News from the Schwarz group
- As you might have seen above, we like to tweet on professional grounds. Follow @SchwarzUlrich
if you want to keep up-to-date with our interests and activities.
- On Friday May 13 2022 at 5 pm GBT, our collaborative paper with the Frischknecht lab on the collective
migration of malaria sporozoites appeared in Nature Physics. If interested, please read the corresponding
press release by Heidelberg University
- If you want to get an overview over what is going on in cellular biophysics and why it is interesting and important,
listen to the podcast Physik der Zelle (in German).
It is based on an interview of Ulrich Schwarz conducted by Denise Mueller-Dum for Welt der Physik.
- In the summer term 2022, Jaime Agudo-Canalejo from the
MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization at Göttingen will come to Heidelberg to substitute for the chair of Ulrich Schwarz. In particular,
he will teach the course on theoretical biophysics (Wed and Thu 9.15-11 am, room 106 at Philosophenweg 12). Falko Ziebert will
teach the course on Nonlinear Dynamics and Pattern Formation (Mon and Tue 2.15-16 pm, kHS at Philosophenweg 12).
Together with Kerstin Göpfrich, he also offers a block seminar "From Soft Matter to Synthetic Biology".
For more information on our teaching activities, please visit our teaching page.
- In the academic year 2021/22, Ulrich Schwarz will be fellow of the Marsilius Kolleg, the center
for interdisciplinary studies of Heidelberg University. Together with Friedrich Frischknecht from Parasitology and Stefanie Gaenger from Global History, he will work
on the historical, biochemical and biophysical implications of fever diseases such as malaria and COVID-19. In the summer term 2022, he will focus on
his Marsilius studies and not teach any physics courses.
- Our lectures on Statistical Physics and Theoretical Biophysics both come
with scripts, which are especially useful if you consider to take the oral master exam on these lectures.
Check out more on our scripts website that has been
growing over the years into a (hopefully) helpful resource. For newcomers in our field we
recommend the up-to-date scripts on theoretical biophysics (our favorite),
statistical physics, stochastic dynamics and non-linear dynamics.
- For a general introduction into our work, we recommend the review by Ulrich Schwarz on the physics of cell adhesion
that appeared in the Physik Journal 7/2015 (in German). We also recommend the
youtube video of his talk on the physics of the cell by the DAI Heidelberg (in German) and our contribution to the 7/2020 issue of the research magazine Ruperto Carola
on Soft machines: what we can learn from biological cells (main text in German, but also a short version in English).
- For more information on our published work, please visit
our publications page.
- Until Corona changed everything in early 2020, we maintained a list of upcoming conferences in our field.
Now this list has become an archive of
past conferences in soft matter and biophysics 2001-2020 (note that this was a private activity,
the collection is anecdotical and no claim to completeness is being made; conferences attended by
Ulrich Schwarz are marked in white color).
- Office hours (Sprechstunde) are on request, please contact Ulrich Schwarz.
- On May 28 2021, Falko Ziebert from our group and Igor Kulic from Strasbourg have published a theory why
influenza virus can roll across glycan-coated surfaces by using the enzymatic activity of their surface receptors
(Physical Review Letters 126, 218101). This work has attracted considerably attention in different news outlets.
Here is a small collection: Physics (by Philip Ball),
science blog Laika und Freunde.
- The 7/2020 issue of the research magazine Ruperto Carola
is out on the subject of Maschine und Mensch. Here is the PDF of our text on Soft machines: what we can learn from biological cells
(main text in German, but also a short version in English).
- Congratulations to Justin Grewe and
Julia Jaeger for the successful defense of their doctoral theses on July 29 2020.
- In 2019, the Schwarz group celebrated its 10th anniversary at the ITP Heidelberg.
Many group alumni met for a full day of lively and highly interesting presentations and discussions on June 13 at Philosophenweg 19.
Click here for the group picture.
- In a broad collaboration between virology, cell biology, image processing, biophysics and mathematical biology
in the context of the collaborative research center 1129,
we were able to show that in the physiological environment of dense collagen gels,
HIV-1 spreads mainly by direct cell-cell contacts. The theory part included SIR-type kinetic modeling
of virus spread and a Cellular Potts Model for spatial spread in environments with obstacles. Read more in the corresponding
by Heidelberg University (German version).
- Congratulations to Felix Frey for the successful defense of his doctoral thesis on June 5 2019.
- We contributed a bit of theory on microtubule growth to recent work by the Frischknecht lab
on the importance of shape stabilization for malaria infections. Read more about their work
as HFSP news item
and as press release by the university clinics.
- Congratulations to Nikolas Schnellbaecher and Dimitri Probst
for the successful defense of their doctoral theses on Oct 18 2017 and July 11 2018, respectively.
- In recognition of World Malaria Day
on April 25 2018, the Biophysical Journal Blog has reported on our
joint work with the Frischknecht group on the physics of the malaria parasite.
- Recently optogenetics has emerged as a promising new tool to control biological cells
in time and space by engineering light-sensitive molecules into their decision circuits.
In a collaboration with one of the pioneers of non-neuronal optogenetics, Prof. Michael Glotzer from
Chicago, and his biophysics colleagues Prof. Patrick Oakes and Prof. Margaret Gardel,
we have used this new method to activate and measure cellular forces. Read more in the corresponding
by Heidelberg University
- Congratulations to Nikolas Schnellbaecher and Ulrich Schwarz, who received the teaching
awards of the department of physics and astronomy for the winter term 2016/17 for
outstanding performances when teaching as tutor and lecturer, respectively.
- At the 2017 annual meeting of the German Physical Society at Dresden, Germany, Ulrich
Schwarz spoke on March 24 2017 in the Physics of Parasites session on
shape and adhesiveness of malaria-infected red blood cells. In addition he organized
a focus session on Optogenetics for the Cytoskeleton
on March 22 2017.
- At the 2017 annual meeting of the Biophysical Society at New Orleans, USA, Ulrich
Schwarz talked on February 14 2017 in the
Biophysics of Malaria Parasites symposium
on the role of cell adhesion during the malaria parasite lifecycle in the human host.
- In order to predict the behaviour of single cells as well as of cell collective in structured
environments, we have developed a new version of the Cellular Potts Model that allows us to simulate
how cells dynamically position themselves on two-dimensional adhesive substrates. This work
was performed by Dr. Philipp Albert, financed by the EU-project MEHTRICS and published
in the high-ranking journal PLOS Computational Biology. Read more in the corresponding
by Heidelberg University
- In the academic years 2015/16 and 2016/17, Ulrich Schwarz served as a vice dean of the faculty of physics and astronomy.
- From September 25-30 2016, we organized a Bad Honnef Physics School
on Self-assembly in soft matter and biosystems, together with Regine
von Klitzing from TU Berlin.
Click here for the poster and
here for the report in Physik Journal by Nikolas Schnellbaecher and Dmitrij Stehl.
- In July 2016, a
special issue has appeared in FEBS Letters on Integrative analysis of pathogen replication and spread
that includes two review papers from our group, one on adhesion of malaria-infected red blood cells
and one on multiscale modelling of viral systems.
- Congratulations to Fabian Fuchs, who received the 2016 Otto-Haxel prize for the best
theory master thesis in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; to Christoph Brand, who
successfully defended his thesis in Feb 2016; and to Marco Linke, who successfully defended
his thesis in Jan 2017.
- On April 7 2016, our paper on computer simulations of cell ensembles on micropatterned
substrates has been published by the open access journal PLoS Computational
Biology. Check out the paper
or the press release.
- On October 27 2015 at 8 pm, Ulrich Schwarz gave a public talk at
the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut (DAI) at Heidelberg
on Physics of the cell (in German).
This talk is now online at youtube.
Also available online is his talk at the Newton
Institute Cambridge in September 2015 (in English with a strong Germany accent).
- A new initiative (including a monthly lecture series) has been started at Heidelberg
on the Origin of Life. Click here for more information.
- On October 14 2015 at 4 pm, Rob Phillips from Caltech gave a great talk in the BioQuant
Slow Science series. Click here
for the poster.
- Our BIOMS-EMBL-conference
on Physics of cells and tissues 2015 - modelling meets experiment
(organized jointly with Francois Nedelec
from EMBL Heidelberg and Matthias Weiss from Bayreuth University) took
place from Sept 30 - Oct 2 2015 at EMBL Heidelberg and was dedicated to
the memory of Klaus Tschira. Click here
for the poster. For a documentation of this event, check the twitter line below for hashtag #EMBLBIOMS.
