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.

Was macht die Physik in der Medizin? – Vorstellung des neuen Max-Planck-Zentrums

Warum ist es eine gute Idee, dass sich Physikerinnen und Physiker mit medizinischen Fragestellungen beschäftigen? Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, Direktor des…

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Researchers discover: This is how microtubuli can organize themselves in growing nerve cells

For nerve fibres (neurons) to be able to transport proteins and other crucial materials along their conducting processes (axons), a directional…

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Diagnosis and therapy of ME/CFS: What can we learn from Long Covid?

Objectively measurable parallels between Long Covid and ME/CFS: Bavarian health minister Klaus Holetschek and chair of the Bavarian health committee…

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Get all Research Information here.

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...

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Embracing the diversity of model systems to deconstruct the basis of regeneration and tissue repair

Aldine Amiel, Stephanie Tsai, Daniel Wehner

Development 150(3) dev.201579 (2023) | Journal

Image-based cell sorting using focused travelling surface acoustic waves

Ahmad Ahsan Nawaz, Despina Soteriou, Catherine Xu, Ruchi Goswami, Maik Herbig, Jochen Guck, Salvatore Girardo

Lab on a Chip 23 372-387 (2023) | Journal | PDF

Evolutionary rescue of resistant mutants is governed by a balance between radial expansion and selection in compact populations

Serhii Aif, Nico Appold, Lucas Kampman, Oskar Hallatschek, Jona Kayser

Nature 13 7916 (2022) | 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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