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Two CMCB graduates awarded with 2020 Georg-Helm prize


TU Dresden has recently announced four winners of the 2020 Georg-Helm award. Two of them are Dr. Lara Marrone and Sarah Naomi Bolz - graduates from the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB).

“I am pleased I was recognized for my efforts to work out the intricate processes underlying motor neuron disease,” says Dr. Lara Marrone who received the 2020 Georg-Helm award for her PhD thesis. Lara studied the molecular mechanisms leading to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). “ALS is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder. The development of ALS has been linked to multiple mechanisms, making it challenging to find its primary cause,” explains Lara. She studied a protein called Fused in Sarcoma (FUS), which is mutated in a subgroup of ALS cases. She observed that mutations in FUS altered the behavior of this protein and other ALS-associated proteins as the result of a chain reaction. This highlighted a potential link between different subtypes of ALS that were previously considered to be independent of each other. As part of her thesis, she examined a collection of compounds for their ability to eliminate the misbehaving FUS protein. Lara found a class of drugs which were able to remedy the disease. “My work showed that enhancing the clearance of pathological proteins, such as FUS, could be a promising therapeutic strategy,” says Lara.
Lara completed her PhD work in the group of Dr. Jared Sterneckert at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) at TU Dresden. “The CRTD and CMCB offered a vibrant and stimulating environment. Here, I acquired solid expertise, confidence, and scientific independence, which led me to continue my commitment to academic research in the field of motor neuron disorders. I am now at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN, UK), where I am engaged in developing gene therapeutic approaches for a neuromuscular disorder related to ALS.”

Another Georg-Helm prize went to Sarah Naomi Bolz for her Master’s thesis completed in Prof. Michael Schroeder group at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC). “I won’t lie if I say that my Master’s thesis was a life-changing experience. I decided to join a computational biology group without having previous computer science background. It was challenging but actually led me to discover a passion for bioinformatics. I see it as a perfect combination of biology, logic, and creativity. I decided to follow in this direction. After completing my Master’s thesis I started working on my PhD in computational biology,” says Sarah.
Sarah’s work focused on challenges connected to drug discovery. When testing for new therapeutic compounds scientists often record false positive hits, i.e., find compounds that appear as if they worked but upon closer examination do not. “Such compounds are called pan-assay interference compounds or just PAINS. The exact mechanisms of how PAINS are able to fool scientists are not known,” explains Sarah. She examined different collections of structural data and analyzed the interactions between PAINS and proteins. She characterized binding modes of PAINS-defining substructures and found that they can bind proteins in a variety of different ways. “My work let us know a little bit more about the mechanisms of promiscuous binding of PAINS and possibly other, similar compounds”, says Sarah.

"Congratulations to the winners! We are very proud of them and wish them continued success and a successful continuation of their scientific careers", says Prof. Stefan Diez, Managing Director of the CMCB.

The Georg Helm Prize was established in 1995 by the Verein zur Förderung von Studierenden der Technischen Universität Dresden e.V. The prize is awarded annually for outstanding doctoral, master's, and diploma theses. The winners receive a prize of 2,500 euros and a medal made of Meissen porcelain. Due to COVID-19-related restrictions, the 2020 award ceremony was postponed to 2021.

Dr. Lara Marrone (left) and Sarah Naomi Bolz (right)
@ Lara Marrone / Magdalena Gonciarz

JEDI Billion Molecules against Covid19 GrandChallenge: Dresden team advances to the testing phase


The Dresden team of researchers from the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of TU Dresden and PharmAI is one of the final teams selected for the next stage of the JEDI Billion Molecules against Covid19 GrandChallenge. 107 compounds submitted by the Dresden team are in the pool of 1200 compounds that will be tested for their potential to block SARS-CoV-2 virus. The compounds will be produced in the next weeks and the tests will begin in 2021.

The Dresden team is led by Prof. Michael Schroeder from the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of TU Dresden and Dr. Joachim Haupt from PharmAI, BIOTEC spin-off company.  “We are very excited to hear that a good part of the compounds our team submitted to the JEDI GrandChallenge was selected for the next testing phase. We have dedicated years of research to establish cutting-edge algorithms for drug development and we are pleased that we could employ our DiscoveryEngine to the search for COVID-19 drugs,” says Prof. Schroeder.

The DiscoveryEngine is a virtual screening software developed at BIOTEC. It is at the heart of the PharmAI spin-off company. It analyzes the information hidden in the structures of proteins and molecules and identifies compounds that can effectively act against a particular disease. It is a fast and accurate engine for drug development and potentially an excellent tool in the ongoing search for the COVID-19 therapy.

The JEDI Billion Molecules against Covid19 GrandChallenge started in May 2020 as a global and collaborative effort to identify new drugs for COVID-19 in the fastest possible way. An estimated 54 billion molecules were screened using different computational approaches by more than 130 teams from institutions and companies around the world. Based on these results, the JEDI Scientific Committee used several computational approaches to sort the list of provided compounds. They eliminated the duplicated molecules and selected 1200 most promising predictions. The compounds which made it to this “ultimate list” will be synthesized and used in cell assays to test their ability to suppress SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Artistic representation of the compounds screened by the DiscoveryEngine ©PharmAI

María Teresa Pisabarro appointed as “Außerplanmäßige Professorin” (APL) at the TU Dresden


Research group leader María Teresa Pisabarro was appointed as an “außerplanmäßige Professorin” of CMCB/BIOTEC, TU Dresden. Professor Pisabarro is an expert in structural computational biology. Her research group develops and uses state-of-the-art computational approaches to investigate structure and function of macromolecules for rational engineering and de novo design. The title comes as a recognition for many years of outstanding research and teaching performance.

María Teresa Pisabarro and her research group take advantage of the existing knowledge on the relationship between the structure and function of biomacromolecules to predict and intervene with the molecular interactions of proteins, DNA, sugars, and small molecules. The researchers in the Pisabarro group are experts in applying structure-based computational approaches to rationally engineer molecules for a variety of biotechnological and pharmacological applications. That means designing new molecules from scratch (de novo design) equipping them with customized properties or modifying existing ones to improve or change their function. The group works in close cooperation with experimentalists from different scientific disciplines.

Professor Pisabarro is one of the lecturers in the “Molecular Bioengineering” and the “Nanobiophysics” Master’s programs, which are carried out by the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB), TU Dresden. She is responsible for the Structural and Computational Biology lecture course and gives lectures in the Proteomics and Protein Engineering courses.

"Mayte has done an outstanding work in structural bioinformatics. She continuously pursued her line of research and collaborated with many high-profile research groups. This title recognizes her contribution to science and the community. We are looking forward to the years of research and teaching ahead," said Prof. Michael Schroeder, managing director of the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC).

María Teresa Pisabarro studied pharmacology at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. She completed her PhD in structural and computational biology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Her thesis work was funded by a prestigious PhD fellowship from Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the EMBL and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), USA. In 1998 she became a group leader in protein engineering at Genentech Inc. She moved to Dresden in 2002, joining Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) as a visiting scientist. Since 2004 she leads the structural bioinformatics research group at the BIOTEC.

BIOTEC welcomes Professor Henrik Bringmann and his research group


Henrik Bringmann starts as a Professor at the BIOTEC, TU Dresden on the 1st of November. His group “Cellular Circuits and Systems” focuses on the molecular mechanisms behind sleep.

Sleep is essential for animal and human life. It is surprising then how little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying sleep. With sleep disorders being increasingly common in industrialized societies and leading to great medical and economic burden, it is crucial to deepen our understanding of sleep to develop new treatments. Professor Bringmann and his research group want to understand the sleep mechanisms and sleep functions that promote health and well-being. Their research focuses on the sleep of mice and the nematode C. elegans. “C. elegans is the simplest animal model that sleeps. Therefore it is the easiest and most accessible for research. However, human sleep is more complex than sleep in C. elegans. Mice sleep in ways more similar to us and therefore we also investigate sleep mechanisms in mice. This way we can better translate our findings going from C. elegans to mice and then, potentially, to humans,” explains Professor Bringmann.

For Professor Bringmann moving to Dresden is actually a comeback. He completed his doctorate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics  in Dresden in 2007. He then moved to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK for postdoctoral research. In 2009 he established his research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. During nearly a decade of research in Göttingen, the Bringmann group identified a key sleep neuron and key sleep genes in C. elegans. The group showed that these sleep genes also control sleep in mice and therefore are likely to do so for us, humans. In 2018 Dr. Bringmann was appointed Professor of Animal Physiology at the University of Marburg. During the time in Marburg, his group found a mechanism through which an EGFR signaling pathway increases sleep following stress as well as a neuronal circuit that switches on sleep when the animal is tired.

Funded by the ERC Starting Grant SLEEPCONTROL and the DFG, Professor Bringmann and his five group members are looking forward to becoming part of the BIOTEC and the greater family of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) at the TU Dresden.

Prof. Henrik Bringmann
© Magdalena Gonciarz

It’s all about the right balance


Collaborative work of research groups at the University of Würzburg and the TU Dresden has provided important new insights for cancer research. During cell division specific target proteins have to be turned over in a precisely regulated manner. To this end specialized enzymes label the target proteins with signaling molecules. However, the enzymes involved in this process can also label themselves, thus initiating their own degradation. In a multidisciplinary approach, the researchers identified a mechanism of how enzymes can protect themselves from such self-destruction and maintain sufficient concentrations in the cell. These results have been published in the latest issue of Science Signaling.

Vital functions of the multicellular organisms, such as growth, development, and tissue regeneration, depend on the precisely controlled division of cells. A failure in the underlying control mechanisms can lead to cancer. A team of researchers led by Dr. Sonja Lorenz from the Rudolf Virchow Center - Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging at the University of Würzburg and by Dr. Jörg Mansfeld from the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) at the Technical University of Dresden discovered a new mechanism that modulates cell division.

Ubiquitination – a central regulatory element
A critical step in cell division is the distribution of the genetic information evenly between the daughter cells. This process is controlled by a large protein complex, the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C), which labels proteins with a signaling molecule known as “ubiquitin”. The ubiquitin label functions essentially as a molecular postal code, targeting labeled proteins to the cellular protein degradation machinery. To allow for the efficient and precise labeling of target proteins, the APC/C works together with an ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, UBE2S. However, UBE2S also has the ability to modify itself with ubiquitin, thus initiating its own degradation. This ability applies to ubiquitination enzymes in general. “This raises the fundamental question of how ubiquitination enzymes find the right balance between labeling their targets and labeling themselves to ensure that sufficient quantities of the enzymes are available in the cell,” says Sonja Lorenz.

Read more: Press release

Surrealistic take on the enzyme UBE2S, which regulates its lifetime by switching between a monomeric and a dimeric state. © Anna Liess

EMM-Nano Master’s program secures funding for the next six years with over 4.5 million euros


TU Dresden and its partner universities secured a new funding round for the EMM-Nano Master’s Program. The funding starts on October 31 and will continue for six years. The money will support scholarships to attract non-EU students to study nanoscience and nanotechnology at the Master’s level at five European universities.

The Erasmus Mundus Master Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (EMM-Nano) program was first established in 2005. The program funds scholarships for non-EU students to complete their Master’s in nanoscience and nanotechnology in Europe. The students are spending their first year at the KU Leuven (Belgium), learning the fundamentals of nanoscience and nanotechnology. In the second year, the students move to one of the four partner universities, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Grenoble Alpes University (France), University of Barcelona (Spain), or the TU Dresden (Germany), to further specialize and complete the Master’s thesis research project. The students are awarded a joint diploma from KU Leuven and the partner university. With the new funding round, the universities will be able to host the students until the 2026.

BIOTEC, with its Molecular Bioengineering Master’s program, was the first institute at the TU Dresden to participate in the EMM-Nano program. Starting in 2007, it offered a specialization in Biophysics within the newly established Nanobiophysics Master’s program. The Nanobiophysics program is now offered by the central scientific unit Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) comprising of three scientifically independent institutes B CUBE, BIOTEC[MG1] , and CRTD. “We are most delighted about the continued funding which will allow to greet such superb and highly motivated international students also in the coming years,” says Stefan Diez, Managing Director of CMCB.

Since its beginning, the EMM-Nano program at the TU Dresden has expanded and now offers three different specializations. In 2016 the Faculty of Electrical Engineering started to offer Nanoelectronics under the Master’s program Nanoelectronic systems and in 2018 the Faculty of Physics started to offer the Organic and Molecular Electronics under the Master’s program Organic and Molecular Electronics.

© Magdalena Gonciarz

Engineers link brains to computers using 3D printed implants


Linking the human brain to a computer is usually only seen in science fiction, but now an international team of engineers and neuroscientists at the University of Sheffield (UK), St Petersburg State University (Russia) and Technische Universität Dresden (Germany) have harnessed the power of 3D printing to bring the technology one step closer to reality.

In a new study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team led by Professor Ivan Minev (BIOTEC, TU Dresden alumni now at the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, Sheffield) and Professor Pavel Musienko (St Petersburg State University), have developed a prototype neural implant that could be used to develop treatments for problems in the nervous system.

The neural implant has been used to stimulate the spinal cord of animal models with spinal cord injuries and now could be used to develop new treatments for human patients with paralysis. The proof of concept technology has been shown in the study to also fit well on the surface of a brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and muscles, hence opening possibilities in other neurological conditions.

Linking the human brain to a computer via a neural interface is an ambition for many researchers throughout the worlds of science, technology and medicine, with recent stories in the media highlighting efforts to develop the technology. However, innovation in the field is hampered by the huge costs and long development time it takes to produce prototypes - which are needed for exploring new treatments.

The technology promises great potential to bring new medical treatments for injuries to the nervous system based on a fusion of biology and electronics. The vision relies on implants that can sense and supply tiny electrical impulses in the brain and the nervous system.

The team has shown how 3D printing can be used to make prototype implants much quicker and in a more cost effective way in order to speed up research and development in the area. The implants can be easily adapted to target specific areas or problems within the nervous system.

Read more: Press release

20 years biotechnology initiative in Saxony


15,500 employees, an annual turnover of almost two billion euros, numerous companies and research institutes located mainly in Dresden and Leipzig, international courses of study and two clusters of excellence. The results of Saxony's biotechnology offensive launched in 2000 are impressive. Equipped with 200 million euros, the Free State of Saxony launched the life science locations Dresden and Leipzig. This is how the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) came into being, which has its home in the BioInnovation Center Dresden. With its originally six professorships and junior research groups it became the nucleus of biotechnological research at the TU Dresden.  

The aim of the BIOTEC was to combine state-of-the-art research approaches in molecular and cell biology with the traditionally strong engineering sciences in Dresden. Interdisciplinary research in order to make the latest life science findings quickly applicable became the mission of the BIOTEC, which since then has focused on the research areas of molecular cell and developmental biology, physical biology and bioinformatics. 

BIOTEC, which was opened in 2001 as a central scientific institution at the TU Dresden, has developed over the past 20 years into today's Campus Johannstadt with the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), founded in 2006, the Center for Molecular Bioengineering (B CUBE), founded in 2008, and the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB), created in 2016 as the umbrella organization for all three institutes.

Today, the biotech cluster met at the Life Sciences Forum Saxony at the CRTD of the TU Dresden to look back on 20 years of Saxony's biotechnology offensive and discuss the health technologies of the future together with Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer. "With its three specific international master's programs, the TU Dresden is attracting attention worldwide. Teaching is in English, seven out of ten of our CMCB Master students join TU Dresden from abroad. Many of them enrich our almost 50 biotechnological research groups after their graduation or become important network partners at other institutes or in industry. Thanks to its strong international networking and distinctive interdisciplinary research, the TU Dresden is able to attract additional top researchers, acquire extensive third-party funding and further stimulate the growth of the Saxon biotech cluster," explains Rector Prof. Ursula M. Staudinger.

Overall, the institutes of the Johannstadt Campus have had a lasting impact on the research profile line "Health Sciences, Biomedicine and Bioengineering" of the TU Dresden and, with their two clusters of excellence CRTD (funded from 2006 to 2019) and currently Physics of Life (PoL), have made a decisive contribution to the success of the university in the federal and state Excellence Initiative since 2012.

"With their research, the scientists of the CMCB make a significant contribution to the excellent and globally recognized development of the life sciences at the TU Dresden. Together with the non-university scientific institutions, the institutes form a strong and internationally competitive center for bioengineering with a broad scientific background ranging from molecular and cell biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, materials science to bioinformatics," says Staudinger.