- Our workshop on collective cell migration
(organized together with Prof. Frischknecht from Medicine
and Dr. Böhm from Physical Chemistry) took place on July 14 and 15 2015
at the IWH, a beautiful old villa in the Old City of Heidelberg. Click here
for the poster. For a documentation of this event,
check the twitter line below for hashtag #CCM_HD_2015.
- Congratulations to Anna Battista and
for the successful defense of their doctoral theses on
April 15 and May 27 2015, respectively.
- Congratulations to Heinrich Klein
for the successful defense of his doctoral thesis on Feb 3 2015.
- The Schwarz group was part of the EU FP7
project MEHTRICS on combining RNAi and micropatterns techniques for cell-based
high-throughput screens (expired Jan 2015). Read more in the
press release by the University of Heidelberg
(in German) and in the
press release by our SME partners (in English).
- Effective Jan 1 2015, Ulrich Schwarz has joined the editorial board
of Physical Review E (office term until Dec 31 2017).
- Ulrich Schwarz has been elected member of the senate of
Heidelberg University (office term September 2014 - October 2018).
- On Oct 22 2014,
our paper on malaria parasite migration
has been published and highlighted by Physical Review E.
For more information on our published work, please visit
our publications page.
- Together with Martine Ben Amar from Paris and
Alain Goriely from Oxford, Ulrich Schwarz organized
a mini-colloquium on Morphogenesis and Cell Mechanics
Condensed matter conference at Paris, August 24-29 2014.
- Together with Viola Vogel from ETHZ and Alexander Bershadsky from Weizmann,
Ulrich Schwarz organized symposia on cell-substrate
interactions and the role of the cytoskeleton in adhesion,
respectively, at the
World congress of biomechanics at Boston, July 6-11 2014.
- Congratulations to Jerome Soine
for the successful defense of his doctoral thesis on May 7 2014.
- As editor of the New Journal of Physics, Ulrich Schwarz
explained some of the
highlights in the field of soft matter and biophysics.
- Together with Pascal Silberzan from Institut Curie at Paris
and Celeste Nelson from Princeton, Ulrich Schwarz has guest-edited
a themed issue in the journal
on patterned environments for molecules, cells and tissue.
- Our recent work on particle-based simulations of the Min-system has been
highlighted by the Smoldyn website (PDF).
- Congratulations to Max Hoffmann
for the successful defense of his doctoral thesis on Dec 5 2013.
- Our recent collaboration with the Gerisch group has been
highlighted by the Smoldyn website (PDF).
- Together with Gerhard Gompper from FZ Juelich, we have organized a DPG physics school
on Forces and Flow in Biological Systems, 23 - 28 September, 2012, at Physikzentrum Bad Honnef,
Germany. This school offered an introduction into current applications
of continuum mechanics and related techniques to biological systems for physics
students (typically master students and beginning PhD-students).
for the website.
- Congratulations to Philip Guthardt Torres
for the successful defense of his doctoral thesis on May 9 2012.
of the presentation on biophysics at Heidelberg given at the student days on
April 10 2012.
- Congratulations to Julian Weichsel for the successful defense of his
doctoral thesis on Dec 8 2010 (and also for the birth of his daughter
just four days before the defense). After Achim Besser
(April 29 2009) and Jakob Schluttig (June 3 2009),
he is the third PhD of the Schwarz group at Heidelberg. We also
congratulate Thomas Striebel for the successful defense of his thesis
at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology on May 13 2011 (supervised
jointly with Martin Bastmeyer and Martin Wegener).
- The International
Conference for Systems Biology 2011 took place
at Heidelberg and Mannheim in late August. Together with Gaudenz Danuser from Harvard
Medical School, Ulrich Schwarz organized a session on
cell mechanics. We thank all speakers for their great contributions.
- On April 26 2010, a special issue
on cell-substrate interactions has appeared online at Journal of Physics: Condensed matter,
with Margaret Gardel and Ulrich Schwarz as guest editors.
- To learn more on our recent work on modelling the growth of actin networks,
please read the press release