Nano Cell Interactions

The Program Division Nano Cell Interactions explores the effects of engineered nanoobjects on cells of human origin. The motivation is to contribute to safe applications of nanomaterials in technical and biomedical fields. Aims are to understand how particle properties influence the structure and biochemistry of cells, and to elucidate mechanisms that affect the uptake or location of nanoobjects. For this reason, well-defined inorganic nanoparticles are prepared and characterised. In order to localise particles and cellular structures, light microscopy is used. In particular, the application of Super-resolution Stimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy for questions of nanosafety is a distinctive feature of the group. For analysis of cellular responses chemical, biochemical, and molecular biology techniques are applied.

    Leibniz Research Alliance Nanosafety

    The activities of the program division Nano Cell Interactions are tightly connected to the “Leibniz Research Alliance Nanosafety”. The alliance is an association of six institutions within the Leibniz Association. Dr. Annette Kraegeloh is the coordinator of the Leibniz-Research Alliance Nanosafety.

    The Leibniz Research Alliance Nanosafety deals with safety issues regarding nanomaterials and nanoproducts. Central topics include understanding the effects induced by nanoparticles, developing safe nanomaterials, and explaining key issues in the context of nanotechnology. The research focuses on four primary goals:

    • Decoding the mode of action of nanoparticles to deduce key principles for the prediction of effects triggered by nanoparticles

    • Derivation of key principles that enable a safe design of nanomaterials

    • Furthering the public discourse by providing insight into information reception and knowledge communication on nano-related questions

    • Setting up a digital infrastructure to manage research data on nanosafety

    Further information about the Leibniz-Research Alliance Nanosafety is given on

    Brochure of the research alliance: Download

    Morpheus a test platform for the safety of nanomaterials

    The ZIM project Morpheus (Multiparametric test platform for safety assessment of nanoparticles) aims to develop a multiparametric test platform that can be used for an early hazard assessment of nanoparticles. This test platform based on 3D liver microtissue combines for the first time conventional indicators of tissue damage with an analysis of morphological markers. The testing comprises quantification of metabolic as well as functional markers. Morphological markers as well as nanoparticle penetration into the tissue will be analysed via light microscopy. Eventually, the project focuses on examining the influence of nanoparticles on the pharmacology of medical drugs. The project is run within the ZIM cooperation network NanoPharm (Link setzen: and is carried out by Pharmacelsus GmbH and INM over a period of three years.

    NanoReg II

    The program division Nano Cell Interactions participates in the Horizon 2020 project NanoReg II

    Functionalised nanoparticles

    Engineered nanoparticles are very small particles, with dimensions in the range of 1-100 nm. Due to their particular chemical and physical properties, they offer a great potential for applications in a wide variety of fields from the chemical industry or energy management to medical sciences. Nanoparticles are already used in convenience goods.

    Silicon dioxide nanoparticles make up an excellent model material, as they can be synthesised in a well-defined way and in a broad size range. In addition, their surface can easily be modified. Molecules, like drugs or fluorescent dyes, can be incorporated into the matrix of amorphous silicon dioxide. Recently, within the group nano cell interactions, an in situ approach was developed, allowing for the incorporation of functional proteins during the preparation of silicon dioxide nanoparticles.