Application-oriented research is a top priority at the Johannstadt Campus: "We live a unique culture here, characterized by intensive cooperation with scientists from the University Hospital and the Medical Faculty as well as many non-university institutions that have settled in Dresden in recent years," emphasizes Prof. Michael Schroeder, Director of the BIOTEC. These include the Max Planck Institute of molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, the Max Planck Institute of Physics of Complex Systems, the Center for Systems Biology Dresden, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the German Center for Diabetes Research, the Max Bergmann Center for Biomaterials Dresden, the National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology (OnkoRay) and various spin-off companies. "Several companies have already emerged from our laboratories and are in the process of bringing our research into application. Our cluster provides the best conditions for this knowledge transfer to continue to flourish and further strengthen us in teaching, research and industry," adds Prof. Michael Schroeder.

 Overview facts and figures:

·       2001: Foundation of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC)

·       2006: Foundation of DFG Research Center and Cluster of Excellence for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD)

·       2008: Foundation of B CUBE - Center for Molecular Bioengineering as Center for Innovation Competence (ZIK) by the initiative "Unternehmen Region" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

·       2016: Foundation of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) as an umbrella organization of the three institutes BIOTEC, CRTD and B CUBE with three international Master's programs and a common technology platform, such as the Dresden-concept Genome Center or the Biopolis Dresden Imaging Platform

·       2018: Foundation of the DFG Cluster of Excellence Physics of Life (POL)

·       Establishment of three international Master's programs (teaching entirely in English, proportion of international students around 70 percent:

- 2002: Molecular Bioengineering

- 2007: NanoBiophysics

- 2010: Regenerative Biology and Medicine

·       2020: 29 TUD professorships at the CMCB and PoL (some still in appointment), in addition 20 independent junior research groups

·       CMCB: about 500 employees, about 35 percent come from outside Germany from 30 different nations, everyday language English


Meet Julia, the 2020 DIGS-BB Fellow


The DIGS-BB Fellow Award 2020 went to Julia Vorhauser (Mansfeld Group, BIOTEC TU Dresden) and Laura Celotto (Brand Group, CRTD TU Dresden). The €2,000 award is given to the outstanding PhD students after completing their first year of doctoral work.
Julia agreed to answer a couple of questions to let us get to know her, and her research, better.

What are you working on, Julia?
I am trying to understand how cell division and redox balance are linked together. The cellular redox balance is driven by the production and removal of Reactive Oxygen Species. Dividing cells continuously change their intracellular redox balance, which in turn has been suggested to influence cell cycle progression. Although the mechanism for this regulation is still not clear, it seems that cancer cells are able to hijack it to promote uncontrolled cell division and tumor growth. In my PhD project, I am looking for components of the cell cycle machinery that are affected by the redox balance. By identifying such regulator proteins, I aim to reveal the link between cell cycle and redox balance, which can be a starting point to understand what could happen during cancer.

Have you always wanted to be a scientist?
In high school I wanted to become a medical doctor but when the time came I (un)fortunately did not pass the admissions test for the medical school. I was very upset. I decided to try the test again in a year but in the meantime I enrolled to study biology. It turned out that I enjoyed biology a lot and it fascinated me how complex and precisely regulated biological systems need to be in order to properly function. At the end of that year I decided not to take the exam again, and I never looked back.

What drives/motivates you?
In science people continuously ask questions that lead to discoveries. These discoveries in turn result in new questions. What drives me the most is knowing that my projects may reveal something new that could turn out to be a starting point for future studies. I like to feel part of a big scientific community where diverse people share their knowledge and everyone contributes to driving the science forward.

How do tumor cells divide in the crowd?


Scientists led by Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich, group leader at the Excellence Cluster Physics of Life (PoL) and the Biotechnology Center TU Dresden (BIOTEC) studied how cancer cells are able to divide in a crowded tumor tissue and connected it to the hallmark of cancer progression and metastasis, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT).

Most animal cells need to become spherical in order to divide. To achieve this round shape, the cells must round up and deform their neighboring cells. In a growing tumor tissue, the tumor cells need to divide in an environment that is becoming more crowded than the healthy tissue. This means that the dividing tumor cells likely need to generate much higher mechanical forces to round up in such a densely packed surrounding. Yet, tumor cells seem to be adapted to overcome these difficulties. Scientists led by Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich were curious how do the tumor cells gain this enhanced ability to deal with the crowded tumor environment?

The researchers found that the EMT could be one of the answers. What is it exactly? “EMT or epithelial-mesenchymal transition is a hallmark of cancer progression,” says Kamran Hosseini, PhD student who performed the experiments. It is a cell transformation during which tumor cells lose their asymmetric organization and detach from their neighbors, gaining the ability to migrate into other tissues. This, together with other factors, allows tumors to metastasize, i.e., move into the blood and lymphatic vessels and ultimately colonize other organs.

“So far, EMT has been mainly linked to this enhanced cell dissociation and cell migration. Our results suggest that EMT might also influence cancer cells by promoting successful rounding and cell division. These results point towards a completely new direction of how EMT could promote metastasis of carcinoma in the body,” explains Kamran Hosseini.

More information in the press release.

Studying in the time of pandemic


The Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) closed on March 13th, shortly before the start of the new semester, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. TU Dresden activated its emergency operations mode shortly after, on March 21st. Nevertheless, the teaching at CMCB continued.

The closing of the institutes came as a surprise to the students. “Nobody knew at first what the future of the Master’s courses is going to be. Is the semester going to be cancelled? Can we go home? How could we cover the living costs if the studies get extended?” says Catherine Cortés, student quality assurance (QA) coordinator for the Regenerative Biology and Medicine course.

After TU Dresden gave the green light for remote teaching, the students and teachers had to adapt to the new reality - one with virtual lectures, voice-over presentations, and online Q&A sessions. “The first few weeks went by just getting the hang of the video conferencing and keeping up with the schedule while being at home. But in the end, I have to say that it has been an amazing e-learning experience,” says Archana Sivaraman, the student QA coordinator for the Molecular Bioengineering course.

That does not mean that there were no challenges, quite the contrary! Many students decided to go back home. Some traveled back to Hamburg or Rostock but others to more distant locations such as India or Russia. That meant coordinating the teaching across several time zones.

“The lectures went pretty smoothly actually. The tutorials were a challenge though. It was quite difficult to have them as interactive as they normally are in person. For the lab courses, we mostly focused on the data analysis. That was also demanding without having first acquired the data during the actual lab work,” explains Ieva Austeja Jakaityte, the student QA coordinator for the Nanobiophysics course.

As Ieva mentioned, the laboratory work turned out to be the biggest challenge of all. The three Master’s courses are filled with practical lab work. On top of that, the students from the Regenerative Biology and Medicine course have to rotate in a different lab each semester. Even though the institutes reopened after eight weeks, there were still limitations for the students that stopped them from coming back to the labs. Some students decided to do lab rotations in their home countries. Others started later than usual and chose to continue working throughout the summer.

“This was indeed a very special semester with quite some challenges for students and lecturers,” said Prof. Dr. Marius Ader, CMCB Study Dean. “With the great support of the CMCB teaching team we managed to secure all lectures and lab rotations for the students, everyone showing a high degree in engagement, flexibility, and understanding!”

The first online semester is coming to an end. The students will take their remaining exams until the end of September. The CMCB teaching team already prepares for the winter semester. The next semester will most probably be a hybrid one, with a mixture of online and regular teaching and - of course - a new set of challenges to overcome.

© Magdalena Gonciarz

Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich wins 2020 DIPP Outstanding Mentor award


We are excited to share that this year’s Outstanding Mentor award presented by Dresden International PhD Program (DIPP) goes to Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich.

Kamran Hosseini is a PhD student who works with Elisabeth since 2017. He nominated her for the award. “Elisabeth is an ideal supervisor because of a very good balance that she provides. On one hand, she encourages me to take my own initiative while also making herself available for help and guidance whenever truly needed. What impressed me the most is her management style. She can perfectly judge the abilities of the lab members, bring us all together, and combine our expertise effectively to drive the project forward. I’m truly happy to be part of her group,” says Kamran.

Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich ©CRTD

The Outstanding Mentor award was introduced by DIPP students to honor the research group leaders who are exceptional in providing opportunities for learning and growth of their students. DIPP PhD students who nominate their group leaders have to answer 20 detailed questions concerning their group leader. The questions touch a variety of subjects such as career development, people management, project supervision, and team building. The responses are then evaluated by an award committee, consisting of DIPP student representatives, that makes the final choice. The Outstanding Mentor award comes in a form of a 3D-printed trophy.

The Dresden International PhD Program (DIPP) combines two powerful partners dedicated to first-class doctoral training at the frontier of science – the International Max Planck Research School for Cell, Developmental and Systems Biology (IMPRS-CellDevoSys) implemented by the Max Planck Society in 2001, and the Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering (DIGS-BB) awarded to the TU Dresden in the Excellence Initiative in 2006.

Go with the counter-rotating flow!


Counter-rotating flows drive cell movement during cell division

Every living organism grows from one single cell. During development, the one cell embryo undergoes numerous rounds of cell division to generate a fully functional organism. The embryo needs to position the newly dividing cells correctly to ensure that they are in contact with the right neighbor cells and receive the right signals. Only then they can properly develop and differentiate further.

The cell cortex - a layer of actin fibers and myosin motor proteins just below the cell membrane – is known to play an important role in cell positioning. The interaction of actin and myosin generates “tug-of-war like” forces which give rise to flows of the cell cortex. These flows in turn can reposition cells as they divide to form two daughter cells. However, prior to this study it was not clear how common cells are repositioned by these rotating flows.

Researchers from the group of Stephan Grill, director at the MPI-CBG, and affiliated to the Center for Systems Biology Dresden, the Cluster of Excellence 'Physics of Life' of the TU Dresden and the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden have now found that counter-rotating flows in the cortex of the Caenorhabditis elegans roundworm drive movement of specific, but not of all cells during development. In their work just published in eLife the scientists show that counter-rotating flows are only observed in cells undergoing symmetric cell divisions.

How can counter-rotating flows of the cell cortex reposition cells? Lokesh Pimpale, PhD student in the Grill lab, and first author of the study, explains, “Counter-rotating flow of the cell cortex turn a cell much like a bulldozer turns on the spot, by rotating both of its chains in opposite direction. We have discovered that the occurrence of counter-rotating flows is cell-lineage specific, meaning that only cells of the AB-lineage of the nematode worm undergoes counter-rotating flows and cell skews.”

By tracking cell positions the researchers then showed that counter-rotating flows drive the movement of symmetric cells throughout all stages of cell divisions and always results in a skewed cell arrangement. Stephan Grill, who supervised the work, adds “The actomyosin network generates the forces that drive development, and it can generate rotating movements of cells. We here show that these rotating movements and the resultant cell skews are much more prevalent than perhaps anticipated, and that they are under precise developmental control. This work is exciting because it reveals that intricate physical forces such as torques generated by counter-rotating flows are at work when an organism is shaped.”

Left: Schematic of a symmetrically dividing (AB - lineage) cell (top view) undergoing repositioning during cell division, Copyright: Lokesh Pimpale et al.; right: Schematic of a rotating bulldozer (side view), Copyright: source: openclipart.org by danjiro. Solid back arrows indicate the direction of counter-rotating flows (left picture) and counter-rotating chains (right picture) and dotted arrow represents the direction of movement.



Lokesh G Pimpale, Teije C Middelkoop, Alexander Mietke, Stephan W Grill: „Cell lineage-dependent chiral actomyosin flows drive cellular rearrangements in early C. elegans development“, eLife, 9 July, 2020, doi: 10.7554/eLife.54930

Looking for a needle in a haystack: TU Dresden's BIOTEC and its PharmAI spin-off analyse millions of active substances that could cure Covid-19


The goal: Identify new drugs for Covid-19 therapy in the fastest possible way, conduct clinical tests and win the battle against the virus.

The method: A large-scale research competition that screens billions of molecules in order to find those blocking interactions on SARS-CoV-2, identifying those that can be used therapeutically very quickly thanks to their existing FDA-approval.

The Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of TU Dresden with its bioinformatics group and the spin-off PharmAI GmbH participate in such a competition – the so-called JEDI Grand Challenge. Until tomorrow, proposals for active substances that have the potential to stop the activity and reproduction of the virus can be submitted. The Dresden team led by Prof. Michael Schroeder (BIOTEC) and Dr. Joachim Haupt (PharmAI) used proprietary screening algorithms to screen several drug libraries containing five million substances for candidates against Covid-19. They submitted three promising protein targets to The Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI).

Further information in the press release.

Welcome Dr. Anna Poetsch as new BIOTEC Research Group Leader


BIOTEC welcomes Dr. Anna Poetsch as a new research group leader. Her group "Biomedical Genomics" will focus on the development of mutations in cancer. Dr. Anna Poetsch is supported by the BIOTEC, the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC) and the Mildred Scheel Early Career Center Dresden. At the moment, the Poetsch group consists of two scientists and is currently recruiting for several new positions

Dr. Anna Poetsch has spent the last two years at the St. Anna Childhood Cancer Research Institute in Vienna, focusing her research on the development of mutations in children with cancer. Following her doctorate at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, she was a Research Fellow at the Francis Crick Institute / University College London and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology between 2013 and 2018. There she focused on computational biology studying the genomics of DNA damage and repair. She received her Master's degree from the University of Konstanz and the Japanese National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo.

"To date, the mechanisms leading to individual patterns of DNA damage and somatic mutations have been poorly explored. However, this information should be the basis of an individual cancer therapy. Using the latest sequencing techniques, we can now pave the way for personalised cancer therapy and allow for strategies reducing the treatment side effects on healthy cells of the patient," explains Dr. Anna Poetsch. Her research group employs computational techniques and machine learning approaches to assess and model DNA damage and repair processes, mutagenesis and genome editing to develop clinical applications. "We will work to understand this in the context of different cancer types and as a consequence to different treatment regimens tissue specifically. I am very much looking forward to the upcoming projects and the cooperation in the Dresden network of scientists and physicians in the fight against cancer.”

Further information:  http://www.biotec.tu-dresden.de/research/poetsch.html

Large proteins - large differences


BIOTEC study investigates the role of the largest nuclear proteins - MLL3 and MLL4 

International cancer genome sequencing projects discovered that the sister genes, MLL3 and MLL4, are mutated in almost every type of cancer at high frequencies. Despite their remarkably prominent association with malignant diseases, the essential roles of these genes in mammalian development has not been determined until now. Both genes originate from a gene duplication and are also related to the major leukemia gene, MLL1 and it’s sister MLL2. These genes encode epigenetic regulators involved in the maintenance of transcriptional activity. MLL3 and MLL4 are huge proteins, amongst the largest proteins described and easily the largest proteins found in the mammalian nucleus.

As now published in Development, the team led by Dr. Andrea Kranz and Prof. Francis Stewart report that both proteins play very different and very specific essential roles in mouse development. MLL3 is only essential for the final maturation of the lung at the very end of fetal development, which is required for the first breath of the newborn pup, whereas MLL4 is responsible for the formation of the second embryonic axis at the very beginning of mouse development. MLL4 is required for the cuboidal to squamous transition of the Anterior Visceral Endoderm (AVE) that precedes AVE migration to define the anterior to posterior embryonic axis.

“These are unexpected findings”, explains Dr. Kranz. “The extraordinary prevalence of MLL3 and MLL4 mutations in cancer implies that both genes play vital roles in most cell types. However, our knockout analysis identified an extremely precise role in just one specific cell type each. This is not consistent with their roles as general transcription factors as expected from other studies of epigenetic regulators. Together with the highly specific roles played by MLL1 and MLL2 revealed by our earlier studies, a thorough reappraisal of these important epigenetic regulators and their association to cancer development is required”.

The study completes a series of mouse knockouts to examine epigenetic regulators in mouse development by the Stewart and Anastassiadis labs at TU Dresden BIOTEC, Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden and the DRESDEN-concept Genome Center. It was financed by funds from the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Deutsche Krebshilfe and the Scholarship Program for the Promotion of Early-Career Female Scientists of Technische Universität Dresden.


Development: MLL4 is required after implantation whereas MLL3 becomes essential during late gestation“, authors: Deepthi Ashokkumar, Qinyu Zhang, Christian Much, Anita S. Bledau, Ronald Naumann, Dimitra Alexopoulou, Andreas Dahl, Neha Goveas, Jun Fu, Konstantinos Anastassiadis, A. Francis Stewart, Andrea Kranz

Healthy (left) and defect (right) embryos on day 6.5 of embryonic development. Note the differences in the epithelium. The image section marked with the white rectangle is enlarged on the right. © BIOTEC

What can liner shipping learn from brain network science?


Team of researchers from Germany and China unveils how the organization of global maritime transport networks impacts economy by using methods from brain network analysis.

Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci from TU Dresden’s Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) is focusing his research on network science applied to biological systems and neuroscience. At the Biomedical Cybernetics lab, he lead an translational study showing how network science computational theories effective for brain analysis can help to understand global shipping networks and their impact on world economy. The study was conducted together with maritime economy scientists from China, and has now been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Around 80 per cent of global trade by volume is transported by sea, and thus the connectivity network of the maritime transportation system is fundamental to the world economy and the functionality of its society. To better exploit new international shipping routes, the current ones need to be analysed: What are the principles behind their network organization? What mechanisms determine the complex system association with international trade? However, there is another complex system that, similarly to maritime transportation systems, links the navigability of its network structure and organization to its efficient performance in the environment. This complex system is: the brain. The motivation for this comparative and trans-disciplinary research came from the exchange during an international network science conference, followed by three years of collaborative work on the topic.

Further information in the press release.

Who takes the temperature in our cells? - Baker's yeast cells provide information on how organisms could cope with global warming and other altered environmental factors


The conditions in the environment are subject to large fluctuations. In Germany, for instance, temperatures can range from a freezing minus 20 degrees Celsius in the winter to a hot 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. Organisms that are unable to adapt to such temperature changes will not survive and thus will not pass on their genetic information to the next generation. In a world in which we are confronted with constantly rising average temperatures due to global warming, we must ask ourselves: How do organisms react to changing temperatures? What molecular mechanisms do they use?

Decades of research have shown that different organisms respond very similarly to temperature changes. When organisms are exposed to heat, their cells cease to grow, they shut down the production of housekeeping proteins that are required for growth and reproduction. Instead, they start to produce proteins that protect the cells from heat-related damage. In other words, the cell factory changes its protein production. However, it is not known how cells recognize heat stress and which mechanisms trigger the production change.

Baker's yeast as model organism

Scientists at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of the TU Dresden and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), together with partners in Heidelberg and Toronto, Canada, investigated these fundamental questions. They used a popular model organism in cell research: baker’s yeast as we know it from baking bread or brewing beer. This single-celled organism provides us with insights into the basic processes of life because it has almost the same composition as human and animal cells. If we understand the molecular processes within the yeast cell, we can also better understand the development of diseases in complex organisms such as humans.

Further information in the press release.

Welcome Dr. Anna Taubenberger as new Research Group Leader to BIOTEC


The engineer with a broad bio-medical background focuses on cancer mechanics

BIOTEC welcomes Dr. Anna Taubenberger as new research group leader. Her group "Oncomechanics" will study the mechanics of cancer cells and their surrounding tissue. Dr. Anna Taubenberger is supported by the BIOTEC and the Mildred Scheel Early Career Center Dresden, which enables clinician and medical scientists with a clinical relevant oncological research focus to establish their own research group. The Taubenberger group will be based at BIOTEC and will have close collaborations to research groups at the Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials and the University Hospital to promote an exchange between daily clinical needs and research to foster translation of research findings into clinical applications.

Dr. Anna Taubenberger has been associated with the BIOTEC and the TU Dresden as a postdoctoral fellow in the biophysics group of Prof. Jochen Guck's since 2013. Prior to this, she spent three years as PostDoc at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, doing research in the field of tissue engineering, developing cancer models to study breast cancer bone metastasis. She holds a Master's degree in Bioprocess Engineering and received her PhD from the Faculty of Engineering at TU Dresden in 2009 on the topic of quantifying adhesive interactions between cells and extracellular matrix by single-cell force spectroscopy.

Anna Taubenberger emphasizes: "With my group we will focus on the functional role of breast cancer cell mechanics on cancer cell growth, invasion and metastasis. Besides mechanical characterization of tumour samples, we will use engineered 3D in vitro models to systematically study the influence of microenvironment mechanics on cancer cell behaviour. These models also allow us to study the response of cancer cells to anti-cancer drugs in a more realistic way. In doing research at BIOTEC – with access to its great CMCB technology platform infrastructure – and close collaborations to the clinics we hope to contribute to new therapeutic cancer approaches."

Further information: https://tu-dresden.de/med/mf/msnz/kollegiaten/anna-taubenberger


How do our cells respond to stress? - Molecular biologists reverse-engineer a complex cellular structure that is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS


Cells are often exposed to stressful conditions that can be life threatening, such as high temperatures or toxins. Fortunately, our cells are masters of stress management with a powerful response program: they cease to grow, produce stress-protective factors, and form large structures, which are called stress granules. Scientists at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of the TU Dresden and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), together with partners in Heidelberg and St. Louis (USA) have investigated how these mysterious structures assemble and dissolve, and what may cause their transition into a pathological state as observed in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Their results were published in the renowned scientific journal Cell. More...

Support to fight the corona virus - Dresden research institutes help hospitals with material, expertise and equipment


35,000 pairs of disposable gloves, 200 respiratory protection masks, 100 mouth-nose-masks, 60 safety goggles and various protective suits – this donation was handed over earlier this week as immediate aid for Dresden hospitals by the scientists of the TU Dresden Johannstadt campus. The Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) with its research institutes B CUBE, BIOTEC and CRTD, as well as the Paul Langerhans Institute and the Buchholz-Lab of the Medical Faculty participated in the donation campaign that is organized by the alliances DRESDEN-concept und Biosaxony.

The scientists also directly support the Dresden University Hospital: They provided a specialized qPCR device that also can perform virus tests. Together with that tool, two CMCB experts support the corona core team at the University Hospital.

Our Girls' Day contribution with a difference - Live and on site was impossible in 2020, but we can share insights from a female scientist online


As a part of TU Dresden, we have been inviting science interested girls to the dedicated Girls' Day for years, introducing them to typical professions in the scientific world such as lab technician, postdoc and research group leader, experimenting with them in the labs and answering their questions about study opportunities at the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) at TU Dresden with its Master's programs Molecular Bioengineering, Nanobiophysics and Regenerative Biology and Medicine.

We had planned a varied programme for March 2020 and were looking forward to welcoming the girls. But like all other events, Girls' Day had to be cancelled due to the corona pandemic. So this year, the only way we can present one of our female scientists, who the girls would otherwise have experienced live, is by virtual means:

Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich, Research Group Leader at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) and Cluster of Excellence Physics of Life (PoL) at TU Dresden

Elisabeth, you wanted to introduce us to the cytoskeleton at Girls' Day. What is that?

The cytoskeleton is a polymer network that has a supporting function especially in animal cells including the human cells - similar to the skeleton in our body but within a single cell, hence, on a much smaller scale. Cytoskeleton polymers are chain-shaped molecules that are formed by the assembly of special cytoskeleton proteins. The cytoskeleton plays a major role in shaping the cell and, similar to a muscle, can itself generate forces that bring the cell into a specific shape. This is important for the correct functioning of a cell. In addition, the polymer strands of the cytoskeleton also serve as a kind of internal cell highway system - specialized molecules run along these cytoskeleton highways and transport other molecules from A to B.

How did you come across this research topic?

I am a physicist with a keen interest in biology and started working on biological systems during my PhD thesis. Force generation and mechanical properties are particularly exciting topics for physicists. Therefore I have been working in the field of cell mechanics since my postdoc. In this field of research, we investigate the material properties of cells. Of particular interest is the shape memory of cells and tissue and how forces are generated in them. These material properties are particularly relevant in biology when biological processes involve controlled cell shape changes, such as during embryonic development or simply during cell division. Specifically, we investigate whether cytoskeletal structures behave more like a liquid or a solid and how the molecular structure influences these properties.

You studied physics and also did your doctorate in this subject - what motivated you to do so, and did the low percentage of women in this subject somehow affected you?

I love to solve riddles and get to the bottom of things. That's why it was soon clear to me that I wanted to study a natural science. In physics I was also attracted by the mathematical part and the intellectual challenge. At first I had the idea of going into astronomy or cosmology. During my studies I got to know the relatively young field of biophysics and reoriented myself towards it.

Of course, you stand out as a female physics student, simply because there are relatively few of them. And that has sometimes given me the impression that I should prove myself to my fellow students. But teaching staff never put any obstacles in my way.

You have now been working in science for eleven years - what is it about research that appeals to you?

You can turn your own ideas into reality and be creative in research, and the work definitely has playful aspects. When things are going well, research feels like opening a surprise egg at the end of an exciting riddle. It is especially great when the content of the surprise egg is enthusiastically received by colleagues and applications arise, for example in the field of medicine.

Which of your experiences would you have loved to share with the students on Girls` Day?

On the one hand, I would have liked to tell the girls that I it was no problem for me to study a male-dominated discipline. And that I quickly got used to working primarily with men.

On the other hand, I would have shared that an academic career is a rocky road and is only suitable for those who are absolutely convinced. A researcher needs a high tolerance for frustration and a long breath. You also have to be prepared to work on temporary contracts for many years with an uncertain future, strong pressure to perform and high competition. Almost the only long-term positions are professorships, and these are rare - and the proportion of women here is very low, either.

In addition, the expectations of an academic career in Germany are very difficult to reconcile with parenthood and generally with social ties to other people. A constant willingness to move to other cities and countries is expected. In my opinion, it is precisely this aspect that often leads women to give up in science at some point.

My appeal to girls is: Show the world that women have something to offer. Have great ambitions in your life, even if it may not be put forward by people in your environment". You only have this one life - use it as an attempt to secure a place for yourself in the history books - there are already far too many male names in them.

Thank you, Elisabeth, for this insight into your career and your virtual advice from woman to woman. Let's hope that the exchange of experiences between female scientists and femal students will be possible again live and on site during the next Girls‘ Day on April 22, 2021. The Girls' Day website will provide updates.

BIOTEC remains temporarily closed - information regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2)


The University Executive Board and Crisis Management Team, in coordination with the state government, have decided to activate TU Dresden'€™s emergency operations mode.

TU-Dresden Covid-19 Information


Sugar can glow like a soap bubble - CMCB technology platform supports microscopy courses for children in newly inaugurated digital classroom


On February 5, 2020, one of the first digital classrooms for microscopy in Saxony was inaugurated. In the presence of State Secretary Andrea Franke from the Saxon State Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism and the Vice Rector for Education and International Affairs of TU Dresden, Prof. Hans Georg Krauthäuser, children started to use the new microscope facility. This project was led by the team of the Biopolis Dresden Imaging Platform, which also includes the Light Microscopy Core Facility of TU Dresden’s Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) technology platform.

"We want to pass on our enthusiasm for microscopy to children," says Dr. Ruth Hans, staff member of the Light Microscopy Facility, who - like many of her colleagues - gives microscopy courses for children several times a year on a voluntary basis. "We want to offer the kids something exciting, turn them into discoverers and thus win them over to science. Together with the children we answer questions such as 'Why can sugar glow like a soap bubble?', ‘How do cells from our mouth look like when stained with ink?' or 'What is the diameter of a hair?’. It is fascinating to see the children’s excitement about the experiments and how many questions they have after looking into the microscope."

Since 2017, the team is regularly teaching students at the Gymnasium Bürgerwiese – showing them, for example, the otherwise hidden microcosm of tardigrades in moss. This commitment convinced Carl Zeiss AG to donate a classroom set with 15 state-of-the-art microscopes. Each microscope has an integrated HD streaming camera and can be networked with smartphones or tablets. With that, children from all three different secondary school types will have access to powerful microscopy to actively increase their scientific knowledge. Here, physical, biological and chemical contexts can be demonstrated and understood within a few hours. At present, the project team still looks for financing options for the necessary personnel support.

Some more background: The Biopolis Dresden Imaging Platform currently consists of eleven facilities belonging to five different Dresden research institutions. These facilities combine their expertise for the benefit of Dresden scientists. With its approximately 100 instruments, including more than 40 large-scale research devices, the platform covers a broad spectrum of modern imaging technologies. The Biopolis Dresden Imaging Platform was established in 2012 with the support of the German Research Foundation. The project was led by Prof. Michael Brand and is now coordinated by the Light Microscopy Core Facility of the CMCB Technology Platform at TU Dresden.

Dr. Ruth Hans from CMCB Light Microscopy Core Facility introduces students to the world of microscopy  © CMCB

CMCB Light Microscopy Facility receives state-of-the-art microscopy system


A new large-scale research instrument is currently being installed in the Light Microscopy Facility (LMF) of TU Dresden´s CMCB technology platform. The laser scanning microscope of the latest generation was applied for in the tender "Novel experimental light microscopes for research" of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Groups from the Center for Regenerative Therapies (CRTD), the Biotechnology Centre (BIOTEC), the Center for Molecular Bioengineering (B CUBE), the Faculty of Biology and the Medical Faculty of the TU Dresden as well as the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden supported the application with scientific project descriptions. Out of 50 applications submitted in Germany, the DFG supports only 13 projects, including the large-scale instrument at CMCB.

"The new microscopy system offers state-of-the-art techniques for deep tissue and functional imaging as well as optogenetics. It enables fast fluorescence lifetime measurement after single or two photon excitation. This technology can be applied for the measurement of intracellular metabolites and the determination of variety of biophysical parameters within living cells and tissues," explains Dr. Hella Hartmann, head of the LMF and responsible for TU Dresden´s grant application. Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill acted as co-applicant.

The microscopy system - a Leica SP8 DIVE FALCON LIGHTNING system - is available in the LMF to all scientists on campus and beyond. The LMF is part of the CMCB technology platform, which offers TU Dresden researchers and external users state-of-the-art scientific equipment and services through eleven core facilities. The joint use of the research infrastructure and the availability of scientific expertise by the facility employees enable synergy effects, promote the transfer of knowledge and technology and serve the economic handling of resources within DRESDEN-concept alliance. The LMF is part of the Biopolis Dresden Imaging Platform (BioDIP), which is a project of DRESDEN-concept.

Frank Schreiner from Leica and Dr. Hella Hartmann from CMCB at TU Dresden installing the new microscopy system © Friederike Braun

TU Dresden team presents DipGene at Synthetic Biology’s largest innovation event


The student project DipGene developed a new methodology that makes genetic testing as easy as a pH-test. With their simple, cheap and low-tech method to test for the presence of any DNA sequence, they won a prestigious Gold Medal.

A student team of the TU Dresden successfully showcased their DipGene project at the annual iGEM Giant Jamboree, the synthetic biology’s largest innovation event, which is hosted by the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation. The Giant Jamboree is the culminating event of iGEM’s annual, worldwide, synthetic biology competition for students to use genetic engineering to solve local problems all around the world. The TU Dresden team was able to win a Gold Medal for their overall achievements.

TU Dresden team at the iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston © iGEM TU Dresden

Find here the complete press release.

Under pressure – The movement of cells mathematically explored


Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich from the Cluster of Excellence Physics of Life (PoL) and the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) at the TU Dresden and Prof. Sebastian Aland from the University of Applied Sciences Dresden (HTW) receive a three-year research grant of over 400,000 Euros from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The aim is the joint investigation of the "Viscoelastic Dynamics of the Cell Cortex" within a new DFG research group at the TU Dresden: "Vector- and Tensor-Valued Surface PDEs".

The research group is headed by Prof. Axel Voigt and will develop new approaches to solve partial differential equations (PDE) with computers. The focus will be on PDEs which are defined on curved surfaces and which describe vector- and tensor-valued quantities.  Such equations can for instance be used to model the shape evolution of cells.

Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich says: "The aim of the project is to develop a better understanding of the actin cortex, a cytoskeletal structure within animal cells.  In cell division, for example, the actin cortex is responsible for cellular changes in shape. We will investigate which physical mechanisms lead to the formation of chemical patterns in the actin cortex. Deformations of surfaces in the actin cortex that are influenced by viscoelasticity and nonlinear material properties such as stress-stiffening will also be included. In this collaboration, Sebastian and I will synergize our expertise on the mathematics of tensor-valued PDEs and on the physics of the cytoskeleton". Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich herself has been working as a group leader at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden since 2017 and performs research in the field of soft matter and biophysics.

Simulation of strain generated in an elastic cortex shell after uniaxial compression © Sebastian Aland

Active force generators (myosin) forming patterns in the cortex of a confined dividing cell © Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich

Obesity risk quantification: a jump towards the future through the lens of artificial intelligence applied to lipid science


According to WHO, nearly 1 out of 6 adults is obese. This makes obesity a prime threat to human health because it increases mortality and morbidity. In daily healthcare practice, the go-to indicator of overweight and obesity is the body mass index (BMI), a calculated relation between body weight and height. An international team of scientists led by Dresden researchers, with a joint effort between academy and industry in Saxony (Germany) introduces a revolutionary approach towards personalized and precision biomedicine. The discovery is that artificial intelligence can assist to design markers composed of a small combination of lipids that allow to provide significantly more information about obesity than BMI.

Find here the complete press release.

Remembrance of Prof. Dr. Suzanne Eaton


The TU Dresden mourns the death of Prof. Dr. Suzanne Eaton (*1959 in Oakland, California, USA), who died far too early in Crete in July 2019.

