Research


The research team focuses on research in the field of nanoscale electrodynamic properties of proteins, especially their role in radiofrequency and optical processes in cells and organisms. The aim of the research is to find novel paths to electrodynamic and electronic therapeutic and diagnostic methods in biotechnology and medicine. The activities of the team cover a broad multidisciplinary field of experimental techniques and theoretical models.

High-frequency biochips/biosensors

Radiofrequency and microwave biosensors are a platform for dielectric/impedance spectroscopy which enables label-free sensing of biomolecules and cells. Biochip structures also enable microscopic electrical manipulation of single cells and biomolecular structures. We use advanced computational tools for the design and micro/nanofabrication techniques for the production of planar structures which can serve as biochips for label-free sensing of cell viability or molecular interactions with potential applications in biomedical diagnostics.

Dielectric and electromagnetic properties of proteins and cells

Electronic, electric and electrodynamic properties of molecules are essential for their interaction and biological function. Our team develops methods for the characterization of protein electrodynamic properties and examines their role in biological processes and use in biotechnological applications. As a model protein structure the team uses microtubules, polymer fibers from cell skeleton, which have extraordinary electric properties and vibrations modes within radio frequency range. Knowledge of these fundamental electric and electrodynamic properties is important for assessing the function and properties of biomolecules and for the effects of external electromagnetic fields, such as those of mobile phones or ultra-short electric pulses, on the living organisms. The research opens up new avenues in bioelectronic medicine with possible applications in cancer treatment and neuroscience.

Ultra-weak photon emission from biological systems and detection systems

Ultra-weak photon emission is an endogenous chemiluminescence from biological systems where electronically excited species are formed during oxidative processes. This phenomenon does not require any external stimuli or additionally applied external luminophores. We develop our own application specific ultra-sensitive photonic measurement systems to study biophysical mechanisms which generate ultra-weak photon emission in organisms. Our ultra-weak photon emission based techniques enable non-invasive, label-free and almost real-time monitoring of oxidative stress in organisms with potential applications in biomedicine, biotechnology, agriculture and food chemistry.

Grants


Our research has been supported under following grants:

M. Cifra (2015-2017)
Radio-frequency characterization of microtubules using micro- and nanosensors
Czech Science Foundation, P102/15-17102S

M. Cifra (2013-2015)
Photonic Biosignals: Measurement and Characterization
Czech Science Foundation, P102/13-29294S

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