Open Projects

Ulrich F. Keyser et al.

These are project sketches of possible projects in these broader areas.
Please contact Ulrich Keyser (ufk20 (at) in case you are interested in one of these projects as a graduate or undergraduate student.

Designer nanopores made from DNA origami

Analogous to origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, DNA can be folded into complex shapes via molecular self-assembly. This novel technique, known as DNA origami, has enabled the creation of sophisticated DNA nanostructures with precise control over size, shape and chemical functionality. This makes it an elegant technique for designing artificial nanopores, which can be combined with solid-state nanopores to build hybrid architectures for single-molecule sensing. We aim to create novel designer nanopores that can be intergrated in solid-state sensing platforms or lipid membranes. We want to build analogues to biological ion channels, that mimic the functionalities found in natural proteins, both for biosensing applications and fundamental research.

Please contact Ulrich Keyser for more details.


A. Seifert, K Goepfrich, J. Burns, N. Fertig, U. F. Keyser, and S. Howorka.
Bilayer-spanning DNA nanopores with voltage-switching between open and closed state
ACS nano
, 9(2):1117-1126, 2015. [ DOI | http ]

S. M. Hernandez-Ainsa, , and U. F. Keyser.
DNA origami nanopores: developments, challenges and perspectives
, 6:14121-14132, 2014. [ DOI | http ]

N. A. W. Bell and U. F. Keyser.
Nanopores formed by DNA origami: a review
FEBS Letters
, published online, 2014. [ DOI | http ]

S. Hernandez-Ainsa, N. A. W. Bell, V. V. Thacker, K. Goepfrich, K. Misiunas, M. Fuentes-Perez, F. Moreno-Herrero, and U. F. Keyser.
DNA origami nanopores for controlling DNA translocation
ACS nano
, published online, 2013. [ DOI | http ]

Mimicking protein channels on a chip

Transport of ions, metabolite molecules and macromolecular solutes across biological membranes is an ubiquitous process in nature. Specifically membrane proteins form metabolite-specific channels with large aqueous pores exhibiting affinities to their metabolites. Recently we have introduced a novel approach for the control, detection and manipulation of single nanoparticles by combining microfluidics with laser scattering and holographic optical tweezers. The aim of this project is to study particle translocations and particle-particle interactions in micro/nano-fluidic channels driven by concentration gradients or electro-osmotic/phoretic forces.
You will learn:
Fabrication of miniaturized lab-on-a-chip devices
Control of holographic optical tweezers for optical detection and manipulation
Programming LabVIEW routines for data analysis and device control
Computational modeling using finite element methods


S. Pagliara, S. L. Dettmer, and U. F. Keyser.
Channel-facilitated diffusion boosted by particle binding at the channel entrance
Phys. Rev. Lett.
, 113:048102, 2014. [ DOI | http ]

S. Pagliara, C. Schwall, and U. F. Keyser.
Optimizing Diffusive Transport Through a Synthetic Membrane Channel
Advanced Materials
, 25 (published online 15/11/2012)(6):844-849, 2013. [ DOI | http ]