Since 2015, Suzanne Eaton has been Professor of Invertebrate Developmental Cell Biology at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) whilst continuing her position as senior group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG). Since 2018, she has also been co-spokesperson of the new Cluster of Excellence "Physics of Life" at the TU Dresden, which was the latest manifestation of her remarkable contributions in shaping the biomedical research landscape in Dresden.

Suzanne obtained her Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1988. She then worked as a Postdoc in Tom Kornberg's laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco. Suzanne came to Dresden in 2001 as a founding group leader at the MPI-CBG. Previously, she worked at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg as a Postdoc in Kai Simons' laboratory and then as a staff scientist.

Suzanne was an inspirational scientist and colleague. She combined an unquenchable curiosity with acuity, gracefulness and charm. Her smile and deftness accompanied an ability to enliven discussions with remarkable questions, often bringing envigorating surprise and a delightful perspective. She has inspired many scientists, whether young or established, with her love for research, her interests and her openness to a wide range of questions and approaches. For Suzanne, interdisciplinarity was innate. As a mother, she managed a work-life balance centered on her family including music and culture that remains a shining paradigm. Suzanne has made a decisive contribution to the emergence of the Dresden biomedical research community and she will be sorely missed. We have lost a highly esteemed colleague, an excellent scientist and an inspirational teacher.

Suzanne Eaton leaves behind her husband and two sons. Our deepest sympathy goes to them. With sadness and gratitude, we will remember Suzanne Eaton with honour.

Family, friends and colleagues are paying tribute to Suzanne Eaton’s life and legacy on the MPI-CBG website: https://www.mpi-cbg.de/suzanne-eaton/

Prof. Dr. Suzanne Eaton © MPI-CBG

Statement on the tragic death of Suzanne Eaton


The death of Suzanne Eaton, researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI CBG), and the TU Dresden Biotechnology Center, has now sadly been confirmed. The MPI CBG stated that the police found her body on the evening of 8th July. The authorities are yet to complete their investigation as to what might have happened on the afternoon of 2nd July.

“We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this tragic event. Suzanne was an outstanding and inspiring scientist, a loving spouse and mother, an athlete as well as a truly wonderful person beloved by us all. This is an unbearable loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Tony, her sons Max and Luke, and with her entire family,” say her colleagues at the MPI CBG.

TU Dresden and its Biotechnology Center also mourn the painful loss. “We were shocked to learn of the death of our dear colleague and friend, Prof. Suzanne Eaton. Our thoughts and condolences go out to her family and also to her colleagues at the TU Dresden Biotechnology Center and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. We have lost an immensely renowned scientist and a truly outstanding human being,” adds Prof. Müller-Steinhagen, Rector of TU Dresden.

Prof. Dr. Michael Schroeder, Director of the Biotechnological Center at TU Dresden, says: “We have come to know Suzanne as a lively and committed woman who made a decisive contribution to the development of our Institute. Her sudden and untimely death is devastating for us all. Our sympathy in these difficult times goes to her family and all those close to her. We will remember Suzanne as a remarkable person. We are profoundly saddened and speechless. Our hearts are with Suzanne's family”

Prof. Suzanne Eaton © MPI-CBG

Update from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, 10th July 2019

We have received confirmation on Wednesday afternoon from the coroner’s office and forensics laboratories in Crete that the body recovered from the cave on Monday evening is that of Suzanne Eaton, senior Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, and Professor at the Biotechnology Center of the Technische Universität Dresden. There is an ongoing homicide investigation being led by the police in Crete, which has taken comprehensive measures to ensure that the responsible party(ies) will be brought to justice. We can best support the investigation and ensure its success by helping to identify and pass on important and accurate information as well as avoid misleading or speculative distractions.
Our institute and all its staff offer our most sincere condolences to Suzanne’s family. We will remember forever the extraordinary scientist so caring and devoted to her family and friends and so beloved by us all. We remain in disbelief of this shocking and awful tragedy.

Mittelerde Meeting 2019


For two days J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth was located at the BIOTEC Dresden. On June 13/14, 2019 bioinformaticians and computational biologists gathered for the 4th Central German Meeting on Bioinformatics, called the “Mittelerde Meeting 2019” hosted by Prof. Michael Schroeder.

The tradition started back in 2011, when the first meeting was held in Jena with the goal to bring together the computational biology of central Germany. Since 2017 the meeting is called “Mittelerde” and gained more and more attention from outside its original audience.

With over 90 registered participants, this year’s “Mittelerde Meeting” was a great success and covered research from diverse fields of computational biology and bioinformatics. Beside the research groups from central Germany, including Leipzig, Halle, Jena, Freiberg, and Mittweida, the program contained invited talks of international top scientist. With over 17,000 km Prof. Peter R. Wills from the University of Auckland had by far the furthest journey to Middle-earth.

Talks were contributed by scientist from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), the neighboring Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD), Belgium’s top-ranked university KU Leuven, the University of Cologne, and Bayer AG. The attendees got answers to some really hard questions: Which was first? DNA or the machinery to read it? How to bar code millions of drugs? What are the dangers of swimming in the Elbe?

The event was complemented by a scientific speed dating session, where each of the participants got the chance to socialize with scientists from other research domains and exchange ideas. Finally, the ring of “Mittelerde” was passed to Prof. Stefan Schuster (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena) to continue the tradition next year according to J. R. R. Tolkien’s statement: “Someone always has to carry on the story.

Biophysicists delve into the organisation of life – New Cluster of Excellence to unravel the “Physics of Life” (PoL)


To fathom the structure and dynamics of living matter is one of the great scientific challenges of our time. The new Cluster of Excellence "Physics of Life" (PoL) will concentrate on the underlying laws of physics that govern the organisation of life into molecules, cells and tissues. PoL is a collaboration between scientists of TU Dresden and other DRESDEN-concept research institutions such as the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS), the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research (IPF), and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.

Find here the complete press release

Website of PoL

The team of researchers of the Cluster of Excellence "Physics of Life", together with TU Dresden's Rector, Prof. Dr. Müller-Steinhagen (8th from the left). © MPI-CBG

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates


The research groups led by Dr. Jörg Mansfeld of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and Dr. Caren Norden of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) have developed a novel synthetic antibody that paves the way for an improved functional analysis of proteins. They combined auxin-inducible "protein knockdown" with a synthetic antibody to not only observe fluorescent proteins in living cells but also to rapidly remove them in a temporally controlled manner.

Microscopic image of living HeLa cells containing a GFP-linked protein (green) and the AID nanobody (magenta). After addition of the plant hormone auxin, the GFP-linked protein is broken down specifically in the cells containing AID nanobody within 30 minutes. © Jörg Mansfeld

Dr. Jörg Mansfeld © Magdalena Gonciarz

Find here the complete press release

Dr. Ivan Minev receives an ERC Starting Grant of 1.5 million EUR to develop integrated multimodal brain implants


The European Research Council (ERC) has approved the research project "Integrated Implant Technology for Multimodal Brain Interfaces (IntegraBrain)" with a prestigious and highly competitive Starting Grant of 1.5 million EUR for 5 years. Dr. Ivan Minev, research group leader from the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and Freigeist-Fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation, wants to establish neuroprosthetic implants for the brain with electrical, chemical, thermal and optical functionalities.

Vision for an integrated network of sensors and actuators for establishing brain-machine interfaces beyond the electrical functionality. © Ivan Minev

Dr. Ivan Minev © BIOTEC

Find here the complete press release

Dr. Corbeil has been awarded with a 3-year project within the DFG Priority Programme (μBONE) to support his cancer research


Dr. Denis Corbeil, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden (BIOTEC), has been awarded a 3-year research grant within DFG Priority Programme 2084 "μBONE - Colonization and Interactions of Tumor Cells within the Bone Microenvironment" to study the impact of various types of membrane protrusions emerging from cancer cells on migration, adhesion and intercellular communication with bone marrow resident cells. The project will be conducted in collaboration with Prof. Dr. med. Pauline Wimberger (Clinic and Polyclinic of for Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital, Dresden, TU Dresden).

Picture: Dr. Denis Corbeil © Denis Corbeil

The corresponding press release can be found here


BIOTEC researcher Dr. Sebastian Salentin receives Commerzbank dissertation prize


This year again, the dissertation prizes of Commerzbank and the Dr. Walter Seipp Prize will be awarded for outstanding dissertations by young scientists of the TU Dresden. Among the prize winners is Dr. Sebastian Salentin from the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC). He receives one of Commerzbank's 2017 dissertation prizes and 1,000 euros in prize money.

Dr. Sebastian Salentin holds a PhD at BIOTEC on "In Silico Identification of Novel Cancer Drugs with 3D Interaction Profiling". He used computer-aided methods to discover new applications for known active ingredients. For example, he has shown that an antimalarial drug in cancer cells can improve chemotherapy by preventing cancer cells from developing resistance. "This award confirms me and motivates me to continue my scientific work. I am now working with other members of the research group of Prof. Michael Schroeder, my supervisor, on a spin-off. We want to show that our methods can be widely applied and can thus improve drug research," said Sebastian Salentin.

The prizes donated by Commerzbank AG will be awarded for the 22nd time this year, and the Dr. Walter Seipp Prize from the Commerzbank Foundation fund of the same name has been in existence for 21 years. Dr. Walter Seipp was Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors and the Supervisory Board of Commerzbank for many years.

Picture: Dr. Sebastian Salentin © Alexander Sapia

Further information on the award ceremony

Dr. Marko Brankatschk receives "TUD Young Investigator" status


Marko Brankatschk, Research Group Leader at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of the TU Dresden (TUD) was appointed "TUD Young Investigator" by Prof. Dr. Hans Müller-Steinhagen, Rector of the TUD, on 12 June 2018. With the "TUD Young Investigator" program, the TUD strengthens the position of excellent, independent junior research group leaders in Dresden with a tailored range of qualifications and greater integration into the faculties.

"The 'TUD Young Investigator' status is particularly important to me, as it further strengthens my position as an independent group leader and allows me to gain important experience in my role as a reviewer and examiner in doctoral procedures. For me as a graduate of the TU Dresden, the award is something very special and an important milestone in my further academic career," says Marko Brankatschk about his new status.

Picture: Dr. Marko Brankatschk and TUD rector Prof. Dr. Hans Müller-Steinhagen at the presentation of the "TUD Young Investor" certificate. © Angela Böhm

Further information on TUD Young Investigators

CMCB welcomed more than 2,900 visitors at this year's Dresden Science Night


After two visitor records in 2016 and 2017, a new visitor record was set this year with more than 2,900 visitors. This year, the CMCB (BIOTEC, B CUBE and CRTD) together with some of its partners prepared more than 30 program items - including information booths, talks, experiments and a science slam. Furthermore, the CRTD was part of the Science Night's VIP tour with Dresden's mayor Dirk Hilbert, state secretary Uwe Gaul and Martina de Maizièr. Together they opened up the exhibition "Realtime" of the Dresdner Zentrum für Wissenschaft und Kunst (DZWK) and the Kulturhauptstadt-Initiative Dresden 2025.



Successful re-accrediation for the 3 CMCB Master’s programs


The three CMCB Master's programs Molecular Bioengineering, Nanobiophysics and Regenerative Biology and Medicine have been successfully (re-)accredited. After having undergone a long evaluation process (reports on quality assurance, feedback sessions with students and lecturers, reports of external assessors etc.), the accreditation has been awarded until March 2024. The accreditation is a seal of quality and guarantees that quality standards are met.

Further information on the accreditation

Master's programs

Sunshine duration might influence the time onset of a deadly type of heart attack


An international team of scientists led by Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, Group Leader of the Biomedical Cybernetics lab at the BIOTEChnology Center (BIOTEC) TU Dresden, has discovered a rule at the basis of the chronobiology of heart attack in humans. The study concludes that seasonal rhythms associated with sun irradiance may influence circadian rhythms of heart attack onset.

Picture: Sunshine and chronobiology of heart attack across different latitudes (Source)

Kick-off for new Master’s program in “Computational Modeling and Simulation”


The starting signal for the Master's course "Computational Modeling and Simulation" (CMS) has been given. The Master's program is a joint curriculum between the Faculty of Computer Science, the Faculty of Mathematics, and the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) with participation of the Faculty of Psychology, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Economics, and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

The research-oriented interdisciplinary and international Master's program offers application-independent training and specialization in five application-specific tracks, offering unique flexibility to students.

The program also offers the possibility to fast-track into a structured PhD program, benefiting from the participation of local key-partners in the relevant fields. 

Further information


Picture: PantherMedia / olegkrugllyak

Fast and versatile method for combined cell characterization


Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of Technische Universität Dresden, Katarzyna Plak and Philipp Rosendahl, together with Dresden biologists and physicians, and with the support of the Microstructure Facility of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB), have developed a method that enables the simultaneous measurement of fluorescence and deformability of cells 100 times faster than previous methods. This could optimize the diagnosis of many diseases such as leukaemia, malaria, bacterial or viral infections, which in turn would lead to a faster and more precise start of therapy.

DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.4639

Nature Methods

Fast and versatile method for combined cell characterization


Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of Technische Universität Dresden, Katarzyna Plak and Philipp Rosendahl, together with Dresden biologists and physicians, and with the support of the Microstructure Facility of the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB), have developed a method that enables the simultaneous measurement of fluorescence and deformability of cells 100 times faster than previous methods. This could optimize the diagnosis of many diseases such as leukaemia, malaria, bacterial or viral infections, which in turn would lead to a faster and more precise start of therapy.

DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.4639

Nature Methods

SENTINELS OF THE GENOME: A comprehensive resource reveals dynamics of 70 DNA repair proteins - a powerful platform for basic research and anticancer drug evaluation


Throughout life, DNA is constantly being damaged by environmental and intrinsic factors and must be promptly repaired to prevent mutations, genomic instability, and cancer. Different types of damages are repaired by numerous proteins organized into damage-specific pathways. The proteins from different pathways must be spatially and temporally coordinated in order to efficiently repair complex DNA damages. How this is achieved by the cell, is still poorly understood, due to the complexity and rapid dynamics of the process. This question is particularly important since many anticancer drugs either damage DNA or target DNA repair proteins. A systematic study of the impact of such drugs on the overall coordination of the repair process could deliver new insights into their mechanisms of action, prompt new applications or suggest possible side effects.

An international team of researchers from the Institute of Molecular Biology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IMB-BAS), Sofia University, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), the Biotechnology Center at TU Dresden (BIOTEC - Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill) and the Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus (Prof. Dr. Frank Buchholz) built a high resolution, quantitative model of the dynamics of arrival and departure of 70 key DNA repair proteins at sites of complex DNA damage.

Press release

Picture: Recruitment of two proteins to the sites of DNA damage generated by laser micro-irradiation. © Stoynov / IMB-BAS

Attraction point neuroprosthetics


In February the research group of Dr. Ivan Minev at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of the Technische Universität Dresden hosted Prof. Pavel Musienko and Dr. Anastasia Levchenko from the Institute of Translational Biomedicine at St. Petersburg State University. Their visit was made possible by a DFG (German Research Foundation) grant for the initiation of international collaboration awarded to Dr. Minev and Prof. Musienko.

Dr. Ivan Minev, Dr. Anastasia Levchenko and Prof. Dr. Pavel Musienko in the Lab at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC). © BIOTEC

Prof. Musienko is working in basic neuroscience and neuro prosthetics and has several animal models of spinal cord injury: "We performed extensive studies on spinal cord injured models that led to the development of effective multi-system neurorehabilitation therapies, including epidural spinal cord stimulation, pharmacological intervention and locomotor robotic training".

Dr. Levchenko is interested in the "discovery and characterization of genetics factors in the etiology of mental illnesses". She has already worked on the genetics of frontotemporal dementia, restless legs syndrome and schizophrenia. They both presented their work and institute during a seminar about spinal neuroprosthetics at the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) green seminar series, which is a joint seminar series of BIOTEC, B CUBE and CRTD.

The long term vision of the Minev group is to develop implantable technologies that deliver a permanent therapeutic effect by orchestrating repair in the nervous system. To make this possible, they are investigating micro-technologies (e.g. 3D printing) for integrating soft bio-materials into implantable devices that seamlessly blend with neural tissues. The lab is building technologies needed to study the spinal cord and build neuroprosthetic devices with translational outlook. The successful development of a long-term relationship between Dresden and St. Petersburg would therefore be extremely rewarding.

The DFG grant runs for the entire year 2018 and visits between scientists from the Minev Lab and the Institute of Translational Biomedicine at the St. Petersburg State University are scheduled to take place on a regular basis. In the future, this will enable them to deliver success stories for a greater cooperation between Dresden and Petersburg.

