Research Prof. Herrmann
Macromolecular Materials and Systems
The research program of our group focuses on synthetic chemistry and molecular biology. Chemists, biologists and physicists are dedicated to the task of inventing new molecular technologies to create new (bio)molecular and biohybrid structures by combining chemical and biological processes. Our group has pioneered the development of two classes of materials: nucleic acid conjugates and supercharged polypeptides. Inspired by nature, these materials are designed to form well-defined molecular architectures that span multiple length scales from nanometer to macroscopic structures. These structures are key for the realization of complex functions in technological, medical and life science applications.
Our group was the first to transfer concepts from polymer mechanochemistry to the life sciences. Ultrasound and the resulting shear forces in aqueous environment act as external trigger to activate different classes of drug molecules realizing a novel concept for precision targeting medicines.
Yiliz, D., Göstl, R. & Herrmann, A.:
Sonopharmacology: Controlling Pharmacotherapy and Diagnosis by Ultrasound-Induced Polymer Mechanochemistry.
Chem. Sci. 2022, 13 : 13708-13719.
Huo, S. et al.: Mechanochemical Bond Scission for the Activation of Drugs . Nat. Chem. 2021, 13: 131-139.
Besides switching on active pharmaceutical ingredients by ultrasound, we exploit this trigger to manipulate the activity of proteins and genes. Enzymes and nucleic acids are designed to respond to low intensity biocompatible ultrasound to remotely orchestrate biological systems deep inside the body in the future.
Zhao, P. et al.:
Activation of the Catalytic Activity of Thrombin for Fibrin Formation by Ultrasound.
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60(26): 14707-14714.
Zhou, Y. et al.: Controlling Optical and Catalytic Activity of Genetically Engineered Proteins by Ultrasound. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60(3): 1493-1497.
We design molecular glues de novo by exploiting recombinant protein expression and genetic engineering. Supercharged polypeptides were complexed with surfactants to form coacervate-based adhesives with outstanding features such as temperature switchability, hemostatic and wound healing promoting properties.
Zhou, Y. et al.:
Fracture Detection in Bio‐Glues with Fluorescent‐Protein‐Based Optical Force Probes.
Adv. Mater. 2023, 35(16): 2210052.
Ma, C. et al.: Ultra-Strong Bio-Glue from Genetically Engineered Polypeptides. Nat. Commun. 2021, 12: 3613.