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DPG Physics School 2006
supported by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus - Foundation

24 to 29 September 2006, Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany

Active Biomimetic Materials

Josef A. Käs, (University of Leipzig) and Reinhard Lipowsky (MPI for Colloids and Interfaces Potsdam)

Soft matter physics on the scale of nanometers to tens of microns, i.e., on the scale of proteins and cells, in complex multifunctional biological matter - often far from equilibrium - are the next big challenge for materials science. A satisfying understanding of these systems, which enables material science to learn from nature, calls forth a new type of biological physics which can describe biological soft matter with active elements and which is adaptive to multipurpose. There has been tremendous progress in molecular biology. Nevertheless, this progress will only impact the design and development of new materials if a novel combination of nanosciences and soft matter physics is developed - bridging biology and engineering. The need for novel soft matter physics is exemplified in the cytoskeleton, an active network of protein filaments and molecular machines found in biological cells. In contrast to well-described, conventional materials the cytoskeleton is not a static polymer network it actively changes in response to various cellular functions, conversely mechanical stimuli applied to the cytoskeleton directly feedback into cell function. This synergetic research in physics, chemistry, engineering, and biology simultaneously advances our fundamental knowledge-base and provides novel applications in biomedicine and materials science.

Lecturers and topics:

  • Biological soft matter. The building stones of active biomimetic materials
    Reinhardt Lipowsky, MPI for Colloids and Interfaces, Golm, Germany
  • Control of Actin Assembly in Cell Motility
    Marie-France Carlier, CNRS Saclay, France
  • Hair cell, converting mechanical stimuli in electric current
    Tom Duke, Cambridge University, UK
  • The mechanics of biopolymers
    Klaus Kroy, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • Selforganisation of polymer networks induced by molecular motors
    Thomas Surrey, EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Nanomuscles in optical traps
    Joachim Spatz, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • Molecular motors
    Frank Jülicher, MPI for Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany
  • Polymerization-driven motility of colloids
    Cécile Sykes, Institute Curie, Paris, France
  • Molecular motors and filaments: selfassembled nanomuscles
    Karsten Kruse, MPI for Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany
  • Single polymer polymerization-driven forces
    Marileen Dogterom, IFOMIS, Amsterdam, NL
  • The structural properties of biopolymer networks
    Fred Mackintosh, Frieje University of Amsterdam, NL
  • Actively moving polymer networks
    Jean-Francois Joanny, Institute Curie, Paris, France
  • Active soft matter on the nano- and micron-scale: From intracellular biomechanics to cancer progression, stem cells, and neuronal growth
    Josef A. Käs, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • Nonlinear pattern formation in active polymer systems
    Walter Zimmermann, University of Bayreuth, Germany
  • Mechanosensitive polymer networks
    Ulrich Schwarz, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • Nanoassembly lines created by biopolymers and molecular motors
    Stefan Diez, MPI for Cell Biology, Dresden, Germany
  • Creating artificial molecular motors
    Thorsten Hugel, Technical University Munich, Germany
  • Interfacing the Bio- with the Nano-world
    Wolfgang Parak, Ludwigs Maximilian University, Munich, Germany

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