Chemistry in High-Throughput

One of the BMBF NanoMatFutur grants 2017 goes to the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam: Felix Loeffler, group leader in the Biomolecular Systems department, receives around 2.26 million euros over a period of five years. The scientist is investigating a new technology to produce a wide variety of different biomolecules. With this, he wants to create the basis for new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

December 18, 2017

Synthetic Material Libraries – Printing with Lasers
With the funding of his project "cLIFT - a high-throughput synthesis method for on-demand molecular libraries" (FKZ: 13XP5050A) within the framework of the BMBF NanoMatFutur junior researcher competition, Felix Loeffler has the opportunity to build up an interdisciplinary team which is primarily dedicated to application-oriented basic research in the field of microarrays. Microarrays are modern analytical systems, which allow a parallel analysis of several thousand probe sets in a minute amount of biological samples. Similar to a computer chip they collect, organize and provide many information within the smallest space.

The primary goal is to establish a new synthesis and analysis platform that will rapidly produce a large number of synthetic peptides from potential pathogens and screen them for their function. In case of success this technology will identify the suitable binding sites, this means where antigens could dock in order to fight pathogens effectively. As a result this could accelerate the development of new vaccines. In contrast to current processes in liquid media, here, the individual components for the production of the molecules are embedded in a resin. In an automated process, the targeted melting of the resin with a laser beam allows the precise transfer of tiny amounts of material to a synthesis substrate. By repeating this process with other synthetic building blocks embedded in resin, any desired pattern of different molecules can be generated within a very short time.

Felix Löffler
Since 2017, Dr. Löffler heads the research group "Synthetic Array Technologies" in the Department of Biomolecular Systems at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam. The team is developing new technologies for the production of microarrays and their applications that will be used to study molecular interactions in various infectious diseases. With a variety of specific molecules that serve as potential binders for antibodies, antibody responses can be studied in detail for the first time. The aim is to use this information to rationally design diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.

BMBF Young Talent Competition NanoMatFutur
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports with the junior researcher competition "NanoMatFutur" excellent young scientists with two to five years of experience after completing their doctorate in materials science and materials engineering. With this grant, junior researchers have the opportunity to lead their own independent junior research group at a research institution in Germany for five years. With their ideas, they should advance a research project, stimulate new applications in industry and, with their interdisciplinary research, overcome the limits of classical disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, nanotechnology and process engineering. In cooperation with industry sponsors, the young researchers are exploring the application and technology potentials of their technology development, thereby providing new impetus for Germany as an innovative research and industrial location.

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