Ultra sensitive and robust POCT approaches for diagnostics
Prof. Dr. Frank Bier’s research group of Molecular Bioanalytics and Bioelectronics focuses on medical diagnostics, especially the development of point-of-care testings (POCT), using different molecular biological and biochemical techniques. Currently, the work focuses on various assay developments for the detection of COVID-19. The main motivation is to design smart and innovative POCT suitable for at-home-testing. One of the research projects investigates the detection of viral RNA to enable an early and reliable diagnosis of infections with SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens. For a simple and sensitive detection a test strip assay format is combined with the much noticed technique of Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) of nucleic acids. For the application oriented research projects, the group collaborates with numerous research institutions as well as companies and industries mainly in Brandenburg-Berlin area.
Development of a cell-based allergy test
Allergies are on the rise, demanding potent diagnostic tools for screening of allergen-specific IgE antibodies in human blood samples. While skin-prick tests and serum IgE analysis are routinely performed, positive tests often poorly correlate with clinical symptoms. Consequently, functional cell-based assays are desperately needed. The rat basophil leukemia (RBL) 2H3 cell line constitutes an interesting in vitro system to study IgE-dependent degranulation eliminating the need to isolate mast cells from blood and tissue samples.
Intelligent and efficient technologies for antibody generation
The eighteen person strong team of Prof. Dr. Katja Hanack, the Professor of Immunotechnology at the University of Potsdam, is developing innovative technologies in antibody generation. The research team is focused on the development of intelligent and efficient technologies for the generation of antibodies, in particular monoclonal and recombinant antibodies, with the aim of combining them into a unique, efficient and fast antibody producing platform to improve significantly on the standard hybridoma technology. To date, the Group has successfully collaborated with fifteen industrial partners and twelve academic partners throughout Germany.
Optimizing industrial organisms for improved functionality and operational efficiency
Tailoring industrially relevant organisms for bulk production of functional biomolecules and enzymatic catalysts is of high economic and ecological interest. The Synthetic Biology Lab at the University of Potsdam, led by Dr. Lena Hochrein and Prof. Dr. Bernd Mueller-Roeber, develops tools for biotechnological applications in budding yeast and other microbial systems and plant cells. The group provides cutting-edge expertise in genome engineering and gene regulation for a wide range of applications in industrial settings.
Biofeedback for treating psychological symptoms
Dr. Julia Wendt's team operates at the interface of clinical and biological psychology and investigates the utility of heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback for the treatment of psychological symptoms. The interest is particularly focused on the suitability of biofeedback as a low intensity intervention, for example to bridge the waiting time for psychotherapy, or as an app-based intervention to create maximum availability and autonomy in its use.
Elucidation of protein structure
The team led by Petra Wendler, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Potsdam, uses cryo-electron microscopy and single-particle analysis to investigate the structure and structural changes of molecular machines with the highest possible resolution. The structural data obtained by cryo-electron microscopy or X-ray crystallography are combined with results from mutation analyzes and biophysical experiments, such as dynamic light scattering, in order to find answers to various biological questions.
At the University of Potsdam, the group uses a 200 kV Talos F200C equipped with a Falcon III detector to screen and visualize proteins and colloidal samples. The 3D structure of protein complexes from 200 kDa molecular weight can be solved with this setup with a resolution of up to 4 Å.
Quantifying protein-protein interactions in living cells
The group of Prof. Dr. Salvo Chiantia, Professor for Physical Biochemistry at the University of Potsdam, focuses on the application of quantitative fluorescence microscopy for the study of inter-molecular interactions. Such approaches (e.g., fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, FCS) belong to the family of fluorescence fluctuation techniques, i.e. minimally invasive methods that allow the characterization of fluorescently labeled biomolecules directly in living cells or in vitro. The analysis provides direct quantification of diffusion dynamics, protein multimerization and complex formation between different molecules.
Superstructures with nanoparticles of defined shape and size
The research group of Prof. Joachim Koetz is dealing with the synthesis of nanoparticles of different shape and size and their application as sensor materials and for the surface- enhanced Raman spectroscopy for the detection of molecules and reaction mechanisms. The important thing here is the separation and isolation of anisotropic nanoparticles (nanotriangles and nanostars) and their surface modification. In addition to the self- organization of gold and magnetite nanoparticles, the research is focused on the insertion of these particles into Janus emulsions. This makes it possible to adjust the droplet size of stimuli-sensitive Janus emulsions, and respectively the pore sizes of the resulting aerogels. The ultralight magnetic aerogels can be used for purifying liquids (dye and oil layer separation).