Saxon Fraunhofer Institutes set up joint bio-nano application laboratory

17.9.2014

Supported by the Free State of Saxony, the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS are setting up a joint application laboratory for bio-nanotechnology research in Leipzig.

Nanotechnology has already found its way into many areas of everyday life. It also holds a huge amount of potential for biotechnological and biomedical research. For example, the nanostructuring of surfaces determine whether or not cells will stick to them and even how they develop. Nanoparticles can be used to transport medicine in the body when laden with active substances. But even a basic understanding of biological mechanisms, such as the structure of cell surfaces or the coupling mechanisms of viruses with regard to somatic cells, can be considerably improved by drawing upon nanotechnology. With its new Materials Diagnostics IKTS-MD division, the Dresden-based Fraunhofer IKTS has in-depth expertise in the fields of applied microelectronics, sensor systems, nanoanalytics and active agent characterization. This is now to be brought together with the biological expertise at Leipzig's Fraunhofer IZI, especially in the field of cellular and molecular biology. The aim is to develop innovative, minimally invasive analysis techniques and sensor concepts for biotechnology.

The joint project is being supported by Saxony's State Ministry for Science and the Arts with €3 million in funding, using means made available by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The funds will be invested almost exclusively in state-of-the-art research equipment.

"The Leipzig and Dresden regions are extremely advanced when it comes to bio- and nanotechnology, also on the international stage. As Fraunhofer researchers, we also want to do our bit to harness the outstanding potential seen in both regions in a way that will see it put to even better economic use in the future. It is important to us that the systems used to analyze biological structures are set up where experiments are physically carried out, as cells and tissue are extremely sensitive to transportation," says Dr Jörg Opitz, project coordinator of the Fraunhofer IKTS-MD, explaining the decision to set up the joint application laboratory in Leipzig.

The respective technical infrastructure is now gradually being set up at the Fraunhofer IZI. The planned systems focus on the structural and chemical analysis methods for biological materials and biofunctionalized surfaces. In doing this, the researchers in both Dresden and Leipzig want, among other things, to optimize analytical and diagnostic procedures as well as to investigate therapeutic substances, develop biosensors and also improve process and quality controls in biotechnology.

Contacts

Fraunhofer IZI
Dr Michael Szardenings
Email: michael.szardenings@izi.fraunhofer.de
Phone +49 (0)341 35536 2805

Fraunhofer IKTS
Dr Jörg Opitz
Email: joerg.opitz@ikts-md.fraunhofer.de
Phone +49 (0)351 88815-516