Cellular Biophysics, Membrane Structure and Signaling, Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy, Magnetogenetics, Magnetothermal Stimulation, Nanoscale Heat Transport
My interests are the physics of cellular communication and morphology. We focus on two areas: the structure and dynamics of the cell surface in health and disease; and remote communication with neurons deep inside the brain. The cell surface is the communication gateway for cells, and its intrinsic structure is important for many processes, such as the immune response, cancer, organ development and cellular communication. External factors such as fever, adjuvants in vaccines, anesthetics, cholesterol changes throughout life, surface strain and mechanics affect the cell surface while the cell regulates it.We study why and how, under physiological conditions, cells spend energy to keep the structure in non-equilibrium conditions.For this, we use and develop ultra-resolution methods (camera based Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (bimFCS), TIRF, Single Molecule, Optical Trapping) in combination with computer simulations of the system.
Molecular Temperature Measurements
Behavior and emotions are control of by signaling networks deep inside the brain. Our group has developed magnetogenetics, the magneto-thermal stimulation and silencing of specific neuronal circuits inside the brain of awake, moving animals. To achieves this, the neurons are temperature sensitized using an appropriate ion-channel and superparamagnetic nanoparticles are delivered to their cell surface. Then applying an alternating magnetic field heats those nanoparticles, causing the channels to activate or silence, respectively, the neurons. Using this method, we study brain circuitry, develop new silencing modalities, and investigate the temperature dependence of neuronal function. In addition, we study nanoscale heat-transport and magnetic nanoparticle heating.