Physics of Parasitism

Thomas Gutsmann

Leibniz-Unit Biophysics at the University of Lübeck

Division of Biophysics
Priority Area Infections
Research Center Borstel
Leibniz-Center for Medicine and Biosciences
Parkallee 10
23845 Borstel

Thomas Gutsmann a physicist with an interest in the behaviour of biological systems. He graduated from the University of Kiel after taking studies in biophysics, physiology, solid state physics and theoretical physics, and then did doctoral work at the Research Center Borstel in the lab of Ulrich Seydel. After a short postdoc in the Seydel lab, he moved to the USA where he carried out further postdoctoral work at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the group of Paul Hansma. He then returned to the lab of Ulrich Setdel and habilitated in biophysics at teh University of Kiel in 2006. Since 2006 he has been group leader of the Biophysics group at the Research Center Borstel.


Research synopsis

We are interested in the function of lipids and lipid membranes and their interaction with peptides and proteins, especially in the context of lung infections. To answer biomedical questions and to develop new therapeutics we first aim at an understanding of the underlying molecular function of membranes and peptides.

A new focus of our work in recent years is the interaction between membrane-active components of pathogens, especially intracellular bacteria, and membranes of human cells. The aim is to elucidate general survival strategies of intracellular pathogens as a spur to the development of new therapeutic approaches.

The bases for these investigations are established membrane reconstitution techniques complemented by the full breadth of existing biophysical measurement methods for the spatially resolved analysis of dynamic processes. In recent years, the use of synchrotron radiation, e.g. at DESY, has been greatly expanded.

This study is part of Project 3 of the SPP 2332 PoP.