The goal of our research is to elucidate the functions of life-essential enzymes from humans or pathogens targeting humans and use this knowledge to generate biosensors for the detection of human diseases such as malaria or tuberculosis, or for the prediction of the outcome of cancer treatment.
We study the molecular mechanisms of DNA-interacting enzymes to elucidate the specific features that allow for the development of specific DNA-based biosensors to detect their activities. Most of these biosensors are adapted for optical detection using fluorescence or direct visual color reactions, but future work will also focus on electrochemical read-out methods. In our work we combine molecular biology with nanoscience to develop innovative methods for hypersensitive monitoring of enzyme activities at the single-molecule or single-cell levels. Such methods can be used for the diagnosis of, e.g. malaria, tuberculosis or HIV, and they are used to investigate some of the important factors behind chemoresistance in anti-cancer treatment. Moreover, they may find use in future food production and water quality control. In the future we hope also to contribute significantly to personalized cancer treatment.
Many of our projects have an applied focus, and some of our research has resulted in the start-up of the spin-out company Zymonostics, focusing on developing rapid, sensitive and specific methods for the diagnosis of infectious diseases.