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Schlierf Group - Home

We are interested in conformational dynamics of biomolecules.

In particular, we study (membrane) protein folding, protein-DNA interactions during DNA replication and recombination and regulatory DNA and RNA conformations.

Cells constantly react to environmental challenges by efficient and rapid adaptation. This adaptive process is mastered by enzymes, which are often located on the periphery of the cell or near the genome. Here, they play a key role in processing information, as they undergo conformational changes and thereby activate or silence other enzymes. Our lab is interested in providing a mechanistic understanding of conformational changes during molecular structure formation (e.g. protein folding, DNA secondary structure formation) and intermolecular interactions and competitions, e.g. receptor ligand interactions or competion of enzymes for similar DNA targets. All these observations are supported by continuous development of cutting-edge single-molecule instrumentations. 

A prominent interface between physics and biology is the field of microscopy. Over the past centuries, advances in light microscopy have often enabled a closer look on biological questions, while at the same time questions arising from biology have inspired technical or conceptual improvements for microscopy. Challenges like synchronization or heterogeneity can now be mastered by a set of different single-molecule methods, which have raised new questions from biology and inspired further development of instrumentation and assays. Our lab works at the interface of biophysical method development and molecular biology, where the unique combination of expertise present in the team helps to realize our long-term vision: painting an experimentally-based, dynamic portrait of the living cell with maximum resolution - single molecule, single event, (sub)nanometer and pico-Newton accuracy.

The Team