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Biophotonics in Mittweida

Biophotonics in Mittweida

The professorship Biophotonics/Physical Technology is intended to meet current and future challenges in research & development in the field of laser applications on biological systems. This area is now to be established in teaching and research at the University of Applied Sciences Mittweida at the Laser Institute Hochschule Mittweida.  Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Richard Börner was appointed in October 2019. In his research, he will focus on the structure and function of biomolecules, especially of ribonucleic acids. RNA molecules have a variety of tasks in cells that go far beyond the well-known DOGMA of molecular biology - DNA (information storage) -> RNA (information transfer medium) -> proteins (structure and function of the cell). Variants of RNA such as ribozymes are themselves catalytically active (Nobel Prize 1989 for the discovery of ribozymes, Tom Cech, Sydney Altman), mRNA is an information carrier, riboswitches, siRNA and others regulate genetic information. This list is far from complete. Almost every year new functions and structures of this fascinating biomolecule are discovered. Thus, one example discovered only recently, CRISPR/CAS, represents a revolution in cell biology/molecular biology. Way to go. RNA will play a major role here in Mittweida too. To understand how and why RNA molecules work, we need to know their structure and dynamics. Dynamics in particular is at the heart of Richard Börner's research. Over the next years, we want to understand how individual building blocks of RNA molecules move in order to ultimately form the correct structure (conformation selection) that enables the biomolecule to function. To this end, we use fluorescence microscopy at the single molecule level to track individual dye-labeled RNA molecules both on the surface and in solution. Our research will significantly shape the understanding of RNA folding and help to design artificial RNA molecules - whose structure and function are perfectly adapted to possible tasks!