The research of IBI-2 Mechanobiology aims at an in-depth understanding of information processing by living cells. As in the technical world, cells receive and send out information via physical signals. Within the broad gamut of possible signals, we focus on generation, sensing, and processing of mechanical signals such as forces, stiffness, and local geometry. We perform experiments on human and animal cells. Whenever possible we choose cells and processes relevant for the central nervous system. We are especially interested in the interplay of (supra)-molecular architecture and mechanical properties, in the interactions of cells with their environment, that is with the extracellular matrix or neighboring tissue cells, as well as in sensing and processing of mechanical signals by cells. These questions are of high relevance for many physiological and pathological processes like embryonal development, tissue toughness, cancer development, and concussion. In this quest, we use and, if needed, develop cutting-edge tools of cell biophysics and cell biology.
Our final goal is to contribute from basic science to knowledge-based methods of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment in medicine.