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Welcome to the Braun lab !

Can we create living systems in the lab? Our aim is to recreate the first steps of molecular evolution in microscale experiments. We study the nonequilibrium settings that could create from dead molecules an autonomous mechanism of Darwinian evolution.

One of our focus are asymmetrically heated open cracks in rocks. They can host molecular evolution by an unexpected combination of molecular, thermal and fluidic effects. The temperature difference induces laminar convection which thermocycles genetic molecules for replication. At the same time, polymerization and accumulation is mutually enhanced in a hyperexponential fashion. Furthermore, the thermal gradient selectively traps large over small molecular complexes from a feeding inflow.

We clarify the microscopic physics behind the motion of molecules in a temperature difference, study the nonequilibrium physics of pH gradients, have established methods to driven microfluidics by light and have all-optically studied reaction kinetics and thermophoresis in living cells.

Especially, we developed an all-optical method to measure the binding affinity of biomolecules in complex biological fluids such as serum. Former PhD students Stefan Duhr and Philipp Baaske founded the startup company NanoTemper Technologies (Deutscher Innovationspreis 2012, Step Award 2012) that sell instruments and technology to quantify biomolecule interaction and probe enzyme activity.


--- Sept 2017: The cluster preproposal ORIGINS was successful!
--- Apr 2017: Emergence of Life SFB/TRR Preproposal successful, working on full proposal
--- Jan 2017: Coordinating the Emergence of Life section in the Cluster preproposal "Origins".
--- Okt 2016: Submission of SFB/TRR preproposal "Recreating the Emergence of Life"
--- Sept 2016: First NIM Conference on Molecular Origins of Life
--- April 2016: First OLIM Workshop with Decision towards preproposal for Transregio/SFB on Emergence of Life
--- Jan 2016: Die neue Ursuppe - 25 Min. BR2 Radio broadcast on early evolution 
--- Dec 2015: Arts Price 2zu1 in Munich for Judith Egger (10.000€ stipend) in collaboration with Dieter Braun
--- Nov 2015: Interview with Alexander Kluge in DCTP.tv /  (44Min.)
--- July 2015: Start of the Origins of Life Initiative Munich, first hosting John Sutherland

Selected publications and prizes

plasma_zhenyaCommon coding variant in SERPINA1 increases the risk for large artery stroke

Rainer Malika, Therese Daub, Maria Gonik, Anirudh Sivakumar, Daniel J. Deredge, Evgeniia V. Edeleva, Jessica Götzfried, Sander W. van der Laan, Gerard Pasterkamp, Nathalie Beaufort, Susana Seixas, Steve Bevan, Lisa F. Lincz, Elizabeth G. Holliday, Annette I. Burgess, Kristiina Rannikmäe, Jens Minnerup, Jennifer Kriebel, Melanie Waldenberger, Martina Müller-Nurasyid, Peter Lichtner, Danish Saleheen, International Stroke Genetics Consortium, Peter M. Rothwell, Christopher Levi, John Attia, Cathie L. M. Sudlow, Dieter Braun, Hugh S. Markus, Patrick L. Wintrode, Klaus Berger, Dieter E. Jenne, and Martin Dichgans
(2017) doi: 10.1073/pnas.1616301114

hairpin_replicatorReversible Switching of Cooperating Replicators

Georg C. Urtel, Thomas Rind and Dieter Braun Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 078102 (2017)
doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.078102

Pressetext der LMU

ferdinand best_pic_everProbing the Cooperativity of Binding Networks with High-Throughput Thermophoresis

Greiss, F., Kriegel, F., & Braun, D. Analytical Chemistry (2017)


agerschou_synlett2017Emergence of Life from Trapped Nucleotides? Non-Equilibrium Behavior of Oligonucleotides in Thermal Gradients

Emil Dandanell Agerschou, Christof B. Mast and Dieter Braun Synlett (2017)


moeller_angewSteep pH Gradients and Directed Colloid Transport in a Microfluidic Alkaline Hydrothermal Pore

