Research Highlights 2015

Pinpoint targeting instead of shotgun approach

The ligand (green) fits like a key to a specific integrin (blue/red) on the surface of the cell membrane (beige) – Image: Francesco S. di Leva, Luciana Marinelli / Università di Napoli Federico II

Selective integrin ligand may facilitate specifically attacking cancer cells

[17.12.2015] Integrins help cells communicate with and adapt to their environment. Also cancer cells depend on their properties to survive and spread throughout the body. Now scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have successfully developed a small, highly active molecule that binds to a specific integrin that operates in many types of cancer. In the future it may allow patient-specific diagnoses and subsequent targeted treatment of tumor cells. [more...]

New approaches for hybrid solar cells

Filled with suitable organic polymers the highly porous germanium nanofilm becomes a hybrid solar cell – Photo: Andreas Battenberg

Nanostructured germanium for portable photovoltaics and battery electrodes

[07.12.2015] Using a new procedure researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Ludwig Maximillians University of Munich (LMU) can now produce extremely thin and robust, yet highly porous semiconductor layers. A very promising material – for small, light-weight, flexible solar cells, for example, or electrodes improving the performance of rechargeable batteries. [more...]

World-class nuclear magnetic resonance center

PStS Stefan Müller (BMBF), Bavarian Minister of Science Dr. Ludwig Spaenle, TUM-President Prof. W.A. Herrmann, Prof. Michael Sattler, Director of the BNMRZ with the cornerstone for a new building for the Bavarian NMR Center (fltr) - photo: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

TUM defines a new dimension for biomedical research

[19.11.2015] The Technical University of Munich (TUM) secures its leading international position in medical protein research with a new large-scale, cutting-edge facility: Today, at the Garching Campus, Bavarian Minister of Science Dr. Ludwig Spaenle, State Secretary Stefan Müller of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and TUM President Prof. Wolfgang A. Hermann laid the cornerstone for the new research building of the Bavarian NMR Center. The heart of the facility is a 1.2 gigahertz spectrometer. The investment of 33 million euro is shared equally by the German federal government and the state of Bavaria. [more...]

Graphene gets competition

Crystals of semiconducting black arsenic phosphorus
photo: Andreas Battenberg / TUM

Layered semiconducting black arsenic phosphorus as an alternative to silicon

[09.07.2015] Graphene, the only one atom thick carbon network, achieved overnight fame with the 2010 Nobel Prize. But now comes competition: Such layers can also be formed by black phosphorous. Chemists at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have now developed a semiconducting material in which individual phosphorus atoms are replaced by arsenic. In a collaborative international effort, American colleagues have built the first field-effect transistors from the new material. [more...]

New field of application for versatile helper

Space-filling model of alphaB crystallin. The hexameric subunit is indicated in color
Image: Andi Mainz / TUM

Small heat shock protein as model for Alzheimer medication

[12.10.2015] In Alzheimer’s disease proteins clump together to long fibrils causing the death of nerve cells. Small heat shock proteins can counteract this effect. Scientists, therefore, hope to deploy them as agents in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Using the example of a small heat shock protein, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now uncovered how the protein interacts with other proteins. [more...]

Perpetual youth for batteries?

Dr. Stefan Seidlmayer and Dr. Petra Kudejová at the PGAA instrument at FRM II
Photo: Claudia Niiranen / TUM

Neutrons explain aging process in lithium ion batteries

[17.11.2015] A key issue with lithium ion batteries is aging. It significantly reduces their potential storage capacity. To date, very little is known about the causes of the aging effects. Scientists from the Department of Technical Electrochemistry and the Research Neutron Source FRM II at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now come a step closer to identifying the causes in their latest experiments. [more ... ]

Algae cultivation center opened at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus

The new AlgaeTec facility at Ludwig Bölkow Campus, Ottobrunn
Photo: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

Efficient processes for the production of biokerosene and chemical intermediates

[13.10.2015] The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built a worldwide one-of-a-kind technical facility for algae cultivation at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn to the south of Munich in cooperation with Airbus Group. Efficient processes for producing biokerosene and chemical products from algae will be developed there. The AlgaeTec facility was inaugurated today in the presence of the Bavarian Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs, Science and the Arts, Dr. Ludwig Spaenle, Airbus Group’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Jean Botti, and TUM president, Professor Wolfgang A. Herrmann. [more ...]

Bio-inspired catalyst paves the way to 'gas-to-liquid'-technologies

The copper atoms provide the zeolite with a bluish color
Photo: Andreas Battenberg / TUM

Effective conversion of methane oxidation by a new copper zeolite

[01.07.2015] A new bio-inspired zeolite catalyst, developed by an international team with researchers from Technische Universität München (TUM), Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Amsterdam, might pave the way to small scale 'gas-to-liquid' technologies converting natural gas to fuels and starting materials for the chemical industry. Investigating the mechanism of the selective oxidation of methane to methanol they identified a copper-oxo-cluster as the active center inside the zeolite micropores. [more...]

TU München establishes center for protein research

The new research center will analyze how proteins interact. The picture shows micro rings created by fibers of the muscle protein aktin.
(Picture: Chair for Cellular Biophysics / TUM)

Federal and Bavarian Government earmark 40 million euros for new building on the Garching Campus

[26.05.2015] Technische Universität München (TUM) is establishing the “TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies (CPA)” to concentrate its wide-ranging expertise in protein research. It will conduct cross-departmental research into the functionalities and mechanisms of action of proteins – a key to understanding cells, tissues, and organs. On this basis, the interdisciplinary Center will develop biomedical applications, for example to treat diseases caused by malfunctions in the interplay between biomolecules. The Joint Science Conference (GWK) decided today that the German Federal Government and the State of Bavaria will fund the new CPA building on the Garching Campus to the tune of 40 million euros. [more...]

Highly-endowed EU research prize goes to two TUM scientists

Breakup of a water droplet in air upon the impact of a compression shock - ERC Grantee Nikolaus Adams analyses such discontinuities in the fluid state.
(Picture: N. Adams / TUM)

Nikolaus Adams and Thorsten Bach honored with ERC Advanced Grant

[16.06.2015] Two scientists from Technische Universität München (TUM) have been awarded one of Europe's most significant research grants: Prof. Nikolaus Adams and Prof. Thorsten Bach are among the recipients of Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), each of which is endowed with up to 2.4 million euros. Prof. Adams, an engineer whose research field lies in mechanical engineering, is studying sudden changes in flow state. Prof. Bach, a chemist, is developing new synthetic methods in organic chemicals. Furthermore, Prof. Eckehard Steinbach, an electrical engineer, is the recipient of a Proof of Concept Grant to determine the marketability of a new robotic sensor system. Six ERC Consolidator Grants and two ERC Starting Grants have already been awarded to next-generation TUM researchers this year. [more...]

A protein provides emergency aid

Prefabrication principles: One of the three forms of the protein complex Sip1 is built-up by 32 identical subunits
image: Tilly Fleckenstein / TUM

Regulation of an embryonic small heat shock protein deciphered

[11.06.2015] Small heat shock proteins ensure that other proteins do not clot, allowing the cell to survive stress. Defects in these “small helpers” are associated with medical conditions like cataracts and cancer. Now, scientists at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have characterized a small heat shock protein responsible for embryonic development in the Caenorhabditis elegans nematode. Presumably, a similar protein exists also in humans. [more...]

Zwei neue Sonderforschungsbereiche mit TUM-Forschern

Wie sich neuronale Netzwerke - hier graphisch dargestellt - bei Schmerzen verändern, ist ein Forschungsschwerpunkt des neuen SFB 1158.
(Bild: / ktsdesign)

SFB erforscht Entstehung von Schmerz, Transregio untersucht Wetterphänomene

[26.05.2015] Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) richtet einen neuen Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) und einen Transregio (SFB/TRR) ein, an denen Wissenschaftler der TUM beteiligt sind. Der SFB erforscht, wie akuter Schmerz chronisch wird, der SFB/TRR analysiert die Entstehung von Wetterphänomenen. Drei SFBs mit TUM-Sprecherschaft oder -Beteiligung werden fortgeführt. [mehr...]

From the scent of geranium to cough medicine

The octahedron-like cage catalyzes the cyclization reaction
Image: Johannes Richers / TUM

A simple catalyst helps to construct complex biological scaffolds

[17.02.2015] Terpenes and their derivatives exert important biological and pharmaceutical functions. Starting out from a few basic building blocks nature elegantly builds up complex structures. Chemically particularly challenging are bridged ring systems such as eucalyptol. Chemists at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have now developed a catalyst that initiates the formation of such compounds.  [more...]

TU München distinction for research on bioactive natural substances

Prof. Kai-Olaf Hinrichsen, Prof. Christian Hertweck, Prof. Michael Groll
Photo: Andreas Battenberg / TUM

Christian Hertweck awarded Wilhelm Manchot Professurship

[28.01.2015] The Chemistry Department of the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the Jürgen Manchot Foundation have awarded Jena chemist Professor Christian Hertweck the 2014 Willhelm Manchot Research Professorship. With this distinction, the TUM honors the chemist’s ground-breaking work on bioactive natural substances. [more...]

Put algae in your tank

Student Olga Shostak at the LED-bioreactor
Photo: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

Novel LED technology enables detailed investigation of algae productivity

[08.12.2014] Because food crops are also used for energy production, millions of people are threatened by starvation. Algae could provide an alternative: They only need sunlight to grow, thrive in salty water on barren fields. But it is a major challenge to exactly reproduce sunlight in the laboratory. In collaboration with the Berlin LED manufacturer FUTURELED scientists at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have now developed a methodology for simulating all kinds of light situations. [more...]