The group of Dr. Ivan Minev and their guests from Russia in the lab. © BIOTEC

Rapid diagnosis of diseases with novel blood test


Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden (BIOTEC), together with medical colleagues from the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden and partnering institutes from Dresden (Germany), Cambridge (UK), Glasgow (UK), and Stockholm (Sweden) use a technique called "real-time deformability cytometry" to screen thousands of cells in a drop of blood for unusual appearance and deformability in a matter of minutes. This novel blood test promises to speed up the correct diagnosis of many disease conditions including leukaemia, malaria, bacterial or viral infections, which in turn can lead to a faster and more accurate start of therapy.

Press release

Picture: RT-DC in action. The artistic rendering of the microscopic view into the measurement chip shows the trajectories of many individual blood cells flowing from right to left. When encountering sheath flows from top and bottom, they widen to form a "heart" before entering the narrow measurement channel on the left, where the appearance and deformation of the cells are being analysed. ©Daniel Klaue/ZELLMECHANIK DRESDEN GmbH

Second proof of concept grant for Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck


Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden (BIOTEC), was awarded a Proof of Concept Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for the second time. The €150,000 research grant is available for ERC-funded researchers and intended to help exploring the economic potential or innovation potential of EU-funded frontier research. Intellectual property rights are to be established, business opportunities identified or technical reviews of research results carried out.

Press release

Tracking down pest control strategies: Project to investigate the temperature behavior of the fruit fly "Drosophila" receives research funding of more than 2 million euros


The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the research project "Seasonal temperature acclimation in Drosophila: A multidisciplinary approach" with a funding volume of 2 million euros. The interdisciplinary research team with scientists from seven different research institutions throughout Germany began its work in January 2018.

Press release

Picture: © Friederike Braun/BIOTEC



CMCB presents 1st information day on the international Master's programmes at CMCB


On April 13, 2018 - the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) presents the first information day on the international Master's programmes at CMCB. The day is aimed at students of biology/life sciences, medicine, biochemistry and physics as well as related subjects.


Programme (3-5 pm, presented in English):

  • Introduction to CMCB
  • Introduction to the Master's courses Molecular Bioengineering, Nanobiophysics, Regenerative Biology and Medicine
  • visit of a laboratory
  • PhD / PostDoc Talk & Beer Hour
  • Informal Get-Together


Auditorium of CRTD (Fetscherstraße 105, 01307 Dresden)


E-Mail to Sandra Mattick

Picture: © PantherMedia / Artur Verkhovetskiy

The bright side of an infectious protein: Stress sensors promote yeast cell survival


Prions are self-propagating protein aggregates that can be transmitted between cells. The aggregates are associated with human diseases. Indeed, pathological prions cause mad cow disease and in humans Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The aggregation of prion-like proteins is also associated with neurodegeneration as in ALS. The regions within prion-like proteins that are responsible for their aggregation were termed prion-like domains. Despite the important role of prion-like domains in human diseases, a physiological function has remained enigmatic. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC, Grill group), and the Washington University in St. Louis, USA have now identified for the first time a benign, albeit biologically relevant function of prion domains as protein specific stress sensors that allow cells to adapt to and survive environmental stresses. Uncovering the physiological function is an essential first step towards closing a gap in understanding the biological role of prion domains and their transformation into a pathological disease-causing state. The discoveries were published in Science.

Picture: Cryo-Electron Microscopy Image of a biomolecular condensate of a Prion Protein.

Contact:Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill

Press release

‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence


An international team of scientists led by Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, Junior Group Leader of the Biomedical Cybernetics lab at the BIOTEChnology Center TU Dresden, has developed 'coalescent embedding': a class of algorithms that leverage machine intelligence to retrieve the hidden geometrical rules that shape the structure of complex networks. From brain connectivity to social media, 'coalescent embedding' can have a future impact on disparate fields dealing with big-network-data including biology, medicine, physics and social science.

Press release

Picture: Research group of Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci © BIOTEC

Interview with BIOTEC Group Leader Dr. Ivan Minev: job magazine "karriereführer"


"Dr. Ivan Minev Junior Group Leader at Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of TU Dresden is researching bioelectronic compounds or implants, which have the ability to repair or replace tissues within patients. To achieve his goals he is using biotechnological methods, and 3-D-printing. His research is supported by the Freigeist Fellowship from the VolkswagenStiftung. In his interview he explains, what approaches he is using and what 3-D-printing can be used for now and in the future. André Boße interviewed the Physicist." The article is only available in German.


TU Dresden is invited to submit six full applications for Clusters of Excellence in the next round of the Excellence Competition


Today, TU Dresden was invited by the German Research Foundation (DFG) to submit six full proposals out of eight draft proposals for the Clusters of Excellence. Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen, Rector of TU Dresden, congratulates the speakers and scientists of the successful cluster proposals and emphasises the importance for the entire university: "It is a phenomenal success! This decision will give us an additional, strong tailwind for our endeavours in the Excellency Strategy! Now, we shall optimistically enter the full proposals phase and hope that at least two or preferably even more Clusters of Excellence will be granted in the end." The draft proposal for the excellence cluster "PHYSICS OF LIFE - The dynamic organization of living matter" (which was created under the leadership of BIOTEC research group leader Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill) has been invited to the second round of the application process. It is one of 6 draft proposals of TU Dresden that can now submit their full proposals for excellence clusters to the DFG until February 21, 2018.

Press release of TU Dresden

Dresden researchers have pioneered a brain-network bio-inspired algorithm to predict new therapeutic targets of approved drugs


An international team of scientists led by Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, Junior Group Leader of the Biomedical Cybernetics lab at the BIOTEChnology Center TU Dresden, has developed a powerful computational method that can exploit the principles of brain-network self-organization to predict new, highly reliable drug-target interactions using only the topology of molecular networks without any further information about the chemical structures of the drugs.

Press release

Picture: Members of Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci's research group © BIOTEC

CMCB introduces its directorate: Prof. Nils Kröger (B CUBE), Prof. Jochen Guck (BIOTEC) and Prof. Ezio Bonifacio (CRTD)


The Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering (CMCB) introduces its managing director and deputy directors. Prof. Nils Kröger (B CUBE) will lead the CMCB as managing director, Prof. Jochen Guck (BIOTEC) and Prof. Ezio Bonifacio (CRTD) will hold the positions as deputy directors. The CMCB is a Central Research Unit of the Technische Universität Dresden and was legally established in 2016 as an umbrella organization of the three institutions BIOTEC, CRTD, and B CUBE. Since the elections of the formal governance bodies in May 2017, the CMCB is now fully in place and further synergizes its strengths in interdisciplinarity, innovation and internationality. The three institutes are an integral part of the research priority area of TU Dresden „Health Sciences, Biomedicine and Bioengineering”. The institutes are working under one roof with respect to strategic developments in the university, teaching, administration and provision of scientific infrastructure and services. The CMCB will also be responsible for structural decisions such as professorship appointments, introduction of study courses and the acquisition of major grant funded projects. Approximately 500 employees, out of which 35% come from more than 30 different countries, from almost 40 working groups undertake research and training at the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering. Additionally, 140 students are enrolled across three CMCB master programs.

Picture: Prof. Nils Kröger, Prof. Jochen Guck, Prof. Ezio Bonifacio (from left to right)

Biologists and bioinformaticians from Dresden develop a cell cycle reporter to analyse the cell cycle and to predict the future behavior of cells



The research group of Dr. Jörg Mansfeld at the BIOTEChnology Center, TU Dresden, together with the group of Dr. Ingmar Glauche at the Institut für Medizinische Informatik und Biometrie (IMB) at TU Dresden, has developed a novel "all-in-one" reporter that can be used to detect cell cycle phases in growing and dividing cells using only one fluorescent protein (marker). This reporter can also be used to differentiate dividing cells from cells that do not divide anymore or are in an idle state (quiescence). With this reporter, researchers can track cells and their daughter cells in all phases of the cell cycle. This process takes place automatically and enables the parallel analysis of further factors, like the protein Cyclin D1 - a protein that is overexpressed in many forms of cancer.

"Our results indicate that the increased amounts of Cyclin D1 observed in many types of cancer could shift the balance between cell division and quiescence in favor of cell division and thereby may contribute to cancer growth. With our research we aim to develop a basis for a better understanding of clinical patterns and thus enable the treatment of diseases like cancer", explains Jörg Mansfeld. The results were recently published in the renowned science journal Cell Reports.

 Picture: © Jörg Mansfeld

Commerzbank prizes for outstanding young researchers at TU Dresden



On June 30th 2017, the dissertation prize of the Commerzbank and the Dr.-Walter-Seipp-Preis for outstanding dissertations of young academics of the TU Dresden will be awarded. One of the awardees is Dr. Paul Müller, postdoc at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC). He will be awarded a dissertation prize of the Commerzbank and 1.000 Euro prize money.

Dr. Paul Müller earned his doctorate at the BIOTEC on the topic "Optical Diffraction Tomography for Single Cells". In contrast to classical computer tomography, which is used to obtain 3D reconstructions of tissues with x-ray radiation, his work addresses the 3D reconstruction of single cells with light. "The award is reassuring and motivates me to continue my scientific work. I am grateful to be awarded a prize for outstanding science", says Paul Müller. "Especially interesting to me is the description of biophysical processes with the help of algorithms and computer models. In the group of Prof. Jochen Guck, my doctoral adviser, several such research approaches exist, ranging from microfluidics to atomic force microscopy. I am very much looking forward to my future in the field of academic sciences", he continues.

The prizes are donated by the Commerzbank AG and will be awarded this year for the 21st time. The associated Dr.-Walter-Seipp-Preis exists for 20 years. Dr. Walter Seipp was the chairman and executive chairman of the Commerzbank for many years. The award ceremony will take place on June 30th 2017, 14.00h at the Commerzbank Dresden (Devrientstraße 3, ground floor - Eventlounge, 01067 Dresden).

Picture: Dr. Paul Müller

Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill elected as EMBO Member



BIOTEC research group leader Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill was just elected to the "European Molecular Biology Organization" (EMBO) as a new member. EMBO elects new members annually in recognition of their excellent contributions to scientific understanding. Their selection is a tribute to their research and achievements. This prestigious honor again demonstrates the high performance and quality of BIOTEC researchers.

"Election to the EMBO Membership is recognition of research excellence, and I am pleased to welcome so many great scientists to our organization," says EMBO Director Maria Leptin. She continues: "We received more nominations than ever before during this election cycle, which pays tribute to the strength and diversity of the European life sciences. Drawing on our new members' expertise and insight will be invaluable in helping EMBO to deliver and strengthen its programs and activities in the years to come."

"To be elected as an EMBO member is a great honor and recognition. This selection is a tribute to the strengths of the research environment we have at BIOTEC and TU Dresden, and a reflection of the work we do here", says Prof. Grill.

EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers world-wide, including 84 nobel laureates, that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of EMBO are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

Further information: embo.org/about-embo and www.biotec.tu-dresden.de/research/grill.html

Picture: © Katrin Boes

Dresden researchers have developed an intelligent algorithm that automatically identifies significant associations between latent variables in big data sets


An international team of scientists led by Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, group leader of the Biomedical Cybernetics lab at the BIOTEChnology Center TU Dresden, developed ‘PC-corr’: an intelligent algorithm that can automatically discover key groups of interacting latent variables generating differences in big data. PC-corr has detected important molecular signatures in more than six different fields of omic science (e.g. lipidomics, metagenomics, genomics and mechanomics), a step forward towards combinatorial biomarker discovery in precision medicine.

Press release

photo: © BIOTEC

Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill receives 2.5 Million EUR ERC Advanced Grant


How growing organisms distinguish between left and right

Stephan Grill, Professor for Biophysics at the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) of TU Dresden, will be awarded an ERC Advanced Grant worth EUR 2.5 million for his research on “Chiral Morphogenesis”. The workgroup headed by Stephan Grill will investigate the physical mechanisms that enable a growing organism to distinguish between left and right, in order to place certain organs towards the left side and others towards the right side in a growing organism. To this end, the scientists conduct research on the muscle proteins actin and myosin and the physical mechanisms with which these proteins generate forces and torques in order to shape growing organs. “Revealing the mechanisms that give rise to left-right symmetry breaking in embryonic development is one of the great unanswered questions. The aim of this grant is to understand how cellular, tissue-scale and organismal left-right asymmetry arises from molecular interactions. For this purpose, we will combine physics and biology, and treat living systems as physical systems where chiral, and therefore left-right symmetric, forces drive chiral patterning and chiral structure formation in mechanically active biological matter”, Prof. Grill explains. Stephan Grill’s research group at BIOTEC is keen to understand the forces that allow an embryo to grow into a fully structured and formed organism. For this purpose, the group combines several disciplines, among them cell and developmental biology with biophysics and theoretical physics. In 2011, Stephan Grill received an ERC Starting Grant.

Further information: Group page Stephan Grill

The European Research Council funds three TU Dresden scientists with ERC Advanced Grants, the most highly-endowed individual grants on a European level. These are awarded for renowned scientists who break new ground in their respective area of research by conducting high-risk research. Biophysicist Prof. Stephan Gill, physician Prof. Frank Buchholz and chemist Prof. Stefan Kaskel are granted approximately EUR 7.3 million for their research. In the past, TUD has already been awarded four ERC Advanced Grants.

Conservation of cells and tissue: Dresden researchers receive 1.3 Mill. Euro research funding for interdisciplinary project


A research team of TU Dresden and Max-Planck researchers have been awarded 1.3 Mill. Euro in research funding from the VolkswagenStiftung. The researchers will use this funding to study how cells enter a dormant state when exposed to adverse conditions. Dresden. Life-threatening conditions like a lack of water, oxygen or food lead to a dysfunctional metabolism in most living beings. At worst, such conditions can lead to the death of cells and tissue. However, it is known that some cells can enter a kind of "standby mode" called dormancy. During this mode, life-threatening conditions seem to have no influence on them. Cell activity is reduced to a minimum in dormant cells, which seem to be in an intermediate state between life and death. Metabolism, growth and reproduction cease to occur, but when dormant cells re-encounter favourable environmental conditions these life-sustaining biological processes are reactivated. In other words, if the missing resource, like water or food, is once again available then the cell comes back to life - without having been damaged. So far, little research has been devoted towards understanding how this process occurs. The four-member research team aims at identifying the specific mechanisms required to sustain life without energy and water in order to develop a human cell that can enter such a dormant mode without being damaged. "In the next five years we want to examine the biological, chemical and physical mechanisms that enable a cell to enter and remerge from the dormancy mode. At first we want to identify the molecules that enable life without energy and water. Based on these results, we want to identify the self-organizing, physical principles that protect the cells. One could call it the 'physics of life'. With the knowledge gained, we aim to develop applications that can conserve human biomolecules, cells and tissue. This could enable their storage for decades. This might also enable the freezing of organs," says Jochen Guck.

The project is being coordinated by Prof. Simon Alberti, research group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG). The project team also includes Prof. Teymuras Kurzchalia (also MPI-CBG), Prof. Jochen Guck, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and Dr. Vasily Zaburdaev (Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, MPI-PKS). The project brings together biology, physics and chemistry, and emphasizes the high degree of interdisciplinarity at the Dresden Biocampus.

Picture: Prof. Simon Alberti, Prof. Teymuras Kurzchalia, Prof. Jochen Guck, Dr. Vasily Zaburdaev © MPI-CBG, MPI-PKS, BIOTEC

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BIOTEC welcomes new research group leader Dr. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich


Since March 20, 2017 - Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich joins the BIOTEC as new group-leader. The physicist will work on the active rheology of the cytoskeleton by analyzing the material stiffness of cells. The group wants to establish a new approach to cell mechanics characterizing cells as an active pre-stressed material. Unlike inanimate matter, cells contain molecular force generators that produce active contractile stresses in the cellular material. In cell mechanical probing, the contribution of these active stresses has been mainly disregarded. As molecular force generators produce active contractile stress in cellular material, physical concepts for inanimate matter need to be extended to capture material properties of cells. This results in a better understanding of cell migration and the development of tissues. Furthermore, the group works on the development of theoretical and experimental tools for the quantification of active material properties of cells.

In 2009, Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich obtained her PhD-degree from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems. Afterwards, she worked as a Postdoc at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. In Dresden, she worked as a Postdoc with affiliations to the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems. “Dresden is an excellent location for researchers in the field of Biophysics, as it gathers so many experts not only in BIOTEC but also in several other institutes on the campus. Dresden has a long tradition of biologists and physicists working together and achieving outstanding results in quantitative biology”, she says.

The recruiting of Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich was facilitated by funds of the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship of Prof. Jochen Guck (BIOTEC). Her intended projects are an essential part of the envisaged cluster of excellence “Physics of Life” which is coordinated by Prof. Stephan Grill (BIOTEC).

photo: © BIOTEC

BIOTEC welcomes new research group leader Dr. Marko Brankatschk


Since the beginning of 2017, Dr. Marko Brankatschk supports the BIOTEC as the leader of the research group “Neuro-glial membranes”. Using the animal model Drosophilia (fruit fly), he investigates their lipid dependent metabolism and its regulatory role on neuro-glial membranes. Recent research on Drosophilia identified dietary lipids as metabolic signal cues and showed the influence of the quality of dietary fat on the formulation of their endogenous lipidom: “I am interested in finding the origin and nature of circulating lipids that regulate metabolism in Drosophilia melanogaster. In addition, we seek for lipids that change the transport capacity of Blood Brain Barrier cells and regulate the cognitive capacity of adult fruit flies.” Answers to these and other questions help to understand complex biological processes including aging or the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.

