Research is focused on biological membranes as meeting place of lipids, proteins and membrane active drugs on the one hand, and on the other hand as complex multifunctional interfaces for diverse (patho)physiological processes. Of particular interest are, on the one hand the functional role of lipid distribution in diverse membranes and, on the other hand the coupling of collective lipid properties to protein function. The overall aim is to delineate the physics of simplified but functional models to biomembrane function to aid the develop membrane active drugs.
To address these issues we are using a broad selection of experimental techniques, such as small angle x-ray (neutron) scattering, osmotic stress experiments, calorimetry, or fluorescence microscopy to name but a few. Complementary experimental and theoretical aspects are studied in collaboration with other groups.
Over the years, we have contributed to the following issues (see also publications):
- membrane asymmetry
- intrinsic lipid curvature
- protein partitioning into lipid domains
- structure and elasticity of lipid domains
- membrane-mediated effects on ion-channels
- antimicrobial peptides
- effects of sterols on lipid bilayers
- ionspecific effects
- interbilayer forces
- structure and elasticity of membranes in the vicinity of the main phase transition
- global SANS/SAXS data analysis of free floating lipid vesicles and inverted hexagonal phases