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NIM nanosystems initiative munich
Biomolecular Nanosystems

Area 4 - Biomolecular Nanosystems

Principal Investigators:

TUM A. Bausch, H. Dietz, U. Gerland, M. Rief, F. Simmel
LMU D. Braun, C. Broedersz, T. Carell, E. Frey, H. Gaub, D. Lamb, H. Leonhardt, T. Liedl, J. Lipfert, T. Lohmüller, J. Rädler, P. Schwille

Biomolecular nanosystems - Research at NIM

In Research Area IV, the scientists study nanosystems that contain structures based on biomolecules. The goal is to understand and reconstruct natural biological systems and to design artificial systems possessing defined functionalities. These range from single biomolecules through molecular systems, enzyme complexes such as RNA polymerase or cellulosomes, to cell-like compartments. Theoretical modeling and numeric simulations supplement the experimental studies.

NIM’s expertise in single-molecule analysis is unique in the world. It enables the scientists to measure and control precisely the interaction between molecules as well as the dynamics of individual molecules. Aided by the so-called DNA origami technique, they also construct and study larger synthetic units such as protein analogs or molecular motors. Here, the building material is provided by strands of DNA that self-assemble into a preprogrammed shape. These two- or three-dimensional structures moreover can serve as scaffolds for other molecules or as drug delivery containers in nanomedicine.

Artificial “minimal cell” systems are intended for use in studying the principles of cellular self-assembly in a clearly defined environment. With the help of a kind of artificial “primordial cell,” the scientists at NIM are investigating, among other things, basic functions during cell division, the assembly of cytoskeletal structures as well as simple biochemical protein networks with a role in template formation and elementary signal processing.

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