The research group is building up right now.

In 2006, Marko Brankatschk obtained the doctoral degree at the IMP/IMBA Vienna, focusing on the topic „Axon Pathfinding at the Drosophila Midline”. From 2006-2016 he worked as a Postdoc in the lab of Suzanne Eaton at the MPI-CBG Dresden, afterwards he supported the research group of Francis Stewart at BIOTEC Dresden. From 2007-2009 his work was awarded with an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship. Since the beginning of 2017, Marko Brankatschk is now working as a group leader at BIOTEC. He is very happy to remain faithfully with the science location Dresden: “The huge interdependence of basic and clinical research and the accumulation of experts on lipid-research make Dresden a great place for scientists. Furthermore, the grants and fellowships for young researchers offered by TU Dresden are very supportive.”

photo: © BIOTEC

System accreditation of TU Dresden certifies the quality of teaching at BIOTEC/CRTD


From 2012 – 2015, TU Dresden went through a system accreditation process which examines the quality of study programms. In this context, the international courses of study at the BIOTEC/CRTD (”Regenerative Biology and Medicine“, ”Nanobiophysics“ and ”Molecular Bioengineering“) were officially accredited on February 3, 2017 (initially until September 30, 2018). The system accreditation serves the internal quality assurance of TU Dresden and certifies the high demands BIOTEC and CRTD make towards their teaching. This accreditation especially matters for international applicants as for some scholarships it’s necessary to apply for accredited courses of study.

Start of Application period for international Master’s programs at the BIOTEC/CRTD


The starting signal is given. Until May 31, 2017 – interested parties can apply for the three Master’s programs Regenerative Biology and Medicine, Molecular Bioengineering and Nanobiophysics. Applicants can expect a first-rate study environment at the Dresden BioCampus, internationally renowned professors, a close integration of theory and practice, access to high-end devices and programs customized to their needs (Lab Rotation). Small study groups and an individual supervision optimize the learning success. All three courses of study prepare for a (scientific) career in the field of life sciences (biomedicine, biotechnology, biophysics).

>>Online application<<

BIOTEC team awarded with gold project at BIOMOD


A team formed by eight students of the master programs Molecular Bioengineering and Nanobiophysics (BIOTEC, Technische Universität Dresden) and supervised by the research group leader Dr. Hans-Georg Braun (IPF) was awarded with the gold project category in the 2016 edition of BIOMOD. This edition was celebrated during the weekend of the 29th and the 30th October and took place in the University of California, in San Francisco (United States of America).

BIOMOD is an annual biomolecular design competition for students organised by the Wyss Institute. 30 teams from all over the world participate by designing and developing a project. This involves finding financial support and publishing the results in a website, a live presentation and a short video, apart from performing experiments. Teams from Dresden Dresden DNAmic (2014), Dresden Nanormous (2013), and Dresden Nanosaurs (2012) were also successful in previous editions of this contest. This year’s edition was won by Tiny Trap, a team from the University of New South Wales, in Australia.

The project developed by the team “I, nanobot” consisted of a micro-sized device capable of transport and deliver a cargo in a controlled manner. It was the result of linking a magnetic Dynabead®, which allows the external control of the movement with a variable magnetic field, to a vesicle for the transportation and delivery of the cargo. The linkage of these two functional parts was achieved using DNA origami technique. Targeted drug delivery and biosensing are some of the possible applications that this device might have in the fields of medicine and molecular biology.

Picture: Team I, nanobot. From left to right: Timothy Esch, Shikhar Gupta, Dr. Braun, Renat Nigmetzianov, Dmitry Beliaev (top); Yara Alsadaawi, Foram Joshi, Judit Clopés and Juliana Hilliard (bottom).

Further information: https://inanobotdresden.github.io/index.html

Annual CRTD/BIOTEC Master Graduation Ceremony on October 28


On October 28,  52 Master's graduates (Regenerative Biology and Medicine (CRTD), Molecular Bioengineering (BIOTEC) and Nanobiophysics (BIOTEC)) received their certificates and mortarboards. In the auditorium and foyer, they celebrated together with families, friends and CRTD members. The CRTD and BIOTEC wish all graduates a great future!

Further information on our Master’s programs: http://www.biotec.tu-dresden.de/teaching/masters-courses.html

Picture: © CRTD

BIOTEC group leader Dr. Carlo Cannistraci appointed TUD Young Investigator


On October 25, 2016 – Dr. Carlo Cannistraci received his certificate of appointment. He is the eighteenth researcher at TU Dresden who is appointed TUD Young Investigator. Dr. Cannistraci studied Bioengineering in Milan (Italy). His PhD with a specialization in Computational, Systems and Network Biology he completed at the Scuola Interpolitecnica di Dottorato (SIPD). Following postings at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), he is leading a research group on Biomedical Cybernetics at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden since 2014.
Picture: Dr. Carlo Cannistraci with TUD Rector Prof. Dr. Hans Müller-Steinhagen © Cindy Ullmann


Freigeist Fellowship supports Dr. Ivan Minev in using 3D printing to find ways to repair damage in the human body


Dr. Ivan Minev, research group leader at the BIOTEC/CRTD, has been awarded a Freigeist Fellowship from the VolkswagenStiftung. This five-year, 920.000 EUR grant will enable him to establish his own research team. The ‘Freigeist’ initiative is directed toward enthusiastic scientists and scholars with an outstanding record that are given the opportunity to enjoy maximum freedom in their early scientific career.

Press release

Photo: © CRTD

From Rigid to Flexible - A physical mechanism to make the transport of cellular cargo efficient and specific


Capture of a vesicle by an endosome by the tethering factor EEA1 binding Rab5. Active Rab5 (shiny blue particles) induces a change in flexibility of EEA1 (green filaments) generating an entropic collapse force that pulls the vesicle toward the target membrane to dock and fuse. Author: Mario AvellanedaIn order for cells to function properly, cargo needs to be constantly transported from one point to another within the cell, like on a goods station. This cargo is located in or on intracellular membranes, called vesicles. These membranes have a signature, and only those with the correct signature may fuse with the membrane of another organelle into one compartment. The membrane itself must be recognized by a target membrane, which employs long tethering proteins to find its match.

David Murray and Marcus Jahnel from the labs of Marino Zerial at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) and Stephan Grill at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden were curious to find out how these large tether proteins are able to recognize the signature of a membrane compartment and pull it in in order for the small fusion proteins to engage. They and their colleagues discovered that when the vesicle docks by an active protein called Rab5, GTPase, this protein is sending a message along the rigid tether protein to become flexible. This change in flexibility results in a force that starts the vesicle’s trip towards the target membrane to initiate docking and fusion. This newly found mechanism is published in the journal Nature and intuitively explains how traffic within the cell can be efficient and selective, and resolves a paradox of sizes.


Original Publication:
David H. Murray & Marcus Jahnel, Janelle Lauer, Mario J. Avellaneda, Nicolas Brouilly, Alice Cezanne, Hernán Morales-Navarrete, Enrico D. Perini, Charles Ferguson, Andrei N. Lupas, Yannis Kalaidzidis, Robert G. Parton, Stephan W. Grill and Marino Zerial: An endosomal tether undergoes an entropic collapse to bring vesicles together.
Nature, 24 August 2016, doi: 10.1038/nature19326

Further information: Group page Stephan Grill

Photo: Capture of a vesicle by an endosome by the tethering factor EEA1 binding Rab5. Active Rab5 (shiny blue particles) induces a change in flexibility of EEA1 (green filaments) generating an entropic collapse force that pulls the vesicle toward the target membrane to dock and fuse.
Author: Mario Avellaneda



Prof. Dr. Michael Brand elected as EMBO Member


BIOTEC and CRTD research group leader Prof. Dr. Michael Brand, founding director and speaker of the CRTD from 2005 to 2014, was elected as new EMBO Member. The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) elects new members annually in recognition of their excellent contributions to scientific understanding. Their selection is a tribute to their research and achievements. This prestigious honour again demonstrates the high performance and quality of CRTD researchers.  

“I am delighted by the addition of 58 outstanding scientists to our membership. I would like to congratulate them and welcome them to the EMBO community”, says EMBO Director Maria Leptin. “By serving the principles of excellence and integrity through their views and actions, they make invaluable contributions to science and society.”  

EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers world-wide, including 84 nobel laureates, that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of EMBO are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

Further information: http://www.embo.org and http://www.crt-dresden.de/research/crtd-core-groups/brand.html

CRTD, BIOTEC and B CUBE again part of Dresden Long Night of Sciences on June 10, 2016


On June 10 - CRTD, BIOTEC and B CUBE will again present their work at the Dresden Long Night of Sciences. On four levels we will have a varied program (presentations, talks and hands-on activities) from 6 pm - 1 am. We are looking forward to welcoming you!

Location: CRTD, Fetscherstraße 105, 01307 Dresden


Complete program: http://www.wissenschaftsnacht-dresden.de/programm/

The new Grant Office for B CUBE, BIOTEC and CRTD opens its doors


The Grant Office (GO) was established in February 2016 to support scientists at B CUBE, BIOTEC and CRTD in acquiring grants for basic and applied research. GO was initiated by Prof. Michael Brand and is funded by the State of Saxony for three years to establish a specialist team for grant application management. GO also aims to strengthen the profile of the Dresden Biocampus in local, national and international networks.
The Grant Office is located at the CRTD (3rd floor south, room 3.137).
Contact:  grant_office(at)lists.biotec.tu-dresden.de   

photo: GO Team (Gary Jennings, Maria Begasse, Nambirajan Govindarajan) © CRTD

BIOTEC/CRTD again part of Dresden Seniors Academy (summer term 2016)


BIOTEC & CRTD are again part of Dresden Seniors Academy with five different lectures. All lectures are held in German.


“Die Regeneration des zentralen Nervensystems.  Der Fisch kann es! Warum ich nicht?“
Dr. Michell M. Reimer
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
10.00-11.30 am

“Optische Pinzetten: Moleküle in der Lichtzange“
Christoph Ehrlich
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
10.00-11.30 am

 “Eine kleine Geschichte der Mikroskopie“
Dr. Ruth Hans
Wednesday, June 15, 2016,
10.00-11.30 am
(Seminar room 3)

“Die Vermessung des Denkens“
Dr. Alexander Garthe
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
10.00-11.30 am
(Seminar room 3)

“Futter für das Denken: der Zusammenhang zwischen Ernährung und Hirnfunktion“
Prof. Dr. Gerd Kempermann
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
10.00-11.30 am

DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
Fetscherstraße 105
01307 Dresden

Further information:

Synergy effects through new joint Technology Platform of CRTD, BIOTEC and B CUBE


From now on,  11 core facilities of the CRTD, BIOTEC and BCUBE are presented on one webpage as the joint Technology Platform. This structural improvement includes an optimized user navigation, an improved access to information and details as well as the standardized booking system . In the course of last year, the development of the this new internet presence has both involved administration and IT staff of all three research institutes as well as researchers and technical assistants of the core facilities. Currently, the core facilities are serving more than 130 research groups that are able to gain from these improvements with immediate effect. The Joint Technology Platform is funded by third party financing through the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Free State of Saxony, the European Union EFRE initiative and the Technische Universität Dresden.

Further information, overview of the services offered & access to the booking system:


Guest studies: CRTD and BIOTEC open its lectures for asylum seekers


We are inviting asylum seekers to become a guest student at the BIOTEC/CRTD. All relevant information and the application form can be found here:

Guest studies for asylum seekers

SPACE-P’s BIOTEC team wins bronze medal in Boston in the international student competition iGEM


A team of master students at the BIOTEC can be happy: their work for the international student competition iGEM was awarded with the bronze medal in September at the in Boston. The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. 259 multidisciplinary teams with over 2700 attendees from all over the world presented their projects at the iGEM Giant Jamboree on 24-28 September 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Most of the BIOTEC team members are students of the international Master’s program Molecular Bioengineering. Supervision was mainly under the Chair of Genomics at the BIOTEC. In their project “SPACE-P” for “Structural Phage Assisted Continuous Evolution of Proteins”, the team proposes an alternative way of identifying potential protein binding partners which could replace antibodies for certain applications. The goal was to speed up screening for peptides capable of interacting with other proteins. This should be achieved by combining the power of phage display with a bacterial two hybrid system under constant mutational pressure in a chemostat. The cyclic process of mutation and selection should result in finding a potent binding partner for a target protein in less than three days. A much more detailed description of the project and the team can be found at: http://2015.igem.org/Team:TU_Dresden

Dec 11, 2015: Certficates for the best graduates 2015 of TU Dresden


On Friday December 11, 2015 - the best graduates 2015 of TU Dresden have been awarded a certificate of honors by the Rector of the University. All in all, there were 97 best graduates from approx. 6000 graduates in 2015. For the BIOTEC/CRTD Master's programs, Maria Elsner, Lisa Kube and Jana Sievers from the Master's program Molecular Bioengineering participated and were handed-over the certificate "Ehrenfried-Walter-von-Tschirnhaus" meant for the best graduates in the field of mathematics and life science. Alexandr Dibrov from the Master's program Nanobiophysics as well as Lara Maronne and Philip Franke of the Master's program Regenerative Biology and Medicine could not join but will be receiving their certificate by post. Congratulations to all of them!

Dr. Jörg Mansfeld receives 1.5 Million EUR ERC Starting Grant


Dresden biologist Dr. Jörg Mansfeld receives 1.5 Million EUR ERC Starting Grant to support his cancer research

Jörg Mansfeld, Emmy Noether Group Leader at the Biotechnology Center of TU Dresden, was awarded a prestigious and highly competitive Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), which will provide 1.5 Million Euros over 5 years to support his research on cell cycle and redox regulation.  With Starting Grants, young, promising scientists who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders, are supported.

Photo © Jörg Mansfeld

Prof. Dr. Stephan Grill receives the 2015 Sackler Prize in Biophysics endowed with US$ 50.000


With this prize, Stephan Grill is honored for excellent research in the field of mesoscopic physics of cell structure and dynamics. He receives this award for his outstanding contributions to the physics of intracellular actomyosin networks and the discovery of the mechanism of chiral morphogenesis. The Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize for Biophysics was established through the generosity of Dr. Raymond and Mrs. Beverly Sackler at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Professor Grill will receive the prize in person at Tel Aviv University on December 15 this year.

Further information: https://english.tau.ac.il/sackler_prize_in_biophysics

Press Release

Photo: © Katrin Boes, MPI-CBG

BIOTEC Professor Stephan Grill Appointed Max Planck Fellow


The Dresden-based biophysicist Stephan Grill combines combines biology with physics and theoretical physics to bridge the gap between the molecular, cell and tissue mechanical understanding of morphogenesis. Stephan Grill and group made the fundamental discovery of torque-generation inside the actomyosin cortex, which has an impact on early developmental processes like the establishment of the left-right body axis.

Stephan Grill (41) studied Physics at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and worked at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) afterwards. He did his doctorate at the TU München in 2002 and continued his research as a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden from 2001 – 2004. Until 2006 Stephan Grill worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the U.S. and subsequently joined the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems and at the MPI-CBG from as research group leader. Since 2013, he is Professor of Biophysics at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden.

So far, Stephan Grill has published more than 50 publications, many of them in highly recommended scientific journals. He has been awarded several prizes for his scientific success, e.g. 2009 the Award for Research Cooperation and Highest Excellence in Science (ARCHES) of the German Ministry of Education and Research and the Minerva Foundation. In 2010, Stephan Grill received the EMBO Young Investigator Award and in 2011 the ERC Research Grant as well as the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstädter Young Investigator Prize. In 2013, he was awarded the Binder Innovation Prize of the German Society for Cell Biology.

The Max Planck Fellow Programme of the Max Planck Society was established in 2005 in order to promote the cooperation between outstanding university professors and Max Planck Society researchers. The appointment of university professors as Max Planck Fellow is limited to a five –year period and also entails the supervision of a small research group at a Max Planck Institute. The funding can be extended for 5 more years on a one-off basis.

Apart from Prof. Grill, Prof. Elly Tanaka, Prof. Michele Solimena, Prof. Michael Ruck and Prof. Roland Ketzmerick have been appointed Max Planck Fellows during the last years. In Germany, there are approximately 40 Max Planck Fellows, 5 of them at the TU Dresden.