Friederike M. Möller, Franziska Kriegel, Michael Kieß, Victor Sojo and Dieter Braun Angewandte Chemie (2017) doi: 10.1002/anie.201610781R2



zhenyafiguresmallQuantitative analysis of protease recognition by inhibitors in plasma using microscale thermophoresis

Therese Dau, Evgeniia Edeleva, Susanne Seidel, Robert Stockley, Dieter Braun and Dieter Jenne Scientific Reports (2016) doi: 10.1038/srep35413



shallowProbing of molecular replication and accumulation in shallow heat gradients through numerical simulations

Lorenz Keil, Michael Hartmann, Simon Lanzmich and Dieter Braun
PCCP (2016) doi: 10.1039/C6CP00577B

pmePhotochemical microscale electrophoresis allows fast quantification of biomolecule binding

Friederike M. Möller, Michael Kieß, Dieter Braun
JACS (2016) doi: 10.1021/jacs.6b01756

baazHeat-Flow-Driven Oligonucleotide Gelation Separates Single-Base Differences

Matthias Morasch, Dieter Braun, and Christof B. Mast
Angewandte Chemie (2016) doi: 10.1002/anie.201603779

fiber_thermophoresisQuantitative thermophoretic study of disease-related protein aggregates

Manuel Wolff, Judith Mittag, Therese Herling, Erwin De Genst, Christopher Dobson, Tuomas Knowles, Dieter Braun, Alexander Buell
Scientific Reports (2016) doi:10.1038/srep22829

sheet_microscopySingle molecule imaging in living Drosophila embryos with reflected light-sheet microscopy

Ferdinand Greiss, Myrto Deligiannaki, Christophe Jung, Ulrike Gaul, Dieter Braun
Biophysical Journal (2016) doi 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.12.035

replication_selectionHeat flux across an open pore enables the continuous replication and selection of oligonucleotides towards increasing length

Moritz Kreysing, Lorenz Keil, Simon Lanzmich and Dieter Braun
Nature Chemistry (2015) doi:10.1038/nchem.2155
News in ScienceMag, News and Views by Irene Chen, Science's Editors Choice, Chemistry World, Science Daily, Scinexx, Nature World News, Tech Times, Press release, Radio Eins, Der Spiegel, Deutschlandfunk.

thermal_sieveThermooptical molecule sieve on the microscale

Natan Osterman and Dieter Braun
Applied Physics Letters 106, 073508 (2015), doi:10.1063/1.4907357

grunderpreis Stefan Duhr and Philipp Baaske

with their Team won the Gründerpreis in the category "Aufsteiger"
for the NanoTemper Technologies Startup. Congratulations!

cellthermoThermophoretic Manipulation of Molecules Inside Living Cells

Maren R. Reichl and Dieter Braun
JACS 136, 15955–15960 (2014) doi:10.1021/ja506169b
Article on Phys.org

simonsOur lab was able to win funding ($1.500.000 over five years) by the
Collaboration on the Origins of Life Investigator Award!

The competition was stiff: 2 out of 140 were funded.

electro_thermophoresisWhy charged molecules move across a temperature gradient: the role of electric fields

Maren Reichl, Mario Herzog, Alexandra Götz and Dieter Braun
Physical Review Letters 112, 198101 (2014)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.198101
Synopsis in PRL, Press release.

cgmpDry polymerization of 3',5'-cyclic GMP to long strands of RNA

Matthias Morasch, Christof Mast, Johannes Langer, Pierre Schilcher and Dieter Braun, ChemBioChem 15, 879–883 (2014), doi: 10.1002/cbic.201300773



lebendiges_NGGÜbersichtsartikel: Lebendiges Nichtgleichgewicht

Christof Mast, Friederike M. Möller und Dieter Braun
Physik Journal 10, 29 (2013) [PDF]
RadioWissen broadcast on the Origin of Life [22Min.]



polymerization_trapEscalation of Polymerization in a Thermal Gradient

Christof B. Mast, Severin Schink, Ulrich Gerland and Dieter Braun
PNAS 110, 8030-8035 (2013), doi:10.1073/pnas.1303222110 [PDF]
Beitrag im Deutschlandfunk

step_award Stefan Duhr and Philipp Baaske

with their Team managed to win the 100.000 Euro STEP Award for the NanoTemper Technologies Startup. Congratulations!

