Bioengineering and medical physics
After decades of development in biophysics and biomedical engineering, we now understand far more about the physics of living matter and are rapidly developing new technologies for human health and safety. This is a topic central to the department of Prof. E. Bodenschatz.
On the one hand we investigate problems in cardiac function, like fibrillation mechanisms and their avoidance, mechanics of the contracting heart, and helping in the development of Engineered Heart Muscle (EHM) and its placement on a patient's heart. To this end based on cellular electrophysiology, we studied how spiral waves in cardiac tissue can be controlled with light and temperature. In the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) funded project "Alliance for the Regeneration of the Heart", we developed a computational model for the heartbeat and investigated the mechanical properties of heart muscle both theoretically and experimentally, in collaboration with the group of Prof. W. Zimmermann at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG). In the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) funded project IndiHEART, we are helping developing with our partners fibre-based 3D bioprinting for patient specific EHM.
On the other hand the pandemic has shown that we know too little about the mechanisms and pathways of airborne disease transmission, a topic which has been studied deeply by us over the past 1.5 years. In collaboration with Prof. S. Scheithauer from the UMG we have measured the human exhaled particles from more than 130 volunteers, have investigated aerosol emission from wind instruments and mask efficacy in collaboration with R. Müller from the Institute for Music and Aerosols. We have developed the web app HEADS, https://aerosol.ds.mpg.de, that allows the calculation of the infection risk by human pathogens. HEADS relies on a new theoretical model for poly-pathogen infection risk. In collaboration with MPI-C and Fraunhofer IKTS we measure the constituents of human droplets.