Zuwachs für die Dresdner Biotechnologiebranche: Die Zellmechanik Dresden GmbH, ein Spin-off der TU Dresden, bringt ein Forschungsgerät auf den Markt, das u. a. den mechanischen Fingerabdruck von Blut bestimmen kann. Die Unternehmensgründung basiert auf der Entwicklung eines neuartigen Verfahrens zur Bestimmung der mechanischen Eigenschaften von Zellen in der Arbeitsgruppe von Prof. Dr.  Jochen Guck am Biotechnologischen Zentrum der TU Dresden (BIOTEC). Die Forschungsarbeiten wurden von der Europäischen Union, der Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung und dem Freistaat Sachsen gefördert. Zwei der Erfinder der Methode bilden mit drei weiteren Mitgliedern das Gründungsteam des Unternehmens.

 „An Ostdeutschlands einziger Exzellenz-Universität, der TU Dresden, wurde einmal mehr zukunftsweisende Grundlagenforschung betrieben. Umso mehr freue ich mich, dass auch aus diesem Umfeld im Bereich der Biotechnologie Projekte zur Marktreife gebracht werden und neue Unternehmen entstehen – auch ermöglicht durch die effektiven Technologietransfer-Mechanismen am Standort“, sagt Heike Lutoschka, Abteilungsleiterin Wirtschaftsstrategie und Marketing im Amt für Wirtschaftsförderung der Landeshauptstadt Dresden.

Neues Verfahren revolutioniert die Diagnostik von Krankheiten – Aussagen über den Gesundheitszustand sind früher und einfacher möglich
Im Gegensatz zu herkömmlichen Verfahren zur zerstörungsfreien Analyse von Zellpopulationen werden für die Methode „Real-Time Deformability Cytometry“ (RT-DC) weder Antikörper noch Fluoreszenz oder andere externe Biomarker benötigt. Die Information liegt in der Zelle selbst: „Die Zellen haben mechanische Eigenschaften, anhand derer sie unterschieden werden können. Krebszellen sind beispielsweise leichter verformbar als gesunde Zellen. Das können wir ertasten“, sagt Professor Guck.
Eine Hochgeschwindigkeitskamera, die mehrere tausend Bilder pro Sekunde schießt, stellt dabei Deformationen jeder einzelnen Zelle in Echtzeit fest. „So können wir die mechanischen Eigenschaften von mehreren hundert Zellen pro Sekunde messen. Das erlaubt uns in einer Minute Analysen, für die vergleichbare Technologien eine Woche benötigen“, erläutert Dr. Oliver Otto. So gelingt die Charakterisierung aller Blutzellarten inklusive Aktivierungsstatus der Zellen in nur 15 Minuten. Durch den hohen Durchsatz an Zellen reicht dafür ein Tropfen Blut aus. Etablierte Ansätze der medizinischen Diagnostik könnten damit durch einen einfachen und direkt zugänglichen Parameter ergänzt und damit die Anzahl zusätzlicher und teurer Analysen reduziert werden. „Das ist gerade bei dem mechanischen Fingerabdruck weißer Blutzellen entscheidend, der ein Abbild des Immunsystems und dessen Zustands ist “, so Dr. Otto weiter.

Preise und Auszeichnungen verweisen auf  den Stellenwert des Verfahrens
Neben vielen anderen Preisen ist das Gründungsprojekt im Juli dieses Jahres mit dem 2. Platz beim Sonderpreis „Emerging Industries“ im Rahmen des europäischen C3-Projektes ausgezeichnet worden. Diese Auszeichnung ist für herausragende Projekte an der Schnittstelle von Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie und Life Sciences vergeben worden.
Im Projekt C3-Saxony haben sich die Technologiecluster Silicon Saxony (Mikro- und Nanoelektronik) und biosaxony (Life Sciences) vereint, um gemeinsam die Entwicklung interdisziplinärer Technologien voranzutreiben. Das von der Europäischen Union geförderte Projekt wird vom Sächsischen Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr koordiniert.

Kontakt für Journalisten:
BIOTEC der TU Dresden
Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck
Telefon (03 51) 463 40 349
E-Mail: guck(at)biotec.tu-dresden.de

Zellmechanik Dresden GmbH
Dr. Oliver Otto, Geschäftsführer
Telefon (03 51) 463 40 324
E-Mail: otto(at)zellmechanik.com

Sich selbst heilende Axolotl, Organe aus dem 3D-Drucker, ein begehbares Auge und Elegante Würmer unterm Lego-Mikroskop


Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften: Forschung entdecken und experimentieren

Kann 3D-Druck von organähnlichen Strukturen die Notwendigkeit von Tierversuchen minimieren und die Entwicklungen in der Biomedizin beschleunigen? Inwieweit lässt sich das Wissen über die Selbstheilungskräfte des Axolotls oder des Zebrafisches auf den Menschen übertragen? Diese und viele andere spannende Fragen beantworten Wissenschaftler während der 13. Langen Nacht der Wissenschaft am Freitag, 03. Juli 2015, von 18:00 bis 1:00 Uhr im DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien Dresden – Exzellenzcluster an der TU Dresden (CRTD), Fetscherstraße 105, 01307 Dresden. Forschungsgruppen des CRTD, des Biotechnologischen Zentrums der TU Dresden (BIOTEC), des Zentrums für Innovationskompetenz B CUBE, des Paul-Langerhans-Instituts (PLID) sowie des Deutschen Zentrums für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE) lassen sich in dieser Nacht über die Schulter schauen, halten Vorträge und laden zum Mitmachen ein. Für Kinder gibt es Extra-Touren zu den Axolotln sowie spannende Entdeckungen unter Mikroskopen. Internationale Studententeams sowie Schüler der CRTD-Partnerschule Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Gymnasium zeigen Experimente.

Die Exponate der Forschungsgruppen des Netzwerkes Biopolis Dresden, die im CRTD gemeinsam in dieser Nacht ausstellen, reichen von der Bioinformatik über die Zellbiologie bis hin zur Biophysik. Viele Stationen aus den Bereichen der regenerativen Therapien und der Biotechnologie bieten Experimente und Einblicke in Forschungsarbeiten an, die zum Ziel haben, neue Therapien für bisher unheilbare Erkrankungen wie zum Beispiel Diabetes oder Demenz zu entwickeln. Wissenschaftler erklären unter anderem, warum bei Zebrafischen Flossen oder Teile des Herzens nachwachsen, zeigen am Mikroskop, wie sich Zellen teilen, biologische Strukturen in 3D gedruckt werden können oder wie sich neue Nervenzellen im erwachsenen Gehirn bilden. Über Ursachen und neue Therapieansätze bei Autoimmunerkrankungen und neurodegenerativen Erkrankungen der Netzhaut informieren die Wissenschaftler der Institute.

Die kleinen Besucher werden auf speziellen Kindertouren durch das CRTD geführt: Sie lernen das Axolotl kennen- der mexikanische Salamander, der nach Verletzungen Arme und Beine nachwachsen lassen kann. Beim  Blick durch das Mikroskop,  werden sie Strukturen entdecken, die mit dem bloßen Auge nicht erkennbar sind.
Darüber hinaus wird es einen eigenen Bereich für Kinder geben, in dem sie kreativ tätig werden und spielerisch experimentieren können.


Das vollständige Programm für die Station 21, Fetscherstraße 105 mit weiteren Angaben zur Kindertour, Vorträgen und Ausstellungen ist im Internet unter www.wissenschaftsnacht-dresden.de nachzulesen.

Scientists open new chapter in cell biology and medicine


Nature Methods publishes innovative method for mechanical screening of biological cells developed in Dresden

An entirely new approach for the mechanical characterization of cells, developed by scientists of the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases. Cells, like any other material, have mechanical properties that can serve for their characterization. For example, cancer cells are characteristically more deformable than healthy cells. These mechanical properties can be determined without specialized, costly and time-consuming preparation, which makes them highly attractive for diagnosis and prognosis in medical applications. However, there has so far been a lack of an adequate method to mechanically screen large populations of cells in a short amount of time. Scientists at the TU Dresden have now presented a novel method, which addresses this need and which will help to answer many open questions in biology, physics, chemistry and medicine. The method is now being published in the current issue of Nature Methods.

Press release
Photo: Real-Time Deformability Cytometry (RT-DC) to determine the mechanical fingerprint of blood. Cells flow at a velocity of 10 cm/s from right to left through the microfluidic channel (width oft the image shown: 1.5 mm). The sheath flow from the upper and lower right corners focuses the cells for cell deformability measurements in the narrowest part of the channel. This focusing causes the formation of heart-shaped streamlines as illustrated here by an inverted overlay of many single frames. ©BIOTEC



BIOTEC Junior researcher lays cornerstone for biotech start-up and receives Georg Helm Award


The BIOTEC-student Philipp Rosendahl has received the Georg-Helm-Preis of the Verein zur Förderung von Studierenden der Technischen Universität Dresden e.V. for his diploma thesis “Mechanical Characterization of Suspended Cells in Microfluidic Channels”. The prize is annually awarded to three students of the TU Dresden for great excellence and high impact results of their scientific thesis since 1995. Philipp Rosendahl has conducted his research in the group of Professor Jochen Guck at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC).

The 28-year old physics student co-developed an innovative method, called real-time deformability (RT-DC), for the analysis of the mechanical properties of biological cells with an unprecedented throughput of over 100 cells/second. Using RT-DC it is possible to obtain a “mechanical fingerprint” of whole blood, which can be used to sensitively assess the health state of patients within minutes. Currently, Philipp Rosendahl continues this project as a PhD student in the research group of Prof. Guck.

The great impact this novel method might have on fundamental and applied research, as well as clinical applications, is becoming evident by an ever-increasing number of scientific collaborations. Encouraged by the feedback of the scientific community and supported by the TU Dresden, the state of Saxony and the EU, Prof. Guck and his team are now setting up a spin-off company to commercialize RT-DC. The company, ZellMechanik Dresden, aims to make this innovative cell mechanical analysis device available to researchers and clinicians all over the world.

Press release
Photo: Philipp Rosendahl ©Susan Rosendahl

Let's torque about sex, baby: How chiral torques break left-right symmetry


A developing organism needs axes for orientation: Where is the top, where the lower part of the body, back and front? A third axis defines where the left and the right side goes. If you look at the sirface of our body, there is a clar axis with a symetrically mirrored left and right side. However, if you look at the inside, the organs are not at all arranged in a symmetric manner. How do cells break the left-right symmetry?

The Grill Lab uncovered a novel activity of the actomyosin cortex in C. elegans at the 4-cell stage: It generates active torques, counter-rotating flows that, in a screw-like motion, facilitate symmetry breaking.

Original paper: Sundar Ram Naganathan, Sebastian Fürthauer, Masatoshi Nishikawa, Frank Jülicher, Stephan W Grill: Active torque generation by the actomyosin cell cortex drives left-right symmetry breaking, eLife, 17 December 2014

Further information

press release by Florian Frisch (MPI-CBG)

BIOTEC Forum 2014: Molecules, Cells, and Tissue – Biomechanics Across Scales


More than 200 international scientists interchange about current research results at the BIOTEC Forum 2014 in Dresden from December 8th to December 9th, 2014. The Forum which is organized by the Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC) and the Center for Innovation Competence B CUBE at the TU Dresden since 2007 is focusing on „Biomechanics across scales – molecules, cells, tissue“ this year. The purpose of the open communication platform is to create worldwide cooperations between the working groups of biomechanics, biophysics, cell and developmental biology.

German Press Release

TUD Team ‘Dresden DNAmic’ successful at the International BIOMOD Contest in Harvard


For the third time in a row, a students team of TU Dresden yesterday reached the second place at an international science contest in Harvard (USA): Under the supervision of cfaed research group leader Dr. Thorsten-Lars Schmidt, twelve students of the BIOTEC master's programs 'Molecular Bioengineering' und 'Nanobiophysics' took part in the annual ‘Harvard Biomolecular Design Competition’ (BIOMOD) in Boston. The interdisciplinary team ‘Dresden DNAmic’ uses the DNA-Origami-technique to create a nanometer-sized photonic circuit with the helices of the genetic code carrier and gold nanoparticles.
In the previous two years, the TUD teams ‘Dresden Nanormous’ (2013) and the ‘Dresden Nanosaurs’ (2012) also reached a second place each. The ‘Dresden DNAmics’ received the third prize in the category ‘Best video’, the first prize for the best website and therefore came on the second place over all. The winner was a team from Australia.

“The target of our project is the production of plasmonic waveguides,” the biochemist Leon Bichmann of the ‘Dresden DNAmic’ Team explains. “The laser light propagates from gold particle to gold particle along the path provided by the DNA origami. We want to construct photonic nanocircuits which can guide signals much faster than electric signals in a wire. The DNA will be used in a completely new context, not as a carrier for genetic information but as a building material.” Applications might include smart phones and computers as well as medical technologies.

The BIOMOD jury will judge not only the project itself, but also the project’s website, a live presentation and a video clip. Furthermore, the students had to find sponsors of industry and science for their project. “Also at the ‘Long Night of Science’ and at the senior academy in Dresden, we presented the concept of our DNA circuits”, team member Jana Sievers remembers. “Since January 2014, we worked on the project – a good exercise also for the master thesis”, the biotechnologist says.
The participation in this competition was initiated by TUD's 'B CUBE – Center for Molecular Bioengineering' and 'Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC)'. The international competition, in which 30 teams of the whole world participate, is organized by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. From 2010 to 2013, Dr. Thorsten-Lars Schmidt had spent his Post-Doc-period there, before he moved to Dresden as a research group leader of the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed), the Cluster of Excellence for Electronics of Technische Universität Dresden (TUD).

Photo: BIOMOD students ©BIOTEC

BIOTEC Researcher is one of the „Highly Cited Researchers 2014”


Thomson Reuters publishes ranking list of outstanding researchers

The ranking list „Highly Cited Researchers 2014“ by Thomson Reuters named Dr. Michael Kuhn of the Biotechnology Center at the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) as one of the worldwide most cited researchers in the area biology and biochemistry. The American media company has evaluated the citation of scientific publications from 2002 until 2012 and listed 3,215 distinguished researchers in 21 different research areas in total.

Press Release

Photo: Michael Kuhn from the BIOTEC is one of the "Highly Cited Researchers 2014" ©BIOTEC

New cells is what the human needs: More than 1,880 Visitors visited the CRTD during the Long Night of Science


Is it possible to determine the physical characteristics of cells with the power of light, running water or tiny feathers? Why is the look of a mouse different to a fly? Answers to these and other fascinating questions were given to more than 1,600 visitors at the CRTD during the 12th Long Night of Sciences. Scientists of the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies – Cluster of Excellence (CRTD), the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC), the ZIK BCUBE, the German Center for Diabetes Research/Paul Langerhans Institute (DZD/PLID), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease (DZNE), TU Chemnitz, the Life Science Incubator (LSI), the CRTD cooperation school Kooperationsschule Martin-Anderson-Nexö-Gymnasium (MANOS), the School Projects, and the Nanomod students presented their research on July 5th, 2014 from 6pm – 1 am: At various stations, lectures, and children tours it was possible for anyone to get an insight into the work of the CRTD and other institutes in the network. The visitors were able to catch the criminal with the aid of finger prints and blood samples, they learned more about the regenerative capacity of Axolotls and zebrafish, they tried to get along in the darkness of blind persons as well as learned about forces in the cell or latest diabetes and neurodegenerative research.

We want to say "Thank you" to all the scientists for their contributions to this successful Long Night of Science. They made this diverse program possible.
The next Dresden Science Night will be on July 3rd, 2015.

 Photo: CSI – Dresden: Catch the criminal! ©CRTD

European Funding: On the Road to Diagnosis Device for Blood Cells


BIOTEC Professor transfers research results into commercial application

Professor Jochen Guck of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) will initialize the commercialization of a new developed technology with the assistance of a “Proof of Concept Grants”, which is awarded by the  European Research LZ zu viel Council (ERC). The aim is to measure with an innovative device the mechanical features of cells for detecting early the disease of sepsis. For twelve months, 150,000 Euros are available for the physicist to evaluate the commercial application of the new method and to arrange the marketing.

German Press Release

Axolotl, „CSI BIOTEC“, and Drums Alive – new cells is what the human needs


Long Night of Science: Discover Science and Experiments

Is it possible to determine the physical characteristics of cells with the power of light, running water or tiny feathers? Is it possible to develop methods and new instruments for the clinical diagnostics of infections and diseases from the results? These exciting questions will be answered by scientists in the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden (CRTD), Fetscherstraße 105, 01307 Dresden during the Long Night of Science on Friday, July 4th, 2014 from 6pm to 1am. Research groups of the CRTD, the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC), the Center for Innovation BCUBE, the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden (PLID), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), as well as the Sports Medicine of the TU Chemitz will offer a look over their shoulder, give talks and invite visitors to actively participate in experiments. For children, there will be extra tours to the Axolotl. International student teams and students of the CRTD cooperation school Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Gymnasium will show experiments.

