Our laboratory is focused on bioengineering of next-generation molecular sensors and actuators for functional imaging and remote spatiotemporal control of cellular processes with whole‑organ(ism) coverage.

We apply these molecular devices for dynamic analyses of organoids and neurobehavioral imaging of preclinical model organisms to dissect cellular network function and aid future imaging-controlled tissue engineering as well as regenerative and cell therapies.

We develop new molecular sensors that can map dynamic signaling processes via non-invasive imaging methods such as MRI or multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) complemented with fast fluorescent imaging techniques. We combine exogenous small molecular or nanostructured contrast agents with bioengineered sensors that we genetically encode in mammalian cells.  

We build biophysical interfaces to exert spatiotemporal control over molecular processes. We are particularly focused on complementing optogenetic methods with genetically controlled molecular actuators responsive to magnetic gradients or radiofrequency energy. In this context, we develop genetically expressed nanocompartments that can biomineralize iron.

To bring the new molecular sensors and actuators to bear on preclinical research, we work with rodent models for MRI and optoacoustic imaging as well as zebrafish and organoids for analysis via fast fluorescence techniques. We are specifically interested in establishing methods for simultaneous behavioral and molecular neuroimaging in freely behaving animals.

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