Institut für Röntgenphysik – Köster Group

Institut für Röntgenphysik – Köster Group

Research Group Cellular Biophysics

We are hiring! Please go to the jobs page for more information!

Biological cells are extremely complex systems, combining numerous different components and functions. Cellular dynamics are governed by biological and biochemical processes, but also to a considerable extent by biophysics. This includes phenomena like forces and motion generated by the cell, confinement in the dense cytoplasm, assembly and disassembly of cytoskeletal filaments or network structures, the mechanical response of the cell to external stimuli, as well as concentration gradients inside the cell. The involved length- and force scales are nano-/micrometers and pico-/nanonewton, respectively, and thereby very small. Timescales to be considered, however, range from sub-second to hours or days. To achieve our aim of imaging the dynamics of biological matter in real-time and in situ, we combine experimental techniques that can be used to investigate biological systems exactly on these scales with different imaging and scattering methods. Importantly, we study both in vitro model systems and whole cells. Model systems, which usually include one or several reconstituted cellular components, are simplified but can reveal certain underlying principles of biophysical phenomena which may then be of help in understanding the cellular system. For an overview of the scientific questions and experimental techniques we are interested in, please go to the research page.
Opportunities for joining our group are detailed on the jobs page. Please let us know if you are interested.

Current Featured Image

wet samples travel boxPool cabin for international travel

Fixed-hydrated cells, already mounted for SAXS experiments in wet sample chambers, are taken in a water reservoir to the ESRF. Sample preparation by Chiara Cassini, Boram Yu, Charlotte August and Peter Luley.
previous featured images


Anna Schepers received the DPG/SKM Dissertation award - congratulations!

Anna Blob received a poster price at this year's GGNB Science Day - congratulations!

Magdalena Haaf received a Dr. Berliner - Dr. Ungewitter - Stiftung prize for her outstanding Master's degree - congratulations!

Anna Schepers started a Post Doc position in the research group Biophysical Immunology of Marco Fritzsche. She is affiliated with the Rosalind Franklin Institute and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology of the University of Oxford

Website of new Research Training Group is online:

DFG to fund new Research Training Group in biological physics at Göttingen University with around 6.8 million euros (DFG press release here)

Charlotta Lorenz started a Post Doc position at the Dufresne Lab at the Department of Materials at the ETH Zurich.

Charlotta Lorenz was awarded by the Dr. Berliner - Dr. Ungewitter - Stiftung the prize for her outstanding PhD thesis.

Anna Schepers was awarded the Jan Peter Toennies Physik-Preis for her outstanding PhD thesis in Experimental Physics.

Anna Schepers successfully finished her dissertation with the title "Intermediate filament mechanics across scales - From single filaments to single interactions and networks in cells".

Sarah Köster was elected as vice-speaker of the condensed matter section (SKM) of the German Physical Sociatey (DPG).

Charlotta Lorenz successfully finished her dissertation with the title "Interactions and Mechanics Within and Between Cytoskeletal Filaments".

Charlotta Lorenz was awarded a poster prize at the DGfB Cellular Biophysics Workshop.

Charlotta Lorenz and Julia Kraxner were awarded two poster prizes at the European Meeting on Intermediate Filaments.

Julia Kraxner was awarded the "Best Poster Prize of Biophysics Austria" at the EBSA conference 2021.

Eric Seibt was awarded a FundaMINT fellowship by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung.

press release featuring Anna V. Schepers, Charlotta Lorenz, Peter Nietmann, Andreas Janshoff, Stefan Klumpp, Sarah Köster, Multiscale mechanics and temporal evolution of vimentin intermediate filament networks, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 118 (27) e2102026118 (2021).

press release featuring Laura Schaedel, Charlotta Lorenz, Anna V. Schepers, Stefan Klumpp, and Sarah Köster, Vimentin intermediate filaments stabilize dynamic microtubules by direct interactions, Nature Communications 21, 3799 (2021).

Julia Kraxner successfully finished her dissertation with the title "Vimentin Intermediate Filament Softening - Recovery Behavior and Post-Translational Modifications".

Chiara Cassini successfully finished her dissertation with the title "Low-dose, high-throughput scanning small-angle X-ray scattering of adherent mouse embryonic fibroblasts".

Eleonora Perego started a Post Doc position at the Vicidomini Lab at the Center for Human Technology at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

Charlotta Lorenz was awarded the best participants' presentation at the jDPG-Theoworkshop.

Sarah Köster has been elected member of the Komitee Forschung mit Synchrotronstrahlung (KFS).

Anna Schepers, Charlotta Lorenz und Julia Kraxner were awarded three third places for their respective posters at the 11th Physics of Cancer Symposium in Leipzig.

Operations are started with our new microfabrication system, a Nanoscribe Photonic Professional GT installed in the clean room.

Julia Kraxner is one of the selected participants of the Online Science Days 2020 by the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

Laura Aradilla Zapata accepted the tenure-track junior professorship "Molecular Cell Biophysics" at the Universität des Saarlandes, starting October 2020.

Anna Schepers was awarded the poster prize at the Third infinity 2020.

Anna Zelená was awarded the poster prize at the Cell Physics 2019 conference.

The EPS Emmy Noether Distinction for Women in Physics 2019 (Summer) has been attributed to Sarah Köster "for her seminal contributions to the physics of biological cells and biopolymers, in particular for the understanding of intermediate filaments, and her impressive ability in teaching and recruiting women scientists in her field of research".

Anna Schepers is one of the selected participants of the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.

Charlotta Lorenz was awarded the third place for the poster awards of the EUROIF2019, the 11th European Meeting on Intermediate Filaments in Turku, Finland

Laura Aradilla Zapata and Charlotta Lorenz were awarded an EPL poster award of the DPG Biological Physics Divison (with support of the European Physics Letters Journal).

Laura Aradilla Zapata (née Schaedel) was awarded an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship.

Press release Stoßdämpfer für Zellen (press release in German only, featuring publication Johanna Block et al. Science Advances (2018) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat1161).

Charlotta Lorenz was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for PhD Students of the Faculty of Physics

Anna Schepers was awarded a PhD fellowship by the IMPRS "Physics of Biological and Complex Systems”.

Charlotta Lorenz was awarded a PhD stipend by the "Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes".