Finding order in chaos: scientists determine the structure of glass-shaping protein in sponges
B CUBE hosts the 4th Scientific Advisory Board meeting
Scientific Advisory Board
The mission of the Scientific Advisory Board is to provide visionary guidance for the development of the research center and to critically assess its scientific performance. Thus, the board plays an important role in strategically focusing the research directions. The members of the Scientific Advisory Board meet every two years and are in regular contact with the management of B CUBE in order to provide advise on its thematic and structural development.
Prof Lia Addadi obtained a Laurea (MSc) in Chemistry from the University of Padova, Italy, and a PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. She joined the Faculty of Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute in 1983. She received numerous prizes and honors, among them the 1998 Prelog Medal in Stereochemistry, and the 2011 Aminoff Prize by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. In 2017 she was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, and in 2018 she received an honorary PhD from the ETH in Zurich.
Lia Addadi addresses questions related to the formation of crystals in organisms, either fulfilling a physiological function, or pathologically induced. She studies the interactions between crystals and their biological environments, spanning several orders of magnitude from the molecular level to the cell and tissue level. In collaboration with Steve Weiner she investigates the strategies and design principles of mineralized tissues in biomineralization, from the formation pathways to the architecture, and finally to structure-function relations.
Prof. Dr. Tobias Erb is Director at the Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. Prof. Erb studied Chemistry and Biology at the University of Freiburg (Germany) and the Ohio State University. After stays at the University of Illinois and ETH Zürich (Switzerland) he moved to the Max Planck Institute in Marburg, where he was promoted to Director in 2017. Tobias Erb’s research centers on the discovery, function and the design of novel CO2 converting enzymes and their use in engineered and artificial photosynthesis, as well as the design and realization of synthetic chloroplasts and artificial cells.
Peter Fratzl (Chair)
Since 2003 Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Peter Fratzl heads the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm and holds honorary professorships at Humboldt University Berlin (Physics) and University of Potsdam (Biomaterials). His research interests include the structure function relation in biological and biomimetic materials, bone and mineral research with biomedical applications, and mechanical properties and modeling of composite materials.
Fredrik Frejd is adjunct professor at Uppsala University, Sweden, with a special focus on development of minimized tumor targeting agents based on small proteins. Fredrik is also CSO of Affibody AB, a biotech company developing a novel class of affinity proteins based on a compact three-helical bundle protein domain. Molecular evolution and large synthetic phage display libraries are used to generate novel affinity tools for applications in proteomics, affinity purification and in vitro biosensor diagnostics. Dr. Frejd has also been leading translational projects for development of tumor specific radiotracers for clinical diagnostic stratification of patients and novel therapeutic drug molecules. Dr. Frejd holds a Ph.D. from the Swiss federal institute of technology (ETH), and has authored more than 50 publications on antibody and protein scaffold engineering with a specific focus on Affibody molecules.
Prof. Dr. Akihiro Kusumi is a professor at Kyoto University, Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences. His research combines the disciplines of single molecule nanobiology and biophysics, cell biology and neuroscience. Current interests include the mechanisms of signal transduction in the cell membrane, the dynamic structure and function of the plasma membrane including the membrane skeleton and rafts, the mechanisms for the formation and plasticity of synapses and for the development of neuronal polarity, and the development of single molecule technologies that can be applied to studies of living cells.
Prof. Dr. Daniel Müller holds the chair of Biophysics at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) at the ETH Zürich in Basel since 2010. He is interested in the development and application of nanotechnological tools to characterize key molecular interactions driving processes in life and to manipulate these interactions to control living matter ranging from proteins to tissues. These methods allow to program neuronal cells in vitro and in vivo, to image cells at nanometer resolution, to quantify and localize cellular interactions at molecular resolution and to observe how individual receptors of living cells communicate.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck unites the Chair of Functional Morphology and Biomimetics with the directorship of the Botanical Garden at the University of Freiburg. He pursues a broad range of research interests that include functional anatomy and morphology of existant and fossil plants as well as plant biomechanics. His research had a strong focus on functional ecology of tropical lianas and on the reconstruction of early land and seed plants. Since about 15 years, however, his research increasingly aimes at transferring material concepts and specific constructions from plants into novel bioinspired engineering materails and products. Thomas Speck is spokesman oft the German Bionic competence Network (BioKoN) and the Biomimetics Network Baden-Württemberg.
Tanja Weil (Co-Chair)
The scientific background of Prof. Dr. Tanja Weil combines industrial and academic research – currently focusing on dendrimer chemistry and dendritic hybrids, protein-based copolymers, tailored bioconjugation reagents for site-directed protein chemistry, chemically modified polypeptides as biocoatings and gene delivery vectors, as well as synthesis of near infrared emitters. After leading positions at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (Mainz), Merz Pharmaceuticals GmbH and National University of Singapore she joined the Ulm University as Director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry III / Macromolecular Chemistry in 2010. Prof. Dr. Tanja Weil joined the Max Planck Society in 2017 as one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research heading the department “Synthesis of Macromolecules”.
Dr. Wilde attained a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 1997 from the University of Southampton, UK, after which he continued in his interest in neuroscience with a postdoctoral position at the University of Warwick, UK. Having developed an interest in microscopy, he moved to the University of Liverpool, UK, to work in the laboratory of Michael White, focusing on intercellular signaling and gene expression through live-cell imaging. Dr. Wilde eventually pursued a commercial career in microscopy, focusing on a few different imaging solutions with different companies. He joined Andor Technology in 2009, where he is now business manager for microscopy solutions.