Membrane transport proteins play crucial roles in numerous cellular processes. Despite their importance, all proposed molecular models for transport are based on indirect evidence due to the inability of classical biophysical and biochemical techniques to directly visualize structural dynamics. This lack of data to validate mechanistic models for transport concerns both primary and secondary active transporters. The Cordes group is using single-molecule tools to decipher the molecular mechanisms of transport of these complex machines directly. This novel biophysical research area will support the development of new strategies against pathogenic bacteria or multi-drug resistant cancer cells.
The Cordes lab “Physical and Synthetic Biology” specializes in the development and application of novel spectroscopy and imaging techniques that allow to map structure and function of biomolecules and (bio)chemical processes in space and time. For this the group uses a combination of optical techniques (single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy & super-resolution imaging) with nanoscale sensors, i.e., fluorescent probes. The Cordes group follows a question-driven approach to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms of membrane transport and molecular motors, as well as chemical reactions and catalysis. Finally, the group is active in developing fluorescent probes and biophysical assays to characterize (bio)chemical processes and structures in vitro and in vivo.
Main areas of research
- Single-molecule studies of membrane transporters
- Structural dynamics and transport at the molecular level
- Assay and probe development
- Fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy