Program 2016

You can find the final Program here.

Guests staying at the Hostel: You can check in from 2 pm at the Hostel Stintfang (Alfred-Wegener-Weg 5).

All conference guests: Registration starts at 2 pm at the conference center (05) (bus stop Zum Hünengrab/DESY).

The Emerging Science Convention will give you new insights into the evolving field of bioscientific research with a focus on recently developed methods and interdisciplinary approaches. The scientific program will cover the fields of nanoscience, biorobotics, biophysics and more.

Additionally students will have the opportunity to present their own work during the convention.

We are proud to announce Prof. Stefan Hell as our keynote speaker. Prof. Hell won the Nobel Price for Chemistry in 2014 for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy. Additional information about every speaker will follow soon.

Beside the scientific program, we will provide you the opportunity to meet students and colleagues from all over Germany and to discuss your research project in an inspiring environment.  Just join us for a Dinner Party on Thursday night.

Speakers and Abstracts

Prof. Blick

Nanotech for DNA-sequencing


Center for Hybrid Nanostructures (CHyN)

University of Hamburg


In my presentation I will introduce the basics of nanopore DNA-sequencing approaches and then focus on discussing our group’s most recent effort in this field: nano-channels with embedded plasmonic optics for high-through-put applications. This novel technique based on optical readout already shows promising results detecting nanoscale objects.



Prof. Hell

Keynote Lecture – Optical microscopy: the resolution revolution

MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen

German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg



© Bernd Schuller, Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie

Throughout the 20th century it was widely accepted that a light microscope relying on conventional optical lenses cannot discern details that are much finer than about half the wavelength of light (200-400 nm), due to diffraction. However, in the 1990s, the viability to overcome the diffraction barrier was realized and microscopy concepts defined, that can resolve fluorescent features down to molecular dimensions. In this lecture, I will discuss the simple yet powerful principles that allow neutralizing the limiting role of diffraction1,2. In a nutshell, feature molecules residing closer than the diffraction barrier are transferred to different (quantum) states, usually a bright fluorescent state and a dark state, so that they become discernible for a brief period of detection. Thus, the resolution-limiting role of diffraction is overcome, and the interior of transparent samples, such as living cells and tissues, can be imaged at the nanoscale.

  1. Hell, S.W. Far-Field Optical Nanoscopy. Science 316, 1153-1158 (2007).
  2. Hell, S.W. Microscopy and its focal switch. Nature Methods 6, 24-32 (2009).



Prof. Hilgenfeld

Proteases of emerging RNA viruses: From SARS to Zika

University of Lübeck (Uzl)


In the past 20 years, the world has witnessed the emergence of a number of completely new viruses (e.g., Nipah virus, SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus) or of new variants of known viruses (e.g., the H1N1, H5N1, and H7N9 subtypes of influenza virus, Chikungunya virus, Zika virus). All of these emerging and re-emerging viruses use RNA as their genetic material. In our research, we focus on single-stranded RNA viruses of positive polarity, whose RNA is directly translated into a large viral polyprotein that is co- and posttranslationally processed to yield the building blocks of the viral envelope or capsid and the viral enzymes required for RNA replication. This maturation process is performed by one or more viral proteases, which are suitable targets for antiviral drug design. We will discuss our work on the proteases of SARS coronavirus (CoV) (1-3), enterovirus 68 (4), MERS-CoV (3,5,6), and Zika virus (7), and present some highlights of structure-based drug discovery.


(1) Anand, K., et al. & Hilgenfeld, R.: Science 300, 1763 – 1767 (2003).

(2) Verschueren, K., et al. & Hilgenfeld, R.: Chem. Biol. 15, 597 – 606 (2008).

(3) Hilgenfeld, R.: FEBS J. 281, 4085 – 4096 (2014).

(4) Tan, J., et al. & Hilgenfeld, R.: J. Virol. 87, 4339 – 4351 (2013).

(5) Lei, J., et al. & Hilgenfeld: Antiviral Res. 109, 72 – 82 (2014).

(6) Lei, J., & Hilgenfeld, R.: Virol. Sinica 31, 288 – 299 (2016).

(7) Lei, J., et al. & Hilgenfeld, R.: Science 353, 503-505 (2016).


