ENROL aims at engineering functional interfaces between inorganic and bio-organic systems in order to push them towards new levels of understanding and technological applications. We thus propose a combined and synergistic effort based on the following three research areas (RA):
RA1: Theoretical Prediction, Model Systems, and Analysis (Research Projects 1 to 7): Self-assembly of bio-molecules into desired structures requires a deeper understanding of the interactions of the constituent entities. Here, theoretical approaches and the study of model systems are indispensable to predict these properties. Eventually, new approaches as developed in RA2 demand for new data analysis strategies..
RA2: Synthesis, Structuring & Instrumentation (Research Projects 8 to 15): Surfaces will be engineered via synthetic polymer chemistry or by using techniques based on the self-assembly of (bio‑) molecules and colloidal particles.. Two-photon polymerization will be used to generate 3-dimensionally structured materials. New chemistry will open the pathway to defined functionalization. Novel multimodal imaging approaches will be established for (automated) quantification of (multi-)cellular responses.
- RA3: Biological Applications (Reasearch Projects 16 to 24): Synthesis and structuring will be guided by specific biological applications. They will be used as experimental validation systems, which enable us to refine and continuously improve the novel interfaces based on functional cell biological readout models, such as multicellular clusters, immune cells, fungi, neurons, and cardiomyocytes.
These three research areas are highly interconnected to leverage continuous exchange of the latest results and transfer of know-how between the different groups. In consequence, each PhD project is embedded in a stimulating research environment, which will facilitate a continuous process of project adjustments in order to improve the developed materials, the chosen experimental approaches, and the established theoretical prediction algorithms.