About us


status: 14.04.2023




Selim Basaran

INM, T Kraus

Infrared-activatable antibiotic-producing Living Materials

We design Engineered Living Materials with core-shell structures that are NIR light responsive and can rapidly reach 39°C-44°C to induce protein (mCherry) or antibiotic (Darobactin) production. The protein and drug production is quantified as a function of plasmonic stimulation by gold nanorods via ex situ fluorescence microscopy and ESI-MS.


Selma Beganovic

Saarland University, C Wittmann

Streamlining Corynebacterium glutamicum into a living therapeutic for the treatment of HPV-induced cervical cancer lesions

Curcuminoids are secondary metabolites extracted from turmeric (Curcuma longa, L.). These compounds exhibit myriad of biological activities. A property of curcuminoids that draws special attention is its anti-HPV (human papilloma virus) activity. More than 99% cases of cervical cancer are caused by chronic HPV infections. In this work, we aim to metabolically engineer C. glutamicum, a bacterium with GRAS status widely used in white biotechnology, into curcuminoid producing living therapeutic microbe. This approach offers a promising solution in overcoming the challenge of drug delivery in the treatment of cervical cancerous lesions.


Shardul Bhusari

INM, A del Campo

Functional and safe encapsulation of Escherichia coli in Pluronic hydrogels for engineered living materials

My research focuses on using pluronic-based hydrogels to encapsulate microorganisms and enabling the precise control of their function for the fabrication of functional ELMs. My work ranges from studying the fundamental properties of genetically modified bacteria within pluronic hydrogels (such as shape, morphology, and metabolic activity) and mechanical characterization of pluronic matrices using rheology to developing efficient biosensors and ELM designs (including 3D printing) for in vitro immune response characterization and drug delivery applications.


Selina Deckarm

HIPS, R Müller

Heterologous expression and genetic engineering of natural product biosynthetic pathways

Selina Deckarm works as a doctoral researcher in the field of microbial natural products in the research group of Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller at HIPS. She focuses on heterologous expression and genetic modification of bacterial natural product biosynthetic pathways including the goals: to improve production yields, to elucidate the biosynthesis and to develop new promising myxobacterial antibiotics.


Sourik Dey

INM, S Sankaran

Engineering temperature-responsive gene circuits in bacteria to regulate therapeutic production

Thermo-responsive genetic circuits are being designed in beneficial microbes to allow the thermally activated release of antimicrobial compounds to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.


Hanuman Kalari

INM, A del Campo

Living capsules for bio-therapeutics

My research focuses on using  suitable  polymers to develop double emulsions, Core- Shell structured hydrogels (microcapsules)  with microfluidics to encapsulate Bacteria and enabling  the fabrication of functional living capsules.  The main activities will involve characterization of mechanical, swelling and degradation properties of these microcapsules. Then characterize the metabolic activity of the encapsulated microbes, and study the changes in the metabolism as a consequence of confinement and material properties. Thus optimize the microcapsules structure & properties for functional and high productivity of  encapsulated bacteria to produce therapeutic molecules.


Berina Muhovic

Saarland University, C Wittmann

Towards living therapeutic materials in ophthalmology: supply of the cell protectant ectoine using engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum

The human ocular surface is a complex environment influenced by various intrinsic and extrinsic stressors causing homeostasis disruption and eventually the development of eye diseases. Promising new directions for its treatment are the use of remarkable protective properties of ectoine, a widely distributed compatible solute originating from extreme environments. A cluster of genes involved in ectoine production serves as a starting point to upgrade Corynebacterium glutamicum to a versatile cell factory with therapeutic capabilities and afterward encapsulation into sophisticated polymeric matrices for a better efficacy and safety.


Patrick Oberhäuser

Saarland University, A Luzhetskyy

New natural compounds from Streptomyces through heterologous expression of biosynthetic gene cluster

The aim is to utilize the heterologous host Streptomyces albus del 14 for the expression of interesting biosynthetic gene cluster of secondary metabolites to access the chemical potential of close related streptomyces species for natural product discovery, covered by genomic libraries. Potentially new natural products with interesting properties are to be isolated, the structure elucidated and the underlying biosynthetic pathway unravelled. Some of those strains producing natural products are aimed to be incorporated into living materials.


