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.

Catalyst Europe: Applications are open now

Catalyst Europe, a new programme open to postdocs, doctoral candidates (from any technological field related to health) and clinicians, funded by EIT...

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Let's go! Work starts for the new Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin

The first steps to build the Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin will start in the following week. Here you can find more informations about the...

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Physik und Medizin

Das Max-Planck-Institut für die Physik des Lichts und seine Kooperationspartner stellen das neue Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin vor....

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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...

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

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

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

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

ADVANCED SCIENCE 6(8) 1802104 (2019) | Journal

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

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 (2019) | Journal | PDF


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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