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

    Active Involvement in the Leibniz Association 1

    The research in the program area Nano Cell Interactions is closely linked to the “Leibniz Research Alliance Advanced Materials Safety”. Dr. Annette Kraegeloh is, together with Prof. Andreas Fery from the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden e.V.. (IPF), spokesperson of the alliance. The INM coordinates the activities of the research alliance.

    Our vision: to promote the design and responsible development of functional and safe materials

    Advanced materials, with their hierarchical structure of micro- and nanoscale building blocks, are fundamental to innovative technologies. Their complex structure results in new challenges in evaluating the safety of these materials over their entire life cycle. Within the Leibniz Research Alliance Advanced Materials Safety, we take a multidisciplinary approach that integrates safe materials design, future-proof hazard assessment, science communication, and research data management. Close collaboration between researchers from different disciplines is necessary for safe and sustainable innovations that are accepted by consumers and the public.

    Specific case studies are addressed in a joint framework of graduate education and exchange. The project will be supported by the development of a FAIR-compatible research data infrastructure that addresses the needs of materials safety research.

    Our main objectives:

    • Developing design concepts for safer and sustainable advanced materials using exemplary energy materials and biomedical applications: Synthesis and characterization of advanced materials, modeling of toxicologically relevant material properties, detection of these materials in the abiotic environment, safe-by-design.
    • Determination and prediction of the effects of advanced materials on human health and organisms in the environment: accumulation and interaction with organisms, development of predictive models to determine ecological, biological, and toxicological effects, elucidation of molecular mechanisms and key events
    • Awareness and knowledge transfer related to advanced materials and their sustainable application: development of methods for science education, knowledge uptake and transfer to the public, and from the public back to the scientific community

    In order to do justice to the complexity of the project, the research network brings together researchers from twelve Leibniz Institutes with different areas of expertise: Materials Sciences, Biology and Toxicology, Computer Science, Educational Sciences and Science Communication.

    Further information: