Loose Group

Self-Organization of Protein Systems

How are nanometer-sized proteins able to perform complex functions on a cellular scale? The Loose group studies the molecular mechanisms of intracellular self-organization by using purified components and advanced fluorescence in a bottom-up approach.

Although most individual players required for specific cellular processes have been identified, how they act together to accomplish their specific task is not yet understood. Instead of looking at complex phenomena in an intact cell, the Loose group aims to rebuild cellular functions from purified components. This bottom-up approach allows for a better control of the experimental conditions and a quantitative characterization of the underlying molecular processes. Ultimately, this helps to identify the mechanistic principles that allow giving rise to living systems. The interdisciplinary approach of the Loose group combines biochemical reconstitution experiments with advanced fluorescence microscopy, biomimetic membrane systems, and image analysis. They currently focus on two research questions: 1) What is the mechanism of bacterial cell division, and 2) what are the emergent properties of small GTPase networks involved in membrane formation and vesicle transport?

Group Leader

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Current Projects

Identifying biochemical networks that determine intracellular organization | Studying the mechanism of polarity establishment and cell division


Baranova N, Loose M. 2017. Single-molecule measurements to study polymerization dynamics of FtsZ-FtsA copolymers. Methods in Cell Biology. 137, 355–370. View

Hansen AH, Düllberg CF, Mieck C, Loose M, Hippenmeyer S. 2017. Cell polarity in cerebral cortex development – cellular architecture shaped by biochemical networks. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 11. View

Loose M, Zieske K, Schwille P. 2017. Reconstitution of protein dynamics involved in bacterial cell division. Prokaryotic Cytoskeletons. Sub-Cellular Biochemistry vol. 84. 419–444. View

Nguyen P, Field C, Groen A, Mitchison T, Loose M. 2015. Using supported bilayers to study the spatiotemporal organization of membrane-bound proteins. Building a Cell from its Components Parts. vol. 128. 223–241. View

Nguyen P, Groen A, Loose M, Ishihara K, Wühr M, Field C, Mitchison T. 2014. Spatial organization of cytokinesis signaling reconstituted in a cell-free system. Science. 346(6206), 244–247. View

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since 2015 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2011 – 2014 Departmental Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
2010 – 2011 Postdoc, TU Dresden and Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
2010 PhD, TU Dresden and Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany

Selected Distinctions

2015 HFSP Young Investigator Grant
2015 ERC Starting Grant
2012 – 2014 HSFP Long-term fellowship
2011 – 2012 EMBO Long-term fellowship
2010 Dr. Walter Seipp Award for best dissertation at TU Dresden
2001 – 2009 Student and PhD Fellowship of the German National Scholarship Foundation

Additional Information

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