Research Fields

Fluorescence microspectroscopy

An experimental setup for fluorescence microspectroscopy (FMS) has been developed which enables acquisition of fluorescence emission spectra in each voxel of confocal fluorescence images. Spectral contrasting of the images allows (i) (co)localization of fluorescent probes with considerably overlapping emission spectra, (ii) identification and tracking of fluorescent nanoparticles that are smaller than the optical diffraction limit, and (iii) characterization of very small differences in local surroundings that can be detected by environment-sensitive probes. A shift in spectral maximum of down to 1 nm can be reliably resolved with our FMS system.

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Synthesis of double fluorescent-spin probes

New, dual fluorescent spin-probes and their fluorescent amine analogues, as potential spin traps, have been synthesized and characterized. Dual probes allow real-time localization of the spin probes in the investigated system, revealing the origin of acquired EPR signal by fluorescence microscopy. Moreover, we use environment-sensitive dyes, such as NBD or coumarin, that can provide additional information about their molecular surroundings, using fluorescence microspectroscopy. We believe that such double probes will be particularly useful for studies of plasma membrane heterogeneity and associated cellular processes.

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EPR Characterization of Biosystem Complexity

Following the widely spread EPR spin-label applications for biosystem characterization, a computational method for multicomponent EPR spectal simulations, based on a hybrid evolutionary optimization (HEO), was introduced. The information is analysed with a so-called GHOST condensation method for automatic detection of the degree of system complexity through the construction of multi-dimensional solution distributions. The methodology can be applied to various fields, i.e. determination of biomembrane domains or low-resolution structure of membrane proteins.

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SDSL-ESR-based protein structure characterization

An alternative method to characterize the structure of flexible, less-ordered (membrane) proteins, which are still a major challenge for existing high-resolution structure-determination methods, is being developed. We address the problem with a novel combination of site-directed spin labelling electron spin resonance spectroscopy (SDSL-ESR) and protein structure modelling, which is coupled by restriction of the conformational spaces of the amino acid side chains.

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Material biocompatibility

Porous gelatine gels are being investigated as scaffolds for 3D cell culturing. Fluorescence microscopy and microspectroscopy are used to monitor cell viability and cell-material interactions. By optical tweezers we can simulate mechanical stress.

Project is running in scope of Centre of Excellence NAMASTE and in collaboration with the group of dr. Vanja Kokol at Faculty of Engineering, University of Maribor.

Antimicrobial surfaces

Several nanomaterials, when subjected to light, produce free radicals that kill bacteria without the possibility to develop resistance. Keeping surfaces clean with the aid of nanomaterials seems to be the way to go, but before wide-spread application, we need to understand how these materials can get into the human body and how they act there. We develop new methods of detection and study interactions between nanomaterials and cells, both in vitro and in vivo.

Project is running in scope of Centre of Excellence NAMASTE.

Reasonable use of energy and building biophysics

Optimization of passive and solar buildings from energetical, biological and biophysical point of view.

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