labelfreeLabel-Free Microscale Thermophoresis Discriminates Sites and Affinity of Protein–Ligand Binding [PDF]

Susanne Seidel, Christoph J. Wienken, Sandra Geissler, Moran Jerabek-Willemsen, Stefan Duhr, Alwin Reiter, Dirk Trauner, Dieter Braun, Philipp Baaske, Angewandte Chemie 51, 10656–10659 (2012), DOI: 10.1002/anie.201204268 (2012)

ahaThermal, Autonomous Replicator Made from Transfer RNA

Hubert Krammer, Friederike M. Möller, and Dieter Braun
PRL 108, 238104 (2012). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.238104
Links: APS Synopsis

innovation Stefan Duhr and Philipp Baaske

with their Team managed to win the Deutsche Innovationspreis for the NanoTemper Technologies Startup. Congratulations!

lippok Direct Detection of Antibody Concentration and Affinity in Human Serum Using Microscale Thermophoresis

Svenja Lippok, Susanne A. I. Seidel, Stefan Duhr, Kerstin Uhland, Hans-Peter Holthoff, Dieter Jenne and Dieter Braun
Analytical Chemistry 84, 3523–3530 (2012). DOI:10.1021/ac202923j

rnareactorEmergence of Information Transmission in a Prebiotic RNA Reactor

Benedikt Obermayer, Hubert Krammer, Dieter Braun, and Ulrich Gerland
PRL 107, 018101 (2011). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.018101
Links: APS Viewpoint, PhysOrg

gpcrPeptide surfactants for cell-free production of functional G-protein-coupled receptors

Xiaoqiang Wang, Karolina Corina, Philipp Baaske, Christoph J. Wienken, Moran Jerabek-Willemsen, Stefan Duhr, Dieter Braun, and Shuguang Zhang
PNAS 108, 9049-9054 (2011)

mstnatcomProtein-binding assays in biological liquids using microscale thermophoresis [PDF]

Christoph J. Wienken, Philipp Baaske, Ulrich Rothbauer, Dieter Braun and Stefan Duhr
Nature Communications 1, 100 (2010)
Links: Bionity, Research Highlight Nature Methods

replication_trapThermal Trap for DNA Replication [PDF]

Christof B. Mast and Dieter Braun
Physical Review Letters 104, 188102 (2010)
Press: Physics Today, FAZ, Nano 3Sat, Movie:Focus Online, Der Standard, Sueddeutsche, New Scientist, SciNexx

binding_aptamerOptical Thermophoresis for Quantifying the Buffer Dependence of Aptamer Binding [PDF]

Philipp Baaske, Christoph J. Wienken, Philipp Reineck, Stefan Duhr, Dieter Braun, Angewandte Chemie 49, 2238-2241 (2010)
Press: Deutschlandfunk (Radio)

imaging_kineticsHybridization Kinetics is Different Inside Cells [PDF]

Ingmar Schoen, Hubert Krammer and Dieter Braun
PNAS 106, 21649–21654 (2009)

molecular_conveyorAn Optical Conveyor for Molecules [PDF]

Franz M. Weinert and Dieter Braun
Nano Letters 9, 4264-4267 (2009)

Hydrothermal_AccumulationFrom the cover:
Extreme Accumulation of Nucleotides in Simulated Hydrothermal Pore Systems

Philipp Baaske, Franz M. Weinert, Stefan Duhr, Kono H. Lemke, Michael J. Russell, Dieter Braun
PNAS 104, 9346–9351 (2007)

[Commentary by Eugene V. Koonin, PNAS 104, 9105-9106 (2007)]

ThermophoresisFrom the cover:
Why molecules move along a temperature gradient

Stefan Duhr and Dieter Braun
PNAS 103, 19678–19682 (2006)

[Commentary by Dean Astumian, PNAS 104, 3-4 (2007)]

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