Institut für Röntgenphysik – Köster Group

Institut für Röntgenphysik – Köster Group

Research Group Cellular Biophysics

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. In particular we have open PhD positions in the fields of cytoskeletal filament mechanics, cell mechanics and X-ray imaging and scattering. Please let us know if you are interested.

Current Featured Image

First images with our new AFM (Nanowizard 4, JPK/Bruker; see labs page): Dried Vimentin filaments on a mica substrate. Sample preparation by Eleonora Perego, image acquisition by Anna Schepers and Anna Blob.


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".