Ditzel, Wagenbauer Receive 2018 Nano Innovation Award

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Two young researchers were awarded the 2018 Nano Innovation Award at the Center for NanoScience (CeNS) of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich for their master’s or doctoral thesis in application-oriented nanosciences.

Konstantin Ditzel received the award for the best master's thesis and prize money of €3,000 ($3,400) . As part of the LMU team with Dr. Philipp Paulitschke, Ditzel used lensless microscopy technology to test the efficacy of anticancer drugs. He developed the experimental setup and evaluation of data to influence a drug on several cell vitality parameters, which can be determined simultaneously in a high-throughput, label-free manner. This method allows for the continuous monitoring of cell behavior when treated with drugs, as well as the quick and reliable determination of the efficacy.

The award for the best doctoral thesis endowed with €6,000 ($7,000) went to Dr. Klaus Wagenbauer from the group of Professor Hendrik Dietz at the Technical University of Munich. Wagenbauer developed a new approach to tailor-made, controlled, and self-directed assembly of large, 3D objects from DNA. He used building principles from nature to realize artificial nanostructures, inserting nm-sized DNA objects into each other like Lego bricks. The shape of the building blocks themselves is stored in the sequences of fewer DNA molecules, whereby the shape of the individual building blocks in turn encodes the shape and size of the final object. For the first time, Wagenbauer succeeded in forming defined objects the size of viruses or small cell organelles out of such tiny building blocks. This method might create the basis for promising new types of therapy and diagnosis of diseases.

Both award winners are actively involved in the transfer of their findings to business. Ditzel will contribute his idea and his expertise to a startup company that plans to develop and sell devices for cell culture monitoring. Wagenbauer is a co-founder of a startup company from the Technical University of Munich, which offers services and materials for the construction of nano objects using DNA building blocks.

The Nano Innovation Award is given annually and judged by a jury of experts from science and business. The LMU Center for NanoScience awarded the Nano Innovation Award together with four spinoff companies from CeNS: attocube systems, ibidi, Nanion Technologies, and NanoTemper Technologies.

Published: August 2018
An SI prefix meaning one billionth (10-9). Nano can also be used to indicate the study of atoms, molecules and other structures and particles on the nanometer scale. Nano-optics (also referred to as nanophotonics), for example, is the study of how light and light-matter interactions behave on the nanometer scale. See nanophotonics.
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