Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences
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Schmidt, Christoph F., Prof. Dr.

Professor of Physics

  • 1984 Diplom, Technische Universität München, Germany (Physics)

  • 1988 Dr. rer. nat., Technische Universität München, Germany (Physics)

  • 1988-1989 Postdoc, Department of Physics, Technische Universität München, (Sackmann, Gaub)

  • 1989-1991 Postdoc, Department of Physics, Harvard University (D. Nelson, D. Branton)

  • 1991-1992 Postdoc, The Rowland Institute for Science, Cambridge, MA (S. Block)

  • 1991-1992 Research Associate, Department of Physics, Harvard University

  • 1992-1998 Assistant Professor (Physics) and Assistant Research Scientist, Biophysical Research Division, University of Michigan

  • 1997-1999 Member, Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Michigan

  • 1998 Assoc. Prof. Physics with tenure, University of Michigan

  • 1999-2006 Full Professor of Physics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • 2006-present Full Professor of Physics, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Major Research Interests

Motor proteins: physical principles of biological force generation, transport processes, "collective machines", mitotic spindle. Optical tweezers, single-molecule fluorescence.

DNA enzymes: replication, transcription, or packing of DNA, single-molecule experiments to investigate the dynamics of enzymes performing these functions.

Cytoskeletal polymers and cells: semiflexible proteins, non-proteinaceous soft matter model systems, in vitro and in living cells, functional principles of the cytoskeleton, cell division, cell locomotion, cell growth and mechanosensing. Microrheology, laser interferometry.

Protein shells, membranes and viruses: elastic properties of protein assemblies, sheets to tubes (microtubules) and capsids (viruses). Atomic force microscopy.

Homepage Department/Research Group


Selected Recent Publications

  • A. Gerson-Gurwitz, C. Thiede, N. Movshovich, V. Fridman, M. Podolskaya, T. Danieli, S. Lakämper, D.R. Klopfenstein, C.F. Schmidt and L. Gheber (2011) Directionality of individual kinesin-5 Cin8 motors is modulated by loop 8, ionic strength and microtubule geometry. EMBO J. 30, 4942 – 4954.

  • I. L. Ivanovska, R. Miranda, J. L. Carrascosa, G. J. L. Wuite, C. F. Schmidt (2011) Discrete fracture patterns of virus shells reveal mechanical building blocks. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci (USA) 108, 12611-12616.

  • Toshihiro Toyota, David A. Head, Christoph F. Schmidt and Daisuke Mizuno (2011) Non-Gaussian athermal fluctuations in active gels., Soft Matter 7, 3234-3239.

  • Daisuke Mizuno, Rommel Bacabac, Catherine Tardin, David Head, Christoph F. Schmidt (2009) High-resolution probing of cellular force transmission., Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 168102.

  • Atakhorrami, D. Mizuno, G.H. Koenderink, T.B. Liverpool, F.C. MacKintosh, C.F. Schmidt (2008) Short-time inertial response of viscoelastic fluids measured with Brownian motion and with active probes. Phys. Rev. E, 77, 061508.

  • D. Mizuno, C. Tardin, C.F. Schmidt, F.C. MacKintosh (2007), Nonequilibrium mechanics of active cytoskeletal networks, Science, 315, 370-373.

  • Koenderink, G.H., Atakhorrami, M.,MacKintosh, F.C. and Schmidt, C.F. (2006) High-frequency stress relaxation in semiflexible polymer solutions and networks. Phys. Rev. Lett. 96: 138307.

  • Michel1, J.P., Ivanovska, I.L., Gibbons, M.M., Klug, W.S., Knobler, C.M., Wuite, G.J.L. and Schmidt, C.F. (2006) Nanoindentation studies of full and empty viral capsids and the effects of capsid protein mutations on elasticity and strength. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci (USA) 103 (16), 6184-6189.

  • Kwok1, B.H., Kapitein, L.C., Kim, J.H., Peterman, E.J.G., Schmidt, C.F. and Kapoor, T.M. (2006) Allosteric inhibition of kinesin-5 modulates its processive directional motility. Nature Chem. Biol. 2, 480-485.

  • Kapitein, L.C., Peterman, E.J.G., Kwok, B.H., Kim, J.H., Kapoor, T.M. and Schmidt, C.F. (2005) The bipolar mitotic kinesin Eg5 moves on both microtubules that it crosslinks. Nature 435(7038), 114-118.

  • Goodman, R.P., Schaap, I.A.T., Tardin, C.F., Erben, C.M., Berry, R.M., Schmidt, C.F. and Turberfield, A.J. (2005) Rapid Chiral Assembly of Rigid DNA Building Blocks for Molecular Nanofabrication. Science 310, 1661-1665.

  • Atakhorrami, M., Koenderink, G.H., Schmidt, C.F. and MacKintosh, F.C. (2005) Short-time inertial response of viscoelastic fluids: Observation of vortex propagation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 95(20), Art. No. 208302.

  • Ivanovska, I.L., de Pablo, P.J., Ibarra, B., Sgalari, G., MacKintosh, F.C., Carrascosa, J.L., Schmidt, C.F. and Wuite, G.J.L. (2004) Bacteriophage capsids: tough nano-shells with complex elastic properties. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci (USA) 101(20), 7600-7605.

  • de Pablo, P.J., Schaap, I.A.T., MacKintosh, F.C. and Schmidt, C.F. (2003) Deformation and Collapse of Microtubules on the Nanometer Scale. Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 098101.

  • deCastro, M.D., Fondecave, R.M., Clarke, L.A., Schmidt, C.F. and Stewart, R.J. (2000) Working strokes by single molecules of the kinesin-related microtubule motor ncd. Nat. Cell Biol. 2(10), 724-729.

GGNB Schmidt


Prof. Dr. Christoph F. Schmidt
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
III. Physical Institute – Oscillation Physics
Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biophysics
Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1
37077 Göttingen

phone: +49-(0)551-39 7740
fax: +49-(0)551-39 7720

GGNB Affiliation
Molecular Physiology of the Brain (C

Physics of Biological and Complex
Systems (IMPRS)