The Institute of Medical Biotechnology was founded in June 2010 within the Department of Chemical- and Biological Engineering at the Technical Faculty of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Head of the institute is Oliver Friedrich, trained in medicine and physics, with a strong background in cellular technologies and tissue models, cellular process engineering and optical technologies.
Concept and Research
The institute is embedded in a network of research activities spanning the gap between engineering, life sciences and biomedical sciences. Apart from addressing cellular mechanisms and signalling pathways in various disease models (e.g. genetic mutations, injury, inflammation), there is a strong aspect on metrology development. This means that we not only use standard techniques in cell biology and optical microscopy but also develop our own metrologies that result in novel or improved systems or devices to improve flexibility, multimodality or automation of yet elaborate lab technologies. One example are muscle biomechanics robotics systems that we design and improve ourselves.
We also fosters strong expertise in optical laser-based imaging technologies and hosts one of the most advanced multifocal multiphoton microscopy systems in Bavaria, which not only serves as service imaging platform but also as seeding point for the development of novel multiphoton-based endoscopy technologies. There is a FAU-based Emerging Fields Project dedicated to this initiative. As Medical Biotechnology, 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 DFG or Staedtler-Foundation cover advanced imaging of remodeling processes and biomechanics/biophysics in myofibrillar myopathies as well as high-throughput system design to replace certain animal experiments for neurotoxicity screening.
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, Sydney; Royal Melbourne Institute of technology RMIT, Melbourne) with regular exchange of post-docs and PhD students. Besides basic research, our missions always includes implementation of bioengineering approaches to support cell science in various disease-related projects.
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 & Organ Printing 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.