The Institute of Medical Biotechnology was founded in June 2010 within the Department of Chemical- and Biological Engineering at the Technical Faculty of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. Head of the institute is Oliver Friedrich who graduated from Medicine and Physics (University of Heidelberg), with a focus on cellular technologies and tissue models, cellular process engineering and optical technologies.
Concept and Research
The institute is embedded in a network of research activities bridging between Engineering, Life and Biomedical Sciences. Apart from addressing cellular processes in various disease models (e.g. genetic mutations, injury, inflammation), there is a strong aspect on systems technology development. This means that we focus on engineering novel metrologies refining existing standard techniques in cell biology and optical microscopy to create novel or improved systems or devices for improved flexibility, multimodality or automation of yet elaborate lab technologies. One example is the field of opto-biomechatronics that we develop and expand in this way, e.g. through muscle biomechanics robotics systems (see our MyoRobot).
We also foster strong expertise in optical laser-based imaging technologies and run advanced multifocal multiphoton microscopy systems that not only serve as imaging platform for collaborative biomedical projects but also as seeding point for the development of novel multiphoton-based endoscopy technologies (e.g. ADVENDO LIFE through a previous FAU-based Emerging Fields Project 2014-2017).
We are a member in the Erlangen Graduate School of Advanced Optical Technologies (SAOT) and the Optical Imaging Center Erlangen (OICE) to merge nano-optics with cellular imaging in life sciences. Current research projects funded by various public sources (e.g. DFG, ZIM) cover engineering of optical readout systems into bioreactor platforms, for tissue engineering and biofabrication or for biomechatronics systems for mechanobiology.
The institute holds strong collaborations with research partners in Canada (McGill University), USA (University of Florida) and Australia (University of New South Wales, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, University of Western Sydney, University of Wollongong, Sydney; Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane) with regular exchange of post-docs and PhD students. Besides applied research, we also aspire to follow a transcommercial approach in feed our systems technologies into potential commercialization, wither with SME partners (e.g. Ospin Berlin, Blacbird Technologies Erlangen) or own spin-off efforts (2019 registered Trademark ‚BioForge‚).
We are currently home to several thematic research units, each headed by one or two group leaders: Muscle Biomechatronics, Optical Imaging in Life Sciences, Malaria Biotechnology, High-throughput Biology & Robophotonics, Tissue Engineering and Biomedical Environmental Process Engineering. Within the single groups, project packages are assigned to multidisciplinary task groups of mechatronics and life science engineers, physicists, biologists, biomedical scientists and students.