The Biological Physics Group @ BU-ME

Scientific Motivation

Approaching biology and medicine from a interdisciplinary perspective by using physical concepts and novel methods to unravel the principles of living systems. What principle is the source for the integration to form cells, organs, the brain or our microvascular system without falling apart:

I. Pulses, Enzymes and Thermodynamic Transitions at Interfaces

- understanding biological communication and signaling
- physically controlled cell adaptation and integration
- thermodynamically controlled enzymes
- the brain, nerves, channels and propagation in soft matter

II. Understanding Thrombus Formation

- self organized blood clotting by vWF and a physical foundation of thrombus formation
- collective aggregation under flow
- nano and micro acoustic waves to mimic microvascular conditions
- lab-on-a-chip nanotechnology
- the unifying interface for clotting and cancer: inflammation

III. Some of my methods for blood clotting, inflammation and lab-on-a-chip tools

Schneider methods

On Thermodynamics and the Shoulders of Einstein and others

“Eine Theorie ist desto eindrucksvoller, je größer die Einfachheit ihrer Prämissen ist, je verschiedenartigere Dinge sie verknüpft, und je weiter ihr Anwendungsbereich ist. Deshalb der tiefe Eindruck, den die klassische Thermodynamik auf mich machte. Es ist die einzige physikalische Theorie allgemeinen Inhaltes, von der ich überzeugt bin, dass sie im Rahmen der Anwendbarkeit ihrer Grundbegriffe niemals umgestossen werden wird (zur besonderen Beachtung der grundsätzlichen Skeptiker).”

Albert Einstein, 1946 (Autobiographical Notes)

“A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its area of applicability. Therefore the deep impression that classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content concerning which I am convinced that, within the framework of applicability of its basic concepts, it will never be overthrown (for the special attention of those who are sceptics on principle).” (engl. translation by Paul Arthur Schilpp).

Recent Research

  • Acoustic Packets on a Flatland: A new basis for biological signaling?
    This study provides first evidence that packets of sound can propagate without dispersion (solitary waves) in 2D single molecule thin films of phospholipids. The resulting systematic reorientation and condensation of the molecules was observed optically via energy transfer. The study predicts that single bio-molecules, the “inhabitants” of the flatland, can literally “talk” via the continuous 2D interface.
    While the 2D acoustic phenomenon exhibit striking similarities (solitary, biphasic with a threshold) to communication in nerves, if it can indeed form a new basis for biological signaling remains to be seen. The work has been published today in the Journal of Royal Society Interface. Also featured in 

     An optically measured solitary wave (top) that suggests a propagating local transition in a hydrated lipid interface (bottom). Note the stunning similarity to the biphasic shape of Hodgkin and Huxley's action potential

    Posted Jun 20, 2014, 12:09 PM by Matthias Schneider
  • Learning from Nature:
    The dynamic, reversible clot. High shear induces aggregates that are only stable
    under flow. Once hydrodynamic stress is released they fall apart and are ready to be used somewhere else again. 
    Nature Comm. (4) 1333 (2013).
    Image by Hsieh Chen (MIT).

    Posted Jan 18, 2013, 5:11 AM by Matthias Schneider
  • Physics of Signaling
    Propagation of 2D Pressure Pulses in Lipid Monolayers and Its Possible Implications for Biology

    The existence and propagation of acoustic pressure pulses on lipid monolayers at the air-water interface are directly observed by simple mechanical detection. The pulses are excited by small amounts of solvents added to the monolayer. Controlling the state of the lipid interface, we show that the pulses propagate at velocities c following the lateral compressibility κ. This is manifested by a pronounced minimum in c (∼0.3  m/s) within the transition regime. The role of interface density pulses in biology is discussed, in particular, in the context of communicating localized alterations in protein function (signaling) and nerve pulse propagation.

    Physical Review Letter's: Editor's Suggestion
    J. Griesbauer, S. Bössinger, A. Wixforth, and M. F. Schneider
    Published 9 May 2012 (5 pages)
    Posted Jan 23, 2013, 4:18 AM by Matthias Schneider
  • The Flatland-Factory: nanoscale acoustic waves, transport and separate membrane anchored proteins in 2Dimension.

    Reference: J. Neuman, M. Hennig, A. Wixforth, J. Rädler, M.F. SchneiderTransport, Separation, and Accumulation of Proteins on Supported Lipid BilayersNanoletters 10 (8), pp 2903–2908 (2010)

    Posted Apr 26, 2011, 4:16 AM by Matthias Schneider
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