Molecular Bionics takes inspiration from biomolecules for the development of new technical concepts or of advanced materials. Click here for examples.
Local structural heterogeneity is the common characteristic of biogenous structures like polyclonal antibodies, of biomineralization nucleators and of collagens, to name three of our targets. In order to identify the functional properties of the observed microheterogeneity, we synthesize molecules with systematic structural variations one by one.
Epitope Barcode: We constrain a minimal set of complementary conformers of a common primary peptide sequence to differentiate subpopulations of anti-CCP (Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide) antibodies. Our aim is the differentiation of individual antibody fingerprints of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Link
Capped Collagen: We synthesize capped collagens of uniform structures which are able form composite materials with silicic acid in analogy to the collagenous “glass fibers” of deep-sea sponges. All available collagens from natural sources are indefinite mixtures of diverse degraded proteins, only characterized by their average amino acid composition.
Hyperfunctionalized Peptides: We pattern polycationic and/or polyanionic charges on short peptide to investigate their silicification properties. Up to 8 phosphate esters and more than 20 amines are linked as post-translational modifications on the microheterogenic peptide Silaffin-1A1 which nucleates biomineralization. Link
Polydisulfide Peptides: antimicrobial peptides and dimerization zippers for proteins. Link
Polyol Peptides: Self-assembly of synthetic amyloids of defined degree of oligomerization by reversible esterification Link of boroxole-linked peptides with polyhydroxylated peptides. Link
Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy is the method of choice to identify the success of synthetic late-stage modifications of supramolecularer aggregates. NMR describes three dimensional structures and interactions in solution. Computer modeling completes the range of methods by picturing the molecular function. Link
The development of synthetic methods is at the center of the above-listed scientific questions. The target structures have technical applications like Medicinal Chemistry or aim at fundamental scientific questions like Prebiotic Chemistry.
If you are interested to join us working on one of the above projects, please contact Prof. Geyer