Diploma/Master/PhD thesis in Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry


Structures and Functions of Native Cell Membranes Probed in Two-Dimensions


Prof. Motomu Tanaka, Biophys. Chem. II and BIOQUANT, Univ. Heidelberg

The primary goal of the project is to translate three-dimensional cells into two-dimensional films by use of ultrathin, biopolymer interlayers, which provides with unique advantages for quantitative characterization of their structures and functions. Currently, we have several target systems, including: plasma membrane extracts from cells that express engineered gap junction proteins (within the BMBF project Connexone), cell membranes of human red blood cells infected by Plasmodium falciparum (collaboration with Prof. M. Lanzer, Inst. Parasitol.). The combination of the former system and sold-based device is promising for biosensor applications, while the latter opens a possibility to probe the local structures of cytoplasmic space of infected red blood cells.


Such two-dimensional cell membranes can readily be subjected to various physical and biochemical characterizations, such as specular x-ray/neutron reflectivity, immunofluorescence assays, single molecule tracking, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. X-ray/neutron reflectivity experiments will be conducted at large facilities such as European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble), Research Reactor II (Munich), and Institute Laue-Langevin (Grenoble).


The applicant is supposed to possess basic knowledge in physical chemistry or physics, preferably with some training in biological sciences.


If you have interests, please contact:

Prof. M. Tanaka (tanaka@uni-heidelberg.de)

Dr. Stefan Kaufmann (S.Kaufmann@uni-heidelberg.de)

Dr. Fernanda Rossetti (Rossetti@uni-heidelberg.de)



M. Tanaka, MRS Bulletin, 31, 513 (2006).

M. Tanaka, A. Wong, F. Rehfeldt, M. Tutus, S. Kaufmann, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 126, 3257 (2004).