Hendrik Dietz, Professor for Biomolecular Nanotechnology
Hendrik Dietz, Professor for Biomolecular NanotechnologyImage: Astrid Eckert

, Biomaterialien & Biomolekulare Systeme, News

Quarantine for Viruses

„Faszination Forschung“ (issue 27)

The TUM science magazine features Prof. Hendrik Dietz and his research.

Though it might seem like an idea from the world of science fiction at first, it could soon become reality: Researchers hope to capture viruses in minute DNA capsules that prowl through the human body. TUM Professor Hendrik Dietz and his team have already laid the foundations for such a technology. 

The coronavirus crisis has emphasized the point that while antibiotics are available to treat bacteria, we have far fewer drugs at hand to treat acute viral infections. While vaccinations have been created to counter some viruses, the process of developing such preventive measures is a tedious one and each vaccine has to be precisely tailored to the properties and characteristics of each virus.

What if we had a general-purpose weapon to fight and eliminate viruses, from COVID and influenza to hepatitis and HI viruses? Researchers are on track to make it a reality. Hendrik Dietz, Professor of Biomolecular Technology, and his team have developed minute traps that capture viruses in the body and “swallow” them. This is an utterly novel concept that sounds brilliantly simple. “As far as we know, what we are proposing has never been attempted before,” the researchers say, in prosaic language typical of scholars. “If successful, it would represent a disruptive advance.”

Read the full article in "Faszination Forschung", issue 27, December 2021
Text Brigitte Röthlein


Christian Sigl, Elena M. Willner, Wouter Engelen, Jessica A. Kretzmann, Ken Sachenbacher, Anna Liedl, Fenna Kolbe, Florian Wilsch, S. Ali Aghvami, Ulrike Protzer, Michael F. Hagan, Seth Fraden & Hendrik Dietz. Programmable icosahedral shell system for virus trapping. Nat. Mater. 20, 1281–1289 (2021). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-021-01020-4

Wouter Engelen, Christian Sigl, Karoline Kadletz, Elena M. Willner, and Hendrik Dietz. Antigen-Triggered Logic-Gating of DNA Nanodevices. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2021 143 (51), 21630-21636. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c09967

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Media Relations MIBE

Scientific Contact

Prof. Dr. Hendrik Dietz
Professorship of Biomolecular Nanotechnology
Technical University of Munich
Am Coulombwall 4a,
85748 Garching, Germany
Tel.: +49 89 289 11615
E-Mail: dietz(at)tum.de