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The Erlangen biophysics group studies the fundamental mechanical properties of cells, tissues, and complex soft matter. We strive to understand how cells respond to their mechanical environment, how they interact with their extracellular matrix and with neighboring cells, and what mechanisms they employ for transmigration, invasion, adhesion, contraction, and cell division. We also study the collective behavior of cells in engineered microtissue such as muscle or tumor organoids. Finally, we are interested in collective behavior in animals, in particular penguins. To address these questions, our laboratory collaborates with other research groups worldwide to develop new technologies that draw from various fields, including soft matter physics, molecular cell biology, biochemistry, engineering, and applied mathematics.

Category: Thesis

Automated image based tracking is widely used to investigate collective interactions in a variety of biological systems. Applied to diverse environments, ranging from cell to animal colonies, it provides insight into biological processes like cancer metastasis, immunological response, and social str...

Category: Research

Cell migration through a three-dimensional (3-D) matrix depends strongly on the ability of cells to generate traction forces. To overcome the steric hindrance of the matrix, cells need to generate sufficiently high traction forces but also need to distribute these forces spatially in a migration-pro...

Category: Press release, Research

Many cell types in our body, such as fibroblasts, immune cells but also cancer cells, are able to actively migrate and squeeze through the tiny pores and cell layers in our tissue. Similarly, blood cells are passively pushed and squeezed through narrow capillaries. In both cases, the deformability o...