Biological membranes are fascinating composites of lipids, proteins and sugars. Our aim is to understand how the molecular components self-organize into meso-scale complexes that control processes as adhesion, polarization, signaling / sensing, which underlie morphogenesis of cells and tissues.
To this end, we pursue a mutli-scale approach:
(1) Supra-Molecular-Organization of Membrane Complexes in Cells and Tissues
We use and develop super-resolution STED microscopy in combination with 3D tissue culture to study how molecules organize into functional meso-scale structures. Currently we are working on the Apical Junction Complex.
(2) Reconstitution of Membrane Complexes by Molecular Self-Organization in vitro
We purify key organizing proteins to re-assemble complex structures and functions in controlled in vitro membrane systems. We are particularly interested in collective processes such as phase transitions / separation and active feedback systems.
(3) Control of Morphogenesis in Epithelial Organoids
We aim to apply and test the molecular and mesoscale self-organization principles during the morphogenesis of stem cell derived organoids. We especially focus on the interplay of cell adhesion, cortical mechanics and cell differentiation.