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 rebuilding cellular functions in a bottom-up approach.

Although we often know which proteins are required for specific processes in the cell, how they act together to accomplish this 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 to give rise to living systems. The interdisciplinary approach of the Loose group combines biochemical reconstitution experiments with advanced fluorescence microscopy, biomimetic membrane systems, and computer-aided 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 identity formation and vesicle transport?

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Current Projects

Self-organization of the bacterial cell division machinery | Emergent properties of small GTPase networks


Düllberg CF, Auer A, Canigova N, Loibl K, Loose M. 2021. In vitro reconstitution reveals phosphoinositides as cargo-release factors and activators of the ARF6 GAP ADAP1. PNAS. 118(1), e2010054118. View

Bezeljak U, Loya H, Kaczmarek BM, Saunders TE, Loose M. 2020. Stochastic activation and bistability in a Rab GTPase regulatory network. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117(12), 6504–6549. View

Dos Santos Caldas PR, Radler P, Sommer CM, Loose M. 2020. Computational analysis of filament polymerization dynamics in cytoskeletal networks. Methods in Cell Biology. 158, 145–161. View

Baranova NS, Radler P, Hernández-Rocamora VM, Alfonso C, Lopez Pelegrin MD, Rivas G, Vollmer W, Loose M. 2020. Diffusion and capture permits dynamic coupling between treadmilling FtsZ filaments and cell division proteins. Nature Microbiology. View

Dos Santos Caldas PR, Lopez Pelegrin MD, Pearce DJG, Budanur NB, Brugués J, Loose M. 2019. Cooperative ordering of treadmilling filaments in cytoskeletal networks of FtsZ and its crosslinker ZapA. Nature Communications. 10, 5744. 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

2016 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

Open Loose group website

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