Dr. Kampmann

Challenges in developing robots for deep-sea applications

German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence

peter_kampmann_img_2084_webThis talk gives an overview on how robotic solutions are developed by taking inspiration from various scientific research areas at the example of the area of deep-sea robotics. What challenges do we have to face when going into deep-sea and why is this sometimes more challenging than going into space? How do sponges, nano fluidic valves and spike trains from neurons influence the design of deep-sea grippers with tactile capabilities?

These and more questions will be answered in this presentation.


Dr. Mannhardt

Engineered heart tissue – a versatile tool in cardiovascular research

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

ingra-mannhardtEngineered heart tissues (EHTs) are three-dimensional, hydrogel-based muscle constructs that can be generated from isolated heart cells. Like the human heart, these muscles contract rhythmically and develop force. Ever since the technology of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) and the differentiation into cardiomyocytes arose, human EHTs are on the verge to replace animal experiments. We have shown in physiological and pharmacological assays that human EHTs replicate findings of ex vivo non-failing human heart tissues and suggest a high versatility of the hiPSC-EHT model as in vitro test system for (i) cardiac drug safety screening, (ii) disease modeling, or for in vivo studies of (iii) cardiac repair.


Dr. Laith Kadem

Rapid, Light-triggered, Reversible Switching of Cell Adhesion

Christian-Albrecht University Kiel (CAU)

Cell adhesion is a highly dynamic mechanism capable of adapting to environmental changes and allowing cells to respond by various means. However, the major shortcoming in most biomaterials known today is that they only offer static adhesion conditions, which represents a disadvantage in biological and medical applications. Here we present two successful approaches for dynamic adhesion environments controlled using light stimulation. Both approaches offer a reversible photo-switching of cell adhesion using biofunctionalized azobenzene surfaces. Azobenzenes molecules are able to switch reversibly between two isomeric configurations, namely cis and trans, when exposed to light. We employed this switching concept to develop surfaces that allow a reversible switch between two defined surface conditions by covering glass substrates covalently with c(RGDfK)-functionalized azobenzenes, where c(RGDfK) functions as a ligand to the αvβ3 integrin. The reversibility of photoswitching cell adhesion was demonstrated in consecutive switching cycles by quantitatively characterizing cell detachment forces with atomic force microscopy in situ.

Moreover, we employed surfaces coated with push-pull substituted azobenzenes to exert oscillatory forces on αvβ3 integrins. With this system, we show that the oscillation of c(RGDfK)-ligands leads to increased cell detachment forces and enhances the expression of adhesion-associated proteins such as vinculin, talin, zyxin, and paxillin. Our results provide a stepping stone toward greater exploration of spatially- and temporally-controlled cell adhesion mechanisms, as well as the effects induced by oscillatory forces on adhesion receptors.


Dr. Spielmann

Tools to study essential processes of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine Hamburg (BNITM)

University of Hamburg

picture1Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the severest form of human malaria, kills nearly half a million people annually. The symptoms of malaria are caused by the asexual development of the parasite within red blood cells (RBCs). In this life cycle phase the parasite invades the RBC, transforms it to make it hospitable and then grows and replicates to produce new invasive forms that are released under destruction of the host cell. This intracellular development requires sophisticated adaptions of the parasite and many of the process es occurring during this life cycle phase are specific to this pathogen. In line with this, about 50% of all proteins predicted to be encoded in the parasite’s genome show no homology to proteins in other organisms. However, due to technically limitations it has been difficult to study these aspects of P. falciparum biology. This is unfortunate, as it is exactly the processes without precedent in human biology that are the most suitable drug targets. Here I will present recent innovations we use in combination with known gene and protein targeting techniques to study P. falciparum biology. To test this technology, we functionally analysed a list of unknown parasite proteins. In addition the value of this technology was shown by inactivating the Kelch13 protein, which is known to be involved in the resistance of P. falciparum parasites to the currently most important antimalrial drug Artemisinin.


Dr. Stelzle

Organs-on-Chip – a revolution in drug testing and personalized medicine?

Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI)

University of Tuebingen

martin_stelzleWhat are „organs-on-chip“ or „body-on-chip“, how are they made, and what could they be useful for? My talk aims at answering these questions and provide some insight into this rapidly expanding field of research in the life sciences.

Organs-on-chip are cell cultures mimicking at least to some degree the architecture, cellular composition, perfusion, and biochemical microenvironment found in the smallest functional unit of an organ. They are expected to exhibit in vivo like functions and are envisioned to enable in vivo like answers in preclinical drug testing and could pave the way towards fundamentally novel approaches for personalized therapies.