Selected Research Topics and Projects

Peptide Nanomaterials

Peptides as Viral Transduction Modifiers

Peptides as Viral Transduction Modifiers

In this project, we are designing self-assembling peptides that modify the infectivity of viral particles by elucidating sequence-to-structure-to-property relationships. Transduction enhancing peptides enable highly efficient transfer of genes into specific cells, which is of interest in biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, and biomedicine. In contrast, identifying peptides that can suppress a viral infection are highly relevant for preventing diseases. The project is conducted in collaboration with virologists (University of Ulm) for functional evaluation of the peptides. Data mining appraoches are used to identify parameters that predict the success of a peptide sequence. 
Kaygisiz, K.; Synatschke, C. V.: Materials promoting viral gene delivery. (2020)
Sieste, S.; Mack, T.; Lump, E.; Hayn, M.; Schütz, D.; Röcker, A.; Meier, C.; Kirchhoff, F.; Knowles, T. P.J.; Ruggeri, F. S. et al.; Synatschke, C. V.; Münch, J.; Weil, T.: Supramolecular Peptide Nanofibrils with Optimized Sequences and Molecular Structures for Efficient Retroviral Transduction. Advanced Functional Materials 31 (17), 2009382 (2021)
Peptide Nanomaterials for Nerve Regeneration

Peptide Nanomaterials for Nerve Regeneration

This DFG funded project is conducted in collaboration with the group of Prof. Knöll (Physiological Chemistry, University Ulm) and aims to design supramolecular peptide nanomaterials that promote nerve regeneration. 
Schilling, C.; Mack, T.; Lickfett, S.; Sieste, S.; Ruggeri, F. S.; Šneideris, T.; Dutta, A.; Bereau, T.; Naraghi, R.; Sinske, D. et al.; Knowles, T. P. J.; Synatschke, C. V.; Weil, T.; Knöll, B.: Sequence-Optimized Peptide Nanofibers as Growth Stimulators for Regeneration of Peripheral Neurons. Advanced Functional Materials 29 (24), 1809112 (2019)
Sieste, S.; Mack, T.; Synatschke, C. V.; Schilling, C.; Meyer zu Reckendorf, C.; Pendi, L.; Harvey, S.; Ruggeri, F. S.; Knowles, T. P. J.; Meier, C. et al.; Ng, D. Y. W.; Weil, T.; Knöll, B.: Water-Dispersible Polydopamine-Coated Nanofibers for Stimulation of Neuronal Growth and Adhesion. Advanced Healthcare Materials 7 (11), 1701485 (2018)
Peptide-Polymer Hybrid Hydrogels

Peptide-Polymer Hybrid Hydrogels

By combining (bio)polymers and self-assembling peptides, we create dynamic polymer networks that are connected through a mixture of covalent and non-covalent bonds. Such hydrogels exhibit shear thinning behavior with ultra-fast and near-quantitative recovery of their mechanical properties amongst other beneficial properties. In collaboration with partners in Mainz, Aachen, and Würzburg, we explore this material class as cell scaffolds for tissue engineering. Potential applications as rheology modifiers are currently pursued in collaboration with Clariant Specialty Chemicals.
Gačanin, J.; Hedrich, J.; Sieste, S.; Glasser, G.; Lieberwirth, I.; Schilling, C.; Fischer, S.; Barth, H.; Knoell, B.; Synatschke, C. V. et al.; Weil, T.: Autonomous Ultrafast Self-Healing Hydrogels by pH-Responsive Functional Nanofiber Gelators as Cell Matrices. Advanced Materials 31 (2), 1805044 (2019)

Thin Films and Membranes

Bioinspired Polydopamine/Sensitizer Thin Films for Self-regulated Photocatalytic Water Splitting
This project is part of the Transregional Collaborative Research Center 234 "CataLight". We aim to design systems for a photocatalytically active thin film for water splitting. We explore the  unique capability of a redox-active polydopamine matrix with incorporated sensitizers to self-regulate their activity for light-driven catalysis in dependence on the surrounding pH.  more
Boecker, M.; Micheel, M.; Mengele, A. K.; Neumann, C.; Herberger, T.; Marchesi D'Alvise, T.; Liu, B.; Undisz, A.; Rau, S.; Turchanin, A. et al.; Synatschke, C. V.; Wächtler, M.; Weil, T.: Rhodium-Complex-Functionalized and Polydopamine-Coated CdSe@CdS Nanorods for Photocatalytic NAD+ Reduction. ACS Applied Nano Materials 4 (12), pp. 12913 - 12919 (2021)
Kund, J.; Daboss, S.; Marchesi D'Alvise, T.; Harvey, S.; Synatschke, C. V.; Weil, T.; Kranz, C.: Physicochemical and Electrochemical Characterization of Electropolymerized Polydopamine Films: Influence of the Deposition Process. Nanomaterials 11 (8), 1964 (2021)
EU ITN “BORGES” Biosensing with Organic Electronics
BORGES (“Biosensing with Organic Electronics”) is a Marie Curie Skłodowska European Training Network (MSCA-ITN-ETN) which is led by University of Modena. The overarching goal of this project is to develop organic biosensors up to demonstration of point-of-care testing devices. It is a multidisciplinary project. Experts in materials synthesis and characterization will closely work together with experts in device fabrication (transistors) and molecular simulation.
The BORGES consortium is composed by 12 beneficiary partners and 1 associate partner from seven different European countries (Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Germany). This consortium brings together expertise from both academic and non-academic nodes.  more
Marchesi D'Alvise, T.; Sunder, S.; Hasler, R.; Moser, J.; Knoll, W.; Synatschke, C. V.; Harvey, S.; Weil, T.: Preparation of Ultrathin and Degradable Polymeric Films by Electropolymerization of 3‐Amino‐L‐Tyrosine. Macromolecular Rapid Communications 44 (16), 2200332 (2023)
Marchesi D'Alvise, T.; Harvey, S.; Hueske, L.; Szelwicka, J.; Veith, L.; Knowles, T. P. J.; Kubiczek, D.; Flaig, C.; Port, F.; Gottschalk, K.-E. et al.; Rosenau, F.; Graczykowski, B.; Fytas, G.; Ruggeri, F. S.; Wunderlich, K.; Weil, T.: Ultrathin Polydopamine Films with Phospholipid Nanodiscs Containing a Glycophorin A Domain. Advanced Functional Materials 30 (21), 2000378 (2020)
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