Nanotechnology is a key technology for medicine which utilizes nanoscale structured materials to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. Nanoparticles are large enough to take up and transport drugs but also small enough to be taken up by cells and to use active biological transport mechanisms. This opens a wide potential for targeted transport especially of sensitive drugs over barriers in the body to the area and tissue of interest.

Research in FMZ focuses on synthesis and properties of nanoparticles for different purposes. Systematic studies regarding the influence of nanoparticle shape, size and surface chemistry on the interaction with cells are one area of interest. Inorganic and organic nanoparticles are used for the identification of suited ligands for the specific uptake of the particles exclusively into defined cellular populations.


A special research area are colloidal hydrogels, so called nanogels. They combine characteristics of hydrogels like biocompatibility, high‐water content as well as tunable chemical and mechanical properties with the features of nanoparticles such as high‐surface area and overall sizes in the range of cellular compartments. These properties make them attractive candidates for entrapment of hydrophilic bioactive molecules such as DNA or proteins to provide a hydrophilic environment and protect them from degradation. For the preparation of nanogels we use inverse emulsion techniques as well as cascade reactions of self-assembly and chemical cross-linking in homogenous phase for the preparation of nanogels. Oxidative cross-linking of thiofunctional polymers for example yields nanogels that are stable in extracellular spaces in the body and in the blood, while the reductive cytosolic conditions after cellular uptake lead to rapid degradation of the particles and release of the payload.

Dr. rer. nat. Krystyna Albrecht
Telephone +49(0)931 201-73581

Figure 1. Scheme of nanogel synthesis.

Figure 2. Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) image of nanogels loaded with Alexa647-hRS1-Reg peptide (red fluorescence) uptake in Caco-Cells; blue – cell nucleous (Hoechst staining). (In collaboration with Prof. M. Sauer)

Inorganic Nanoparticles

Due to the enhanced surface to volume ratio and quantum confinement effects metal or metal oxide nanoparticles, possess new characteristic features as compared to their bulk counterparts. The proper surface functionalization of such nanoparticles, which determines their interaction with the environment, is essential for further application. In our group we design new functional polymeric coatings for various solid nanoparticles including gold, silver or iron oxide.

Dr. rer. nat. Krystyna Albrecht
Telephone +49(0)931 201-73581

Figure 3. Scheme of gold nanoparticles with hydrophilic, functional surface and subsequent laser induced elimination of cells. Reproduced from Feineis et al.

Dr. rer. nat. Krystyna Albrecht
Telephone +49(0)931 201-73581

S. Feineis, J. Lutz, L. Heffele, E. Endl, K. Albrecht  and J. Groll. Thioether-Polyglycidol as Multivalent and Multifunctional Coating System for Gold Nanoparticles. Adv Mater. 2018 Feb;30(8).

I. Zilkowski, F. Ziouti, A. Schulze, S. Hauck, S. Schmidt, L. Mainz, M. Sauer, K. Albrecht, F. Jundt, J. Groll. Nanogels Enable Efficient miRNA Delivery and Target Gene Downregulation in Transfection-Resistant Multiple Myeloma Cells. Biomacromulecules. 2018 Dec 20.

I. Zilkowski, I. Theodorou, K. Albrecht, F. Duconge and J. Groll. Subtle changes in network composition impact the biodistribution and tumor accumulation of nanogels. Chem Commun (Camb). 2018 Oct 16;54(83):11777-11780.

F. Topuz, S. Singh, K. Albrecht, M. Moller and J. Groll. DNA Nanogels To Snare Carcinogens: A Bioinspired Generic Approach with High Efficiency. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2016 Sep 26;55(40):12210-3.

G. H. Bode, G. Coue, C. Freese, K. E. Pickl, M. Sanchez-Purra, B. Albaiges, S. Borros, E. C. van Winden, L. A. Tziveleka, Z. Sideratou, J. F. J. Engbersen, S. Singh, K. Albrecht, J. Groll, M. Moller, A. J. G. Potgens, C. Schmitz, E. Frohlich, C. Grandfils, F. M. Sinner, C. J. Kirkpatrick, H. W. M. Steinbusch, H. G. Frank, R. E. Unger and P. Martinez-Martinez. An in vitro and in vivo study of peptide-functionalized nanoparticles for brain targeting: The importance of selective blood-brain barrier uptake. Nanomedicine. 2017 Apr; 13(3): 1289-1300.

J. Groll, S. Singh, K. Albrecht, M. Moeller: Biocompatible and Degradable Nanogels via Oxidation Reactions of Synthetic Thiomers in Inverse Miniemulsion. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry 2009; 47(20): 5543-5549.

German Research Foundation SFB/TRR 225; project # 326998133

B07 | Development of a micro particle sensor system to establish correlations between mechanical stress and cell functionality during biofabrication

BMBF Research Project

Laser-induzierte, Nanopartikel-vermittelte selektive Zellelimination und Modulation

MEtastases targeting aptamers (META)