Physics of Parasitism

Christine Selhuber-Unkel

Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Advanced Materials (IMSEAM)

Heidelberg University
Im Neuenheimer Feld 253
69120 Heidelberg

Christine Selhuber-Unkel

…studied physics at Heidelberg University (2000-2002) and obtained her M.Sc. degree in Physics from Uppsala University in 2003. Returning to Heidelberg, she received her PhD in Physics on biological adhesion on nanopatterned substrates with Joachim Spatz. From 2007 to 2009 Christine was a postdoc at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, working with Lene Oddershede; she received the Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society during this time. In 2010, Christine became an Emmy Noether group leader and then junior professor (W1) for Biocompatible Nanomaterials at Kiel University, and one year later was appointed as associate professor (W2) at the Institute for Materials Science. Since 2020 Christine is a full professor (W3) for Molecular Systems Engineering at Heidelberg University. During 2017-2020 she was also a spokesperson of the DFG research training group “Materials for Brain” at Kiel University. Since 2020 she is a spokesperson of the section “Cellular Biophysics” of the German Biophysical Society (DGfB) and the co-chair of the Executive Board of the Flagship Initiative “Engineering Molecular Systems” at Heidelberg University. She is also member of the executive board of the Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order”.


2020 European Research Council Consolidator Grant (PHOTOMECH)

Since 2020 Professor for Molecular Systems Engineering (W3), Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Advanced Materials (IMSEAM), Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

2011-2019 Associate Professor for Biocompatible Nanomaterials (W2), Institute for Materials Science, Kiel University

2014 Feodor Lynen Fellows for a research stay at Cornell University (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)

2013 European Research Council Starting Grant (CELLINSPIRED)

2010-2011 Junior professor for Biocompatible Nanomaterials (W1), Institute for Materials Science, Kiel University

2010 Emmy Noether postdoctoral fellow, Kiel University

2007-2009 Leopoldina postdoctoral Fellow, Niels Bohr institute

Research synopsis

The Selhuber-Unkel group focuses on the investigation of functional interfaces and their interactions with biological systems. Functional interfaces include responsive interfaces, micro-/nanostructured interfaces (including 2-photon laser printing) and biofunctionalised hydrogels. They are used for controlling cellular properties such as parasite migration. In the long run our concepts should merge into novel adaptive materials, but could also find applications in soft robotics and biomaterials. On top of these research lines we also experimentally study the biophysical properties of cells (including parasites) in the context of mechanosensing, e.g. cellular force generation (traction force microsopy), adhesion forces (AFM) and statistical properties of intracellular motion and migration.

This study is Project 15 of the SPP 2332 PoP.