Universiteit Leiden

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Doris Heinrich Lab (Biophysics of Cellular Dynamics)

This research group is interested in the physics of living cells, especially their cytoskeleton dynamics under defined external stimuli.


Living cells are excitable, non-linear systems, controlled by a vast number of signalling cascades. We aim at a fundamental understanding of active and passive transport processes in crowded multicomponent systems far from equilibrium, like living cells. We control cells by artificial, spacially and temporally defined chemotactic stimuli, forcing them into predefined states. Further, we explore cytoskeleton reorganisation in 3D topological environments, which define exact boundary conditions for cell migration. The process of cell adhesion to solid sufaces is mediated by actin polymerisation and plasma membrane reorganisation, dynamic processes approachable by single molecule tracking. Finally, we use nanoparticles as artificial proteins to modify and control cell function.

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