Technologies to detect and monitor molecules and molecular processes with single-molecule resolution are revolutionizing the control over and understanding of bio-molecules and bio-materials. Furthermore, such technologies will enable medical in-vitro diagnostics with unprecedented sensitivity, specificity and accuracy.
In the MBx group we develop technologies to detect proteins and study protein function with single-molecule resolution in complex macromolecular environments such as blood plasma or living cells. We investigate biophysical manipulation and detection methods with emphasis on the use of small particles, in particular magnetic and plasmonic nanoparticles. These particles offer the possibility to actively transport biological materials and to detect the presence and properties of specific targets. The capability to probe individual molecules allows us to reveal novel characteristics of the molecules, e.g. distributions of molecular properties (such as affinity or kinetic parameters, variations in space and/or in time). Moreover, it allows us to study properties that are difficult or even impossible to measure on ensembles of molecules, e.g. molecular torsion constants. The research leads to novel biosensing technologies and to a better understanding of protein function within complex and crowded environments.