Biomaterials and Bio-inspired Engineering

MIBE researchers study the microscopic origins of physical properties of biological cells and tissues – such as elasticity, lubrication or the ability to withstand mechanical load. They apply their findings for the development of medical treatments or in prosthetics. In addition to that, MIBE researchers work on robots that can reproduce particular human properties such as sensitivity to touch.

This page presents selected activities in the following research fields pursued by MIBE-PIs within this research area: Biomaterials, Biophysics, Biomechanics | Robotics

Biomaterials, Biophysics, Biomechanics

Cellular Biophysics

PI Andreas Bausch 
Cellular Biophysics Lab 
Lab list of publications 

All living organisms, ranging from the simplest bacteria to the most complex vertebrates, continuously consume nutrients from the environment. These externally acquired resources power diverse microscopic processes that are essential for the survival and reproduction of cells and organisms. Thus in a cellular environment energy is injected at the molecular scales through motion of the elemental energy consuming nanomachines. Elucidating the basic physical laws that govern the collective behavior of such bustling cellular environments is essential not only for deciphering the physical basis of life but also for engineering complex machines that are capable of reproducing or interfering with functionalities found in living organisms, which is needed for identifying cures for malfunctioning found in many diseases.  This research project aims particularly to reconstitute fundamental functional modules of cells connected to the cytoskeletal machinery. 

More Information:
TUM press release: Wave fronts and ant trails (To read more press releases follow the links listed there)

Biopolymers and Biointerfaces

PI Oliver Lieleg 
Biomechanics Research Group 
Research group list of publications

Biopolymers are located inside and outside of eukaryotic cells where they form hydrogels in aqueous environments. Examples include mucus, the extracellular matrix and bacterial biofilms, respectively. Such hydrogels have a dual function: First, they are responsible for the viscoelastic properties of cells and tissues and protect them from mechanical damage. Second, they regulate the passive transport of particles and molecules.

Our research has the following goals:
1. To discover new, to date unknown properties of biopolymers.
2. To identify the microscopic principles that govern the material properties (e.g., mechanics, permeability, and lubricity) of biological hydrogels.
3.     To apply those principles to synthetic polymers, create biomimetic materials and find technical/medical applications for purified biopolymers

More Information:
TUM press release: One at a time (To read more press releases follow the links listed there)

HPC Modeling of Bio-Materials

PI Wolfgang A. Wall 
Institute for Computational Mechanics 
Institute list of publications 

The knowledge about the basic biophysical properties of materials and interaction on the microscopic and mesoscopic scale can be used to computationally model healthy properties and certain diseases in tissues organs. One such example is mechanical ventilation for patients suffering from lung diseases. Here, computer simulations can predict so-called ventilation-induced lung injuries, by modeling the airflow from the windpipe to the smallest airways and the resulting local straining of the tissue. Information obtained from these very complex simulations can help physicians predict the effect of different interventions and develop improved patient-specific treatments in the future.


Cognitive Systems

PI Gordon Cheng 
Institute for Cognitive Systems 
Institute list of publications  

The Chair of Cognitive Systems deals with the fundamental understanding and creation of cognitive systems. 

Our main research topics are: 

• Active Tactile Learning
• Affective Brain-Robot-Interface
• Artificial Robotic Skin
• Cognitive Architectures
• Humanoid Robotic Systems and Locomotion
• Physical-Human Robot Interaction
• Multi-modal Sensor Fusion
• Enhanced Reasoning Methods
• Self-aware Robots
• Social Robotics

More Information:
Press release (with video): Sensitive robots are safer (To read more press releases follow the links listed there)
YouTube Channel