Department of Biophysics

Welcome to the web home for the Department of Biophysics.  The Department of Biophysics is one of ten basic science departments in the Institute of Experimental Physics Slovak Academy of Science.  Basic biophysical, biochemical, and biomedical research are a key mission and activity in the Department.  Biophysics at IEP is wide ranging and covers many biological interests and biophysical techniques:

Amyloid structures (Zuzana Gazova, PhD.). Protein amyloid aggregation – Specific amyloid self-assemblies associated with pathogenesis of many diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and diabetes type II.  We have three long-term goals related to study the amyloid formation: I) to elucidate the mechanism of amyloid aggregation of amyloidogenetic proteins; II) to examinethe role of low-molecular substances and/or nanoparticles in depolimerization or inhibition of amyloid aggregation; and III) to determine the way how to detect the Alzheimer’s disease in early stage.

From biomacromolecules to supramolecular complexes: structure, stability, and reactivity. Experimental and theoretical studies (MUDr. Andrey Musatov, DrSc.).  Most of the cellular functions, activities, and communications are mediated by protein-protein interaction or protein interaction with other cell’s biomacromolecules. Abnormality in such interactions can lead to protein modification and cell malfunction. Our long-term goal is exploring of the structure-function relationship of biomacromolecules, particularly proteins, in normal conditions and pathology. To achieve this goal we apply both, experimental and theoretical approaches. Specific aims of the project are: (i) establish a link between the oxidative stress-induced structural/functional alterations of the cell’s components and age-related disorders. Our current efforts are focused on understanding of interaction of proteins with the modified membrane components; (ii) elucidate the mechanism by which structure and function of biomacromolecules are altered by the reaction with a small chemically active compounds (such as denaturants), and/or nanoparticles. In particular we develop a new method for preparation of the metal (Au, Ag, ZnO, Fe3O4) nanoparticles covered by various organic substances. Those pure fractions of nanoparticles appear to form supramolecular structures with proteins; (iii) implement a mathematical modeling to describe the optical properties of nanoparticles and biomacromolecules. A mathematical modeling approach applied on these components will help to interpret the experimental results as well as to choose the effective chemical compounds for further experimental work.

Biomedical image analysis (Zoltan Tomori, PhD.). Advanced computer vision techniques have growing importance in many areas of biomedicine, especially in microscopy. Our goal is the utilization of specific NUI devices, e.g. Microsoft Kinect, touch tablet to control the “state of the art” experimental devices such as optical tweezers and optical scalpel. Proposed algorithms allow not only recognition of microscopic particles, but also automatic or semi-automatic manipulation of them. The part of this process is appropriate visualization in mono or stereo mode that represents a feedback of interactive algorithms (read more in http://www.saske.sk/~tomori)

In general, our departmental research methodologies cover a broad spectrum of techniques and experimental approaches; employ state-of-the-art instrumentation for biological imaging and protein structural and functional analysis, including optical tweezers, atomic force microscopy, UV/VIS/IR spectrophotometer, spectrofluorimeters, differential scanning calorimeter and many others.

Thank you for your visit; explore our website and discover who we are and what we do.