Duration: 36 months

Coordinator: Prof. Petra Schwille, Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)

Contact Person:

Prof. Petra Schwille
Room 328, Biophysics – Schwille Lab
Biotechnologisches Zentrum der TU Dresden
Tatzberg 47-51
01307 Dresden (Germany)
e-mail: petra.schwille[at] 
tel: (+49) 351 46340328
fax: (+49) 351 46340342



  • Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)
  • University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  •  Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands)


Project Description:

This collaborative European project is aimed at the design of new biological, biophysical and nanotechnological strategies how to manipulate and thereby investigate key steps in bacterial cell division in living bacteria, and to reconstitute these mechanisms in a minimal system based on liposomes. The final goals are twofold: first, better understanding of the relevance of topological constraints on cell division and proliferation, and second, design of an evolvable minimal cell system comprising the essential components for controlled encapsulation and replication of genetic material, using the key players of the bacterial cell division machinery (divisome). Our team is highly complementary, consisting of: 1) an expert in E.coli cell biology, particularly the chromosome organization and segregation in the living cell (Sherratt, United Kingdom), 2) a biophysicist with a strong background of cell and membrane biophysics, employing giant vesicles as toolboxes for bottom-up biology (Schwille, Germany), and 3) a nanotechnologist who developed new concepts for bacterial shape and growth control on micro- and nanofluidic structures (Dekker, The Netherlands). By bringing together these expertises, we are convinced that we can build a powerful incubator for novel technology-driven synthetic biology on the basis of bacterial systems in Europe. (Photo: Patterns generated by the self-organization of Min proteins in vitro, being part of the E.Coli divisome. (source: Loose et al., Science 2008))