Welcome to the website of Biological Optomechanics Division

Cells are the basic entities of biological systems. They have particular physical properties, which enable them to navigate their 3D physical environment and fulfill their biological functions. We investigate these physical – mechanical and optical – properties of living cells and tissues using novel photonics and biophysical tools to test their biological importance. Our ultimate goal is the transfer of our findings to medical application in the fields of improved diagnosis of diseases and novel approaches in regenerative medicine.

Construction work for the Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin starts

The construction work for the new Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin (MPZPM) will start: The construction site at the Schwabachanlage in...

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Max Planck researchers develop the "ultimate cell sorter"

By combining imaging of deformed cells and artificial intelligence, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and the...

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The coronascope on television

Recently, a film team of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian broadcasting organisation) visited the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light: The...

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Cell Mechanics

Mechanical properties of cells are very often connected to their state and function. They can thus serve as an intrinsic biophysical marker of cell state transitions, such as metastasis of cancer cells, activation of leukocytes, or progression through the cell cycle. Read More...


Cells actively sense and respond to a variety of mechanical signals — a process known as mechanosensing. Mechanical cues provided by the extracellular environment can modulate a wide spectrum of cellular events, including cell proliferation, differentiation and protein production. Read More...

Tissue Mechanics

Cells define and largely form their surrounding tissues and, in return, receive biochemical and physical cues from them. We are working on resolving this interdependence by quantifying these tissue mechanical properties, correlating them with biological function, investigating their origin and ultimately controlling them. Read More...


Biophotonics describes the interaction of light with cells and tissues. We are interested in the interaction between light and tissues which is governed by the optical properties of cells. Read More...

Polyacrylamide Bead Sensors for in vivo Quantification of Cell-Scale Stress in Zebrafish Development

Nicole Träber, Klemens Uhlmann, Salvatore Girardo, Gokul Kesavan, Katrin Wagner, Jens Friedrichs, Ruchi Goswami, K Bai, Michael Brand, et al.

Scientific Reports 9(1) 17031 1-14 (2019) | Journal

Colloidal crystals of compliant microgel beads to study cell migration and mechanosensitivity in 3D

Katrin Wagner, Salvatore Girardo, Ruchi Goswami, Gonzalo Rosso, Elke Ulbricht, Paul Müller, Despina Soteriou, Nicole Träber, Jochen Guck

Soft Matter 15(47) 9776-9787 (2019) | Journal | PDF

CASP1 variants influence subcellular caspase-1 localization, pyroptosome formation, pro-inflammatory cell death and macrophage deformability

Franz Kapplusch, Felix Schulze, Sabrina Rabe-Matschewsky, Susanne Russ, Maik Herbig, Michael Christian Heymann, Katharina Schoepf , Robert Stein, Ursula Range, et al.

Clinical Immunology 208 108232 (2019) | Journal

Cell Mechanics Based Computational Classification of Red Blood Cells Via Unsupervised Machine Intelligence Applied to Morpho-Rheological Markers

Yan Ge, Philipp Rosenddahl, Claudio Duran, Sara Ciucci, Nicole Töpfner, Jochen Guck, Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (2019) | Journal

Mechanical changes of peripheral nerve tissue microenvironment and their structural basis during development

Gonzalo Rosso, Jochen Guck

APL Bioengineering 3(3) 036107 (2019) | Journal

Some thoughts on the future of cell mechanics

Jochen Guck

Biophysical Review 11(15) 667-670 (2019) | Journal

nanite: using machine learning to assess the quality of atomic force microscopy-enabled nano-indentation data

Paul Müller, Shada Abuhattum Hofemeier, Stephanie Möllmert, Elke Ulbricht, Anna V Taubenberger, Jochen Guck

BMC Bioinformatics (20) 465 (2019) | Journal | PDF

3D Microenvironment Stiffness Regulates Tumor Spheroid Growth and Mechanics via p21 and ROCK

Anna V. Taubenberger, Salvatore Girardo, Nicole Träber, Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich, Martin Kräter, Katrin Wagner, Thomas Kurth, Isabel Richter, Barbara Haller, et al.

Advanced Biosystems 3(9) 1900128 (2019) | Journal

Effects of rigosertib on the osteo-hematopoietic niche in myelodysplastic syndromes

Ekaterina Balaian, Heike Weidner, Manja Wobus, Ulrike Baschant, Angela Jacobi, Anna Mies, Martin Bornhäuser, Jochen Guck, Lorenz C Hofbauer, et al.

Annals of Hematology 98(9) 2063-2072 (2019) | Journal

Controlling distinct signaling states in cultured cancer cells provides a new platform for drug discovery

Steven W. Poser, Oliver Otto, Carina Arps-Forker, Yan Ge, Maik Herbig, Cordula Andree, Konrad Gruetzmann, Melissa F. Adasme, Szymon Stodolak, et al.

FASEB JOURNAL 33(8) 9235-9249 (2019) | Journal

High-Throughput Microfluidic Characterization of Erythrocyte Shapes and Mechanical Variability

Felix Reichel, Johannes Mauer, Ahmad Ahsan Nawaz, Gerhard Gompper, Jochen Guck, Dmitry A. Fedosov

Biophysical Journal 117(1) 14-24 (2019) | Journal

Analysis of biomechanical properties of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells with Real-Time Deformability Cytometry

Angela Jacobi, Philipp Rosendahl, Martin Kräter, Marta Urbanska, Maik Herbig, Jochen Guck

Methods in Molecular Biology 2017 135-148 (2019) | Book Chapter

Real-time deformability cytometry reveals sequential contraction and expansion during neutrophil priming

Kathleen R. Bashant, Arlette Vassallo, Christoph Herold, Reinhard Berner, Leonhard Menschner, Julien Subburayalu, Mariana J. Kaplan, Charlotte Summers, Jochen Guck, et al.

JOURNAL OF LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY 105(6 SI) 1143-1153 (2019) | Journal

Morpho-Rheological Fingerprinting of Rod Photoreceptors Using Real-Time Deformability Cytometry

Tiago Santos-Ferreira, Maik Herbig, Oliver Otto, Madalena Carido, Mike O. Karl, Stylianos Michalakis, Jochen Guck, Marius Ader

Cytometry A 95(11) 1145-1157 (2019) | Journal | PDF

Spheroid Culture of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Results in Morphorheological Properties Appropriate for Improved Microcirculation

Stefanie Tietze, Martin Kräter, Angela Jacobi, Anna Taubenberger, Maik Herbig, Rebekka Wehner, Marc Schmitz, Oliver Otto, Catrin List, et al.

Advanced Science 6(8) 1802104 (2019) | Journal | PDF

The relationship between metastatic potential and in vitro mechanical properties of osteosarcoma cells

Claude N. Holenstein, Aron Horvath, Barbara Schar, Angelina D. Schoenenberger, Maja Bollhalder, Nils Goedecke, Guido Bartalena, Oliver Otto, Maik Herbig, et al.

MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL 30(7 SI) 887-898 (2019) | Journal


For all general inquiries, please contact us at:

Guck Division
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light
Staudtstr. 2
D-91058 Erlangen, Germany


Tel: +49-9131-7133-501
Fax: +49-9131-7133-990

The Max Planck Institute is located right next to the Science Campus of the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, on its northern edge. See the information page on how to find us.

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