team

Increasing antibiotic resistance is a global menace. In order to avoid unnecessary antibiotic medication, Munich students have developed a test system that can efficiently differentiate between bacterial and viral infections. At the international iGEM competition they were honored as 1st Runner Up in the category "overgraduate".

Location, location, location!

Cuvette with blue-luminescent carbon dots. Picture: S. Bhattacharyya

The optical and photocatalytic properties of so-called carbon dots can be precisely tuned by controlling the positions of nitrogen atoms introduced into their structure. The NIM scientists Prof Dr Jochen Feldmann and Dr Alexander Urban examine applications of those C-dots.

Ernst Wagner is member of the European Academy of Sciences

Wagner´s lecture. Picture: EurASc

With a lecture on the “Chemical evolution of carriers for use in nanomedicine” Prof Ernst Wagner presented insights into his research to the members of the European Academy of Sciences. We are proud to announce that he is one of the 2017 newly elected members of the society!

New flexibility

Pentacen semiconductor film. Picture: B. Nickel

Flexible graphene semiconductor films in photovoltaic devices and screens – the EU fosters the development with an 847.000 Euro grant. The NIM scientist Dr Bert Nickel collaborates with Prof Andrey Turchanin, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, on this EU Graphene Flagship.

Solar Fuels

SolTech participants. Picture: NIM

NIM scientists and worldwide experts vividly discussed about the future of solar energy and application possibilities at the 6th SolTech Conference in Munich.

Diffusion 2.0

Corrugated channel model. Picture: P. Hänggi

The theory about particle transport through ionic channels and nanopores needs to be rewritten. NIM scientist Prof Peter Hänggi and his team prove their breakthrough research with simulations and experiments on particle diffusion in channel models.

Shrinking the proton again

Laser spectroscopy. Picture: MPQ

High precision laser spectroscopy analysis of atomic hydrogen confirmed the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen. This was proven by the NIM Prof Theodor Hänsch and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching.

Fluctuating conditions favor cooperation

Picture: hiloi / fotolia.com

Cooperative interactions favor the survival of bacterial populations living on variable resources. This was shown by simulations of the NIM scientist Prof Dr Erwin Frey and colleagues, for the first time considering both, environmental and demographic fluctuations.

Award for innovative tumor therapy

Winning team (H. Leonhardt: center). Picture: www.bio-m.org

The NIM scientist Prof Heinrich Leonhardt and colleagues from LMU Munich and from Berlin have won the "m4 award" of the Free State of Bavaria. The researchers received the prize for their project "Tubulis Therapeutics", next generation antibody conjugates for tumor cell-specific drug delivery.

Successful NIM NanoDay

Already shortly after the opening of the NIM NanoDay on 10 September 2017 the Lichthof of the LMU was bustling with visitors. The young NIM scientists enthusiastically presented their research, people were enjoying scientific talks and physics comedy and the offered lab visits were completely booked and a great success.

Monday, 04 June, 2018

Solution synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles for interfacial contact…

Prof Dr Julia W P Hsu, Materials Science and Engineering Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), USA


Monday, 14 May, 2018

Mannose and Mannose-6-Phosphate Receptor-targeted Drug Delivery Systems…

Adv Health Mat 2018, doi:10.1002/adhm.201701398



Regular seminars and lectures for NIM graduate students:


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