Susanne Reinhold

Saarland University, R Bals

Establishing of an Organ-on-a-Chip-System as a new possibility to analyze bacterial inflammation in different organ systems

To simulate an infectious event in the lung and the effects on other parts of the human body, bacterial stimulated lung cells and liver cells are connected in a circulation system. After the experiment the output from the system is used to measure specific cytokines and the gene expression of involved acute phase proteins.


Florian Riedel

INM, S Sankaran

Microbiome bacteria engineering for living therapeutic materials

As part of the development of living therapeutic materials this work aims for the design of genetic circuits in Corynebacterium spp. These circuits are controlled by external triggers such as heat or light and shall regulate the production of drugs by the bacteria eventually.


Carsten Seyfert

HIPS, R Müller

Bioengineering of natural product biosynthetic pathways and heterologous production of uncharacterized antibacterial natural products

Carsten Seyfert works in the group of Prof. Dr. R. Müller at HIPS as a PhD student. His focus is on bioengineering of biosynthetic pathways for heterologous expression, production and purifcation of optimized novel naturally derived derivatives of antibacterial compounds using a structure-and activity-driven approach to characterize their biophysical and antibacterial properties.


Shulagna Sharma

Saarland University, B Qu

Impact of extracellular matrix components on killing efficiency of natural killer cells

Natural killer (NK) cells are critical players in the elimination of infected and tumor cells. As they patrol tissues to locate their target cells, NK cells encounter complex 3D environments primarily composed of extracellular matrix (ECM), with collagen being the most abundant ECM component. Hyaluronic acid (HA), another essential ECM component, is particularly enriched in some organs and tissues, such as the skin, respiratory tract, and blood vessels. In my work, I investigate how the presence of HA in 3D collagen matrices affects the killing functions of NK cells, such as cytotoxicity, infiltration, migration, and viability. To achieve this goal, I employ various approaches, including live cell imaging, real-time killing assay and flow cytometry.


Sebastian Walesch

HIPS, R Müller

Expanding the scope of bioactive natural products from myxobacteria through alteration of cultivation conditions

Sebastian cultivates myxobacteria using different approaches to improve production of bioactive natural products. He then isolates, purifies and investigates those secondary metabolites for their structure, physico-chemical properties, bioactivities, and biosynthesis.


Fabia Weiland

Saarland University, C Wittmann

Systems metabolic engineering of Corynebacterium glutamicum for the valorization of lignin-derived aromatics

Corynebacterium glutamicum is an established workhorse of industrial biotechnology. The microbe possesses a vast metabolism for the degradation and assimilation of aromatic compounds providing a huge opportunity to valorize the massive amounts of aromatics in lignin waste streams that are annually generated as an unfavorable by-product in biomass-fractionation facilities. In my work, I am using different tools of systems biotechnology and metabolic engineering to characterize the cellular network underlying aromatics metabolism as a knowledge base to tailor C. glutamicum for the production of aromatic-based sustainable polymer precursors and bioactive compounds.


Archana Yanamandra

INM, A del Campo / Saarland University, B Qu

Evaluation of immune response to living therapeutic materials

I worked on characterizing the immune response of human peripheral mononuclear cells to bacteria encapsulated in pluronic based hydrogels (AG Sankaran) in vitro. We examined the subsets of NK and T cells, release of cytokines and cytotoxic proteins.





Dr. Markus Vogelgesang

Saarland University, S Smola

Analysis of the epithelial cell fate in organoid- and 3D-cultures of the human cervix uteri in the context of human papillomavirus infection

I have studied the cell fate of human primary cells of the cervix uteri using organoid culture, which allows cultivation of adult stem cells according to their tissue origin. This work and culture method could provide a basis for therapeutic testing and applications in a three-dimensional context with regard to human papillomavirus infection and cervical cancer progression.