Cell Engineering

Cell Engineering Group


By introducing and specifically targeting new proteins into cells, we aim to create systems that allow us to probe information processing in cell networks and generate new bioelectronic materials.

Research Topics

Our current research is focused on:


Dr. Vanessa Maybeck


Building 02.4v / Room 219

+49 2461/61-3285


Optogenetic Actuators

Stimulation and inhibition of neuronal signaling using light actuated channels and pumps. We utilize optogenetic actuators based on Channelrhodopsin and Anionchannelrhodopsin to manipulate neuronal networks at the single cell level with high flexibility in both spatial and temporal protocols. To expand the usefulness of optogenetic actuators, we explore tagging domains capable of subcellularly targeting the actuators and allowing their use in other cell types, such as epithelia (Fig. 1).

Genetically Encoded Calcium Indicators (GECIs)

The membrane potential of the cell is monitored fluorescently using GcAMP or RcAMP. Though not as temporally accurate as electrical methods, GECIs provide signaling information over sizable areas without gaps in recording areas, or difficult-to-attribute multiple unit detection on a single pixel.

Living Logic Gates

We use cell patterning techniques to control the connectivity of cortical neurons in vitro. These controlled patterns are aimed at producing networks capable of processing simple logic operations. The system requires bringing together single cell manipulation techniques, such as optogenetics and patch clamp, cell patterning, and readout systems such as Microelectrode Arrays (MEAs) or calcium imaging.

Identifying and Manipulating Key Neurons

Not all neurons in a network have equal ability to influence signaling in the network. We are working to identify these key influencers and how different modes of manipulation at the single cell level can alter wider network signaling. This will provide the most efficient methods for correcting aberrant network activity (as in disease or injury) or for programming information into the network (as in biomimetic computing) (Fig. 2).


Former Members

Devran Dardanoglu, intern until 08/2023

Bogdana Cepkenovic, Doctoral researcher until 04/2023

Ruoyan Wei , Doctoral researcher until 12/2022

Jiali Wang , Doctoral researcher until 12/2022

Cole Wilson, Fulbright Fellow until 07/2022

Dominik Brinkmann, Doctoral researcher until 12/2021

Timm Hondrich, Doctoral Researcher until 09/2020

Lucas Bertram, Master Student until 12/2019

Jana Schieren, Master Student until 03/2019

Irina Tihaa, Doctoral Researcher until 06/2018

Annika Graeve, Bachelor Student until 03/2018

Sarah Roßbiegalle, Bachelor Student until 02/2018

Wenfang Li, Doctoral researcher until 03/2017

Lei Jin, Doctoral Researcher until 07/2016

Recent Publications

  1. Improvements of Microcontact Printing for Micropatterned Cell Growth by Contrast Enhancement, Hondrich et al., Micromachines 2019, 10, 659; doi:10.3390/mi10100659, https://www.mdpi.com/2072-666X/10/10/659
  2. How to image cell adhesion on soft polymers? Seyock et al., Micron 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.micron.2016.11.002
  3. Controlled Engineering of Oxide Surfaces for Bioelectronics Applications Using Organic Mixed Monolayers, Markov et al., ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces 2017 10.1021/acsami.7b08481,  https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsami.7b08481
  4. High-efficiency transduction and specific expression of ChR2opt for optogenetic manipulation of primary cortical neurons mediated by recombinant adeno-associated viruses, Jin  et al., J Biotechnol,2016, 233:171–80, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiotec.2016.07.001
  5. An evaluation of extracellular MEA versus optogenetic stimulation of cortical neurons
  6. Maybeck et al., Biomed Phys Eng Express, 2016, 2:055017, https://doi.org/10.1088/2057-1976/2/5/055017

Last Modified: 16.08.2023