I received a Masters in Chemistry (University of Munich, Germany) and a PhD (University of Bonn, Germany) in Biochemistry. I first got in touch with nucleic acid aptamers during my PhD and evolved into a kind of “aptamer super-freak” since. After three of founding a company, I continued my academic career in Bonn (the former capitol of Germany) and Glasgow (UK). Since 2010 I am professor of chemical biology & aptamers (University of Bonn), where I explore the broad applicability of aptamers for basic research and my group is involved in developing novel therapeutic and diagnostic strategies.
About the lab
Our research group consists of an interdisciplinary and international team of enthusiastic scientists from countries worldwide (e.g. US, Spain, Algeria). We put a particular emphasis on collegiality and a strong team spirit. The tools and model organisms we employ to address our research questions provide an outstanding opportunity for education and research development at all career levels. Our laboratory is exceptionally well equipped for performing research in the fields of molecular biology, microbiology, chemical biology, and cell biology. Equipment for protein expression, purification and analysis is available (e.g. Äkta FPLC) as well as instrumentation to synthesize and characterize low molecular weight organic molecules and nucleic acids (e.g. DNA/RNA synthesizer, Nanoquant, phosphorimager, qPCR system, several HPLCs, Capillary electrophoresis).
We also have many instruments to analyse the interaction of nucleic acids with target molecules (e.g. Biacore 3000, ITC, Microscale thermophoresis, microtiterplate reader, LiCor Odyssey infrared imager). Also, we run chemistry laboratories and cell culture facilities for culturing eukaryotic cells, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment (e.g. NMR, microscope, fluorescence microscope, flow cytometry, confocal microscope including “uncaging”-equipment for light-control of molecules). We also have access to an isotope laboratory, which allows us to work with 32P-labelled nucleic acids.
About the project
Project 3: This project is about selecting, characterizing and applying RNA aptamers that recognize so-called flux-signalling metabolites, e.g. Fructose 1,6 diphosphate. These aptamers will be used in collaboration with other members of the MetaRNA network to develop molecular sensors and to monitor flux-signaling in cells and in real time. For this work, we will use a number of different techniques, such as robotics-based selection, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), sophisticated bioinformatics, interaction analysis and others.
Project 4: We recently employed RNA-based fluorescent molecules to generate allosteric assemblies, built from individual RNA domains. Within this project, novel RNA-based sensors for so-called flux-signaling metabolites will be generated and validated in vitro and in cells. We would like to unravel the dynamics and responsiveness of two conjoined RNA domains and their usefulness to monitor flux-signaling in real time. For this work, we will use a series of elaborated techniques, e.g. in vitro selection, fluorescent microscopy, FACS, and many more.