Download Photo: On extra tours children can microscope and visit the Axolotl.©CRTD

German Press Release

Program in German

Website of the Long Night of Science

Here is the new LNdW mobile app for Android smartphones.

Here is the new LNdW mobile app for iOS devices.

HFSP Funding for international Research Project at the BIOTEC: Switching Molecular Engines in Cells with Light


The organization „Human Frontier Science Program Organization“ (HFSP) funds an international research cooperation under the direction of Professor Stephan Grill of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC). Together with Professor Zev Bryant of the Stanford University Schools of Medicine and Engineering (USA), and Professor Alpha Yap of the University of Queensland (Australia), a method is established to switch molecular engines in cells and tissue with light. This cooperation is funded over three years with more than one million US dollars.

German Press Release

Photo: Professor Stephan Grill of the BIOTEC directs the research cooperation funded with more than one million US dollars by the HFSP. ©BIOTEC

FANTOM5 - a Parts List for Cell Type Definition


The FANTOM5 project examines how our genome encodes the fantastic diversity of cell types that make up a human

After several years concerted effort by over 250 researchers in 114 labs based in more than 20 countries and regions, the FANTOM consortium publish a series of coordinated papers, a pair of landmark papers in Nature, and 15 other related papers in 9 journals today(ref.1,2,3). The papers published in Nature describe maps of promoters and enhancers encoded in the human genome, and their activity across the vast wealth of human cell types and tissues of the human body. Part of this concerted work was in particular Dr. Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, research group leader at the Biotechnology Center at the TU Dresden (BIOTEC), who has created as biomedical cyberneticist theoretical structures out of the numerous data. (Link to the studies in Nature: dx.doi.org 10.1038/nature13182)

German Press Release

Link to the RIKEN Press Release

Photo: In a series of meetings got together the researchers of the FANTOM5 consortium in that took part over 250 researchers in 114 labs based in more than 20 countries and regions. They created the parts list for cell type definition. ©RIKEN

„Sächsischer Biotechnologietag 2014“ – Awards for Research Studies at the Competitive Exhibition


More than 220 researchers and entrepreneurs of biotechnology in Saxony and further federal states as well as European countries have visited the “Sächsische Biotechnologietag 2014” that was organized by the Biotechnology Center at the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and the “Biotechnologische-Biomedizinische Zentrum” (BBZ) from the university of Leipzig with the assistance of biosaxony e. V. “The new concept of a competitive exhibition in the Saxon biotechnology sector in research, economics, and commercial applications works”, says Professor Michael Schroeder, director of the BIOTEC. Thirteen guest speakers covered the first steps of a researcher for commercializing his research results up to the point of the presentation of successfully established internationally acting enterprises. 29 Saxon industry exhibitors, among them start-ups of the TU Dresden and other scientific institutes, showed their products and technological applications in the foyer of the DFG-Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden (CRTD).

The poster session representedresearch results with a high potential of commercial applications. Joachim Haupt from BIOTEC received the 1. award for his research. Awarded were also Nicole Körber and Vuk Savkovic, both of the “Translationszentrum für Regenerative Medizin“ of the Universität Leipzig.

For the first time biosaxony e. V. awarded the best Bachelor’s and Master’s theses that students from Saxony had written in the subject of biotechnology. Claudia Heber was awarded the best Bachelor’s thesis  (conducted at „Berufsakademie Riesa“ and „Deutsche Biomasse Forschungszentrum Leipzig“). The second award was given to Helene Henning (B CUBE – Center for Molecular Bioengineering) and the third to Benedikt Schwarze (Universität Leipzig). Catleen Conrad (TU Bergakademie Freiberg) received the award for the best Master’s thesis in Saxony, followed by Tom Kunschmann (Universität Leipzig), and Sebastian Salentin (BIOTEC).

Photo: 29 Saxon industry exhibitors showed their products and technological applications in the foyer of the CRTD.  ©BIOTEC

„Sächsischer Biotechnologietag 2014“ – Converting Basic Research to Commercial Applications


The “Sächsische Biotechnologietag 2014” (Saxon Biotechnology Day 2014) presents itself as a competitive exhibition of Saxon biotechnology in research, economics, and commercial applications on March 19th, 2014. It  is organized by the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and the  “Biotechnologisch-Biomedizinischen-Zentrum der Universität Leipzig” (BBZ) with the assistance of biosaxony e. V.

In 2014,  the “Sächsische Biotechnologietag as a Saxon wide forum will play a key role as communication and cooperation platform among researchers, enterprises, and technology transfer centers in Saxony . The realigned program  covers the first steps of a researcher for commercializing his research results to the point of the presentation of successfully established internationally acting enterprises. The main topics are „How to start and grow a business“, „Drug Discovery“, and „Sequencing“. More than 200 researchers and entrepreneurs from Saxony, Germany, and abroad are expected. This forum is framed by a competitive exhibition of Saxon biotechnology enterprises.

German Press Release

PROMOS Scholarship for BIOTEC and CRTD Masterstudents


Two students of the master’s programs of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and DFG-Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden (CRTD) are awarded with a PROMOS scholarship of 300 Euros per month as a support for their 6-months stay at a US institution for their master’s thesis.  PROMOS is a scholarship program from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) that supports short stay abroad of maximum 6 months so as to increase the mobility of German students. It is awarded on basis of academic excellence, motivation and relevance of the project.

Elisabeth Brandl, student in the CRTD master’s program “Regenerative Biology and Medicine” will do her thesis at the Diabetes Center of University of California in the group of Matthias Hebrok. Christian Winkler, student in the BIOTEC master’s program” Molecular Bioengineering”, will conduct his master’s thesis at the Fraunhofer Institute in Boston in the group of Alexis Sauer-Budge on Nanoscale Proteomics.

Photo: The Masterstudents Christian Winkler and Elisabeth Brandl are awarded with a PROMOS scholarship for their stay at a US institution for their master’s thesis.©BIOTEC/CRTD

Nikos Kyritsis receives “PhD Student Award in Regenerative Medicine”


The “Best Publication Award” by the Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (BSRT) was awarded to Dr. Nikos Kyritsis from the research group of Professor Michael Brand at the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden - Cluster of Excellence (CRTD) at the TU Dresden.  The prize is given once a year by BSRT for excellent publications which promote the research on regenerative therapies. From the 15 submitted publications the independent jury had voted for Kyritsis paper „Acute Inflammation Initiates the Regenerative Response in the Adult Zebrafish Brain “ which was  published in November 2012 in the journal Science (Science 2012, DOI 10.1126.science.1228773).

Injuries in the human brain and spinal cord cause an inflammatory response. Since decades it is discussed in medicine, if this reaction of the immune system after injuries of the central nervous system is rather promoting or inhibiting the healing process. For the first time, Dr. Nikos Kyritsis has demonstrated, using zebrafish as a model, that the inflammatory reaction is necessary for the regeneration of neuronal cells upon brain injury. In addition, they identified an inflammatory mechanism, which is regulating the activation of neural stem cell upon injury and leads to brain regeneration. The brains of humans and zebrafish might be different regarding size and appearance however they are evolutionarily related in terms of Neuroanatomy and Genetics, making zebrafish a great model to study acute central nervous system injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. Further information

Photo: Dr. Nikos Kyritsis ©CRTD

DFG further funds lipid research in Dresden, Heidelberg und Bonn


The German Research Association (DFG) extends the funding of the collaborative research center / Transregio (SFB/TTR 83) “Molecular Architecture and Cellular Functions of Lipid/Protein Assemblies”, a network of lipid research at the universities in Dresden, Heidelberg and Bonn, for another four years. Speaker University is the University of Heidelberg. In Dresden, the SFB/TRR83 is located at the BIOTEC with Professor Bernard Hoflack as regional speaker. The DFG granted from 2014 to 2017 funds of 6,9 million Euros. Dresden receives more than 2 million Euros for lipid research from this funding. The SFB/TRR83 was initially funded from January 2010 on for four years with 8,66 million Euros.

German Press Release.

Professorship for Biophysics at the BIOTEC was newly appointed


Stephan Grill has accepted the professorship for biophysics at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC). Before he was groupleader in Dresden at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetic as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems. Particularly he is interested in molecular machines, their functions in cells as well as the responsible interaction among each other that constitute living organisms.

Photo: Professor Stephan Grill is a new groupleader at the BIOTEC. ©BIOTEC

British Ambassador is visiting the CRTD


Simon McDonald CMG, British Ambassador in Berlin, and Kenan Poleo, Regional Director UK Science and Innovation Network - Europe, Russia and Turkey, visited the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden (CRTD) during their stay in Dresden. Professor Elly Tanaka (CRTD) and Professor Jochen Guck from the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden presented the research areas of both institutes. In particular they were interested in the regeneration research on Axolotl of Professor Elly Tanaka.

In the evening, the British Ambassador started the lecture series “Wissensbrücken” of the TU Dresden with his talk „Creating Prosperity – is research expensive theory or driver for growth?”. The lecture series records different aspects of the synergetic university and will reveal approaches for the complex challenges of the 21th century in the dialogue between science, economy, culture and politics.

Picture: Professor Elly Tanaka explained the British Ambassador in Germany, Simon McDonald, the regeneration of Axolotls.©CRTD

Mayor of Dresden received international scientists


450 international guests visited the reception of the Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz at the State Museum Albertinum on September 12th, 2013, including scientist of the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence (CRTD), the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC), and the Center for Molecular Bioengineering (B CUBE). This year the event was themed “Welcome Culture”. To the reception invited were people, who came to Dresden from abroad and live  here permanently or temporarily for professional reasons. After the special concert of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra there was time for exchange between the scientists and the Mayor.

Picture: The Dresden Mayor (in the middle) with scientists from the CRTD and BIOTEC ©:Stadt Dresden/ Matthias Rietschel

New day care places for CRTD and BIOTEC employees


Employees of the DFG Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) and the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) can look forward to more day care places for their children. Today, the part of the day care for kids until 3 years of age is opening on Loschwitzer Straße 21. On August 1st, the day care part for kids from age 3 will open. There are 21 places reserved for children of employees of the CRTD and the BIOTEC. Next to the Kita Biopolis, which opened in 2009, this is the second day care with reserved spots for BIOTEC and CRTD employees. The Thüringer Sozialakademie is operating the day care center on Loschwitzer Straße as well as the Biopolis one. The new day care is located in the Villa St. Petersburg that was built in 1872 in the style of historism. In 1995, the villa was renovated and used most recently by the Institut für Bildung und Beratung. After a further renovation and reconstruction the villa can now be used as day care.

Photo: Day care on Loschwitzer Straße 21. ©CRTD

Work against Poverty at the „Day of Action genialsozial 2013” – Pupils work at the BIOTEC


During the Saxon „Day of Action genialsozial 2013” on July 9, 2013 pupils can exchange a day in school for a day at work in companies, associations, or institutes. Their wages are afterwards donated to humanitarian or social projects. Today there are two pupils, grade 5 and 7 from two different grammar schools, working in the Biotechnology Center at the TU Dresden in the office of the administration and in the media kitchen that prepares solutions and culture media for the scientific work. This year, the BIOTEC is participating for the first time in this initiative of the Saxon Youth Foundation. One part of the wages this year will benefit the flood aid. In addition, projects of the development cooperation in Guatemala, Mozambique, and Madagascar are supported.

Website of the initiative:  http://www.genialsozial.de

Summer Party at the Kita Biopolis


For the children of the Kita Biopolis who celebrated their summer party with families and friends in magnificent summer weather, the water slide was an ideal cooling. One highlight was the participatory circus, which was sponsored by the “Friends of the Day Care Centre Biopolis e.V.”: The children practiced how to juggle, jumped over imaginary fire like lions, or performed little tricks as waddling penguins. The girls from the dancing project “Tanzmäuse” had practiced two dances, which they performed with umbrellas and scarfs.
The Kindergarten Biopolis is a joint facility of the Thüringer Sozialakademie, the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden, the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden, and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.

Photo: Dancing Girls of the Kita Biopolis. ©Privat

Axolotl, Bananas, and Genes: More than 1,600 Visitors came into the CRTD during the Long Night of Science


Which organism has the most genes? Answers to these and other fascinating questions were given to more than 1,600 visitors at the CRTD during the 11th Long Night of Sciences. Scientists of the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies – Cluster of Excellence (CRTD), the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC), the ZIK BCUBE, the Paul Langerhans Institute (PLID), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), and the Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus presented their research on July 5th, 2013 from 6pm – 1 am: At various stations, lectures, and children tours it was possible for anyone to get an insight into the work of the CRTD and other institutes in the network. The visitors were able to extract DNA from bananas together with international students of the School Project, they learned more about the regenerative capacity of Axolotls and zebrafish as well as about forces in the cell or latest diabetes and neurodegenerative research. By the way: Plants like horse tail or tulips possess more genes than mammalians like the human being.

We want to say "Thank you" to all the scientists for their contributions to this successful long night of science. They made this diverse program possible.
The next Dresden Science Night will be on July 4th, 2014.

Photo: Examining the samples under a microscope for children. ©CRTD

From Basic Research to Therapeutic Application. Saxony funds five translation projects of the BIOTEC and CRTD


Four research projects of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) and one project of the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence of the TU Dresden (CRTD) receive a funding by the Saxon Ministry of Science and Fine Arts (SMWK). The aid money is provided by the Free State of Saxony in the "Offensive Biotechnology and Life Sciences 2020" for sustaining the available future potential of the region, which was " launched end of 2012.In the next two years there will be nine million Euros invested in the key technologies biotechnology and life sciences.  Out of 144 applications submitted from Saxony, 26 projects were chosen for funding with the goal of research and their economical application (translation).

See German Press Release

Interior Design for Stem Cells


How are stem cells influenced by their environment? For a better understanding of this question, scientists of the Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden, the Medical Faculty of the TU Dresden and the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden have reproduced the micro environment of stem cells in the laboratory. They have developed a matrix structure in which human blood stem cells grow three times faster than with previous conditions. These results were published June 16th in the journal Nature Method (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.2523).

Axolotl, new Neural Stem Cells, and DNA from Bananas


Long Night of Science: Discover Science and experiment

What are genes made of? How many genes has a human being? These exciting questions will be answered by scientists in the DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden – Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden (CRTD), Fetscherstraße 105, 01307 Dresden during the Long Night of Science on Friday, July 5th, 2013 from 6pm to 1am.  Research groups of the CRTD, the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC), the Center for Innovation BCUBE, the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden (PLID), the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), as well as the Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus will offer a look over their shoulder, will give talks and invite visitors to actively participate in experiments.  For children there will be extra tours to the Axolotl. International student teams and students of the CRTD cooperation school Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Gymnasium will show experiments.

German Press Release

Website Long Night of Science 2013



Natural Scientists and Humanists acquire information together


Creating interdisciplinary dynamic is the goal of 40 genetics, chemists, and historians who will meet at the workshop “Transmission of Information in the time and in space in the Dresden Bioinnovation Center from June 16th to 18th, 2013. This multidisciplinary international symposium on acquirement of information takes place for the first time and  is organized by the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC), the Center for Innovation “Center for Molecular Bioengineering“ (ZIK BCUBE), and the Research Centre for the Comparative History of Religious Orders (FOVOG) at the TU Dresden.

German Press Release

Website of the Workshop

Twelve million euros for Dresden SBF 655 „ Cells into tissues“


German Research Foundation funds Dresden cutting-edge research for another four years

The third period of the Collaborative Research Center (Sonderforschungsbereich) SFB 655 "From cells to tissues - commitment and interaction of stem cells and progenitor cells during tissue formation" will start on 1 July 2013. After the continued application of the Technical University had been successfully evaluated in mid-March 2013 in Dresden, now the Grants Committee of the German Research Foundation DFG in Bonn approved funding for another four years. For this period, the SFB 655 will receive about twelve million euros. German Press Release

A real-time view onto the rules of life


Naturally occurring bacteria and viruses are in a constant struggle for existence among each other. Bacteria developed a kind of immune system in order to protect themselves from virus attacks: Special defense enzymes can destroy the viral genetic information (DNA) and at the same time assure that the DNA of the bacterium isn’t attacked. In this process involved are markers on the DNA of the bacteria that are missing in the viruses. Physicists of the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) were examining in cooperation with scientists from the University of Bristol, how the defense enzymes scan the bacteria DNA for these markers and how they communicate between them in order to start the defense mechanism. They were able to observe for the first time in real-time how the defense enzymes move by means of thermic energy very efficiently between two markers that are located far apart in the genome. The results of this study were published in the magazine Science. 

See German Press Release


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