Institut für Röntgenphysik – Köster Group

Institut für Röntgenphysik – Köster Group

Research Group Cellular Biophysics

About the research group

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


Our lab contribution to UEFA Euro 2024

...imaged by Ruth in cooperation with Ulla. Here: MDCK cells grown in a three-dimensional cyst, keratin in green, actin in red. Our previous featured images can be found here.


Alumna Dr. Charlotta Lorenz was selected as one of the finalists of the DPG/SKM Dissertation Award 2024 - congratulations on this great success!

Our post-doctoral researcher Dr. Pallavi Kumari was selected for the prestigious and competitive Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship. Congratulations!

Alumna Dr. Anna Schepers was awarded a Walter Benjamin Stipend by the DFG to carry on her research at the Rosalind Franklin Institute (UK) with Prof. Marco Fritzsche. Congratulations on this great success!

New paper by the alumna Dr. Anna Zelená ist out in the Biophisycal Journal, and featured in the BPS blog. Anna's STED image was chosen to be a cover of the current journal issue 16! Congratulations!

Alumna Dr. Charlotta Lorenz was awarded a Walter Benjamin Stipend by the DFG and will soon carry on her research at Cornell University with Prof. Eric Dufresne. Congratulations to this great success!

New featured publication by Charlotta Lorenz, Johanna Forsting, Robert W. Style, Stefan Klumpp and Sarah Köster: Keratin filament mechanics and energy dissipation are determined by metal-like plasticity in Matter, 2023.

Alumna Dr. Anna Schepers received the DPG/SKM Dissertation award 2023 - congratulations to this great success!

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.