News from the Physics Department
The virus trap
2021-07-15 – To date, there are no effective antidotes against most virus infections. An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now developed a new approach: they engulf and neutralize viruses with nano-capsules tailored from genetic material using the DNA origami method. The strategy has already been tested against hepatitis and adeno-associated viruses in cell cultures. It may also prove successful against corona viruses.
Fighting viral infections with engulfing nano-shells
2020-07-22 – Instead of targeting virus-specific proteins or enzymes by small molecules as done by current antivirals, researchers of the EU-funded VIROFIGHT project will develop nano-shells that are supposed to engulf and neutralize entire viruses. This novel approach has the potential to help fight multiple diseases caused by viruses such as COVID-19, HIV infection, influenza, and Hepatitis B with one and the same approach.
Tiny technologies with enormous impact
2018-09-14 – The TEDx conference stands for short presentations that are attended online by millions of people worldwide. Since 2014, this format is also offered at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). TedxTUM is organized on a voluntary basis by students. The first presentations of this year’s event on “Tiny Superpowers” on 24 July are now available online. One of them is by Prof. Hendrik Dietz from our Physics Department.
2018-05-07 – Pore-forming toxins are common bacterial poisons. They attack organisms by introducing holes in cell membranes. A team of scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now unraveled the mechanism of action for one of these toxins. The findings could help combat associated diseases and advance crop protection.
EU funding for pioneering projects
2018-04-19 – The properties of quantum matter and an as yet unproven form of decay that atomic nuclei undergo: this are the topics of two projects at TUM’s Physics Department that receive highly endowed Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC). Another project about biological nanodevices is supported by an “Proof of Concept Grant”.
DNA origami surpasses important thresholds
2017-12-07 – It is the double strands of our genes that make them so strong. Using a technique known as DNA origami, biophysicist Hendrik Dietz has been building nanometer-scale objects for several years at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Now Dietz and his team have not only broken out of the nanometer realm to build larger objects, but have also cut the production costs a thousand-fold. These innovations open a whole new frontier for the technology.
TUM and MPG strengthen their partnership to promote young scientists
2017-09-04 – Starting in 2018 the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max Planck Society (MPG) will join several partners to break new ground: at the Max Planck School “Physics, Chemistry and Construction of Life”, selected university students and Doctoral candidates will be taught by Germany’s best researchers in order to research the basic principles of living systems.
Designer proteins fold DNA
2017-03-24 – Florian Praetorius and Prof. Hendrik Dietz of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins. The method opens new opportunities for fundamental research in cell biology and for applications in biotechnology and medicine.
Two further ERC grants at the Phyik-Department
2016-12-23 – Each year, the European Research Council (ERC) bestows funding grants for a selection of research projects across the continent. For the 2016 call, two projects from the Physik-Department of TUM have been selected. The highly endowed ERC grants count among Europe’s most prestigious research funding awards. This year’s projects as “Consolidator Grant” and “Proof of Concept Grant” carry out research in the field of biophysics.
Measuring forces in the DNA molecule
2016-09-12 – DNA, our genetic material, normally has the structure of a twisted rope ladder. Experts call this structure a double helix. Among other things, it is stabilized by stacking forces between base pairs. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have succeeded at measuring these forces for the very first time on the level of single base pairs. This new knowledge could help to construct precise molecular machines out of DNA. The researchers published their findings in the journal “Science”.
Nanoscale rotor and gripper push DNA origami to new limits
2016-03-04 – Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have built two new nanoscale machines with moving parts, using DNA as a programmable, self-assembling construction material. In the journal Science Advances, they describe a rotor mechanism formed from interlocking 3-D DNA components. Another recent paper, in Nature Nanotechnology, reported a hinged molecular manipulator, also made from DNA. These are just the latest steps in a campaign to transform so-called “DNA origami” into an industrially useful, commercially viable technology.