Membranes constitute the highly active partition between living cells and the outside world. They regulate molecular transport, cell adhesion and intercellular signaling. A detailed understanding - and control - of the many biological processes that occur at the membrane surface, such as viral infection and targeted drug delivery, requires insights at the molecular level. Recent developments in experimental techniques have opened avenues for the study of intermolecular interactions and chemical processes at surfaces and interfaces with unprecedented time and spatial resolution, without the need for (fluorescent) labels. We employ Sum Frequency Generation (SFG) and Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) microscopy to address important issues in biological (model) membranes. We investigate, for instance, the structure and dynamics of membrane-bound water, and the interplay of water, lipids and membrane proteins required for membrane function.
In particular, concerning "biomolecules", the department is interested in the following topics:
- interaction of peptides/proteins with polymeric surfaces (Gonella, Meister, Parekh)
- interaction of peptides/proteins with membranes (Backus, Gonella, Meister)
- behavior of peptides as surfactants (Gonella, Meister)
- proteins at charged surfaces (Backus, Domke, Gonella, Meister)
- structure, dynamics, and interaction of/with biomolecules (Backus, Gonella, Grechko, Hunger, Meister, Parekh)
Together with other MPI-P groups, we are researching the central research topics "Proteins at Interfaces", "Non-equilibrium structure formation", "Multiscale challenges" and "Nanomaterials in Medicine"