Our main research focuses on understanding the mechanical properties of molecules, cells and tissue and their impact on biological function in the area of cardiovascular physiology and pathology.  Specifically, we are interested in the development of high-throughput measurement techniques that allow for a non-invasive and label-free assessment of cell state and function. This is of high importance in areas where molecular or biochemical labels are not available or not wanted, e.g. in regenerative therapies. To achieve this goal, we are combining concepts from optics, hydrodynamics and video microscopy.




Oliver Otto

Principal Investigator

Dr. Oliver Otto is our supreme leader and co-inventor of the RT-DC technique. He is a trained physicist with a passion for biology. In his spare time he likes pumping his bicycle, and running 10K just because he can. Beware, he is super friendly and likes cookies.

Peter Nestler

Post-Doc "Maximus"

Peter is a physicist and a great local brew. When he is not recovering from volleyball injuries,  he is volunteering in organizing the cultural activities of the Greifswald shipyard museum. Peter has been involved in several biophysics-related projects and he is now helping to bring the RT-DC technology to next level

Stefanie Spiegler

Post-Doc "Exultantis"

With a pair of molecular scissors at hand Stefanie is cutting across Biology with CRISPR/Cas9 technology and manipulating stems cells
to her heart content in an all-time showdown of how Biomechanics rules. Outside of the lab she rocks the world in the Zumba dance classes that she leads at the University.


Ricardo H. Pires

Post-Doc "Megatron"

Ricardo is a microbiologist trained in biochemistry, who developed a passion for biological mechanics ever since he begun stretching proteins - and now he leveled up to cells! In the evenings you might spot Ricardo trying to train his cat to guard his house (progress report anxiously awaited).


Yesaswini Komaragiri

PhD Student "Acceleron"

Yesaswini graduated in Biotechnology and has set her mind to become a molecular biology expert in the field of cardiovascular research. With a pair of pipettes she is faster to pull the trigger than any wild west bandit - and when she enters the lab, we all know she is coming to collect the reward!

Bob Fregin_edited.jpg

Bob Fregin

PhD Student "Extraordinaire"

Bob is an electrical engineering graduate that came across biology as part of an optics project. To understand biology further is now his life quest, and he comes with full gear. He is a great cook, baker, and has unusual powers of fixing broken things. Some think he is half man, half machine.


Madhukiran Dabbiru

PhD Student "Examplaire"

Madhukiran, aka Madhu, is a biotechnologist that joined our group to work in the development of engineered heart tissues. Madhu's "all terrain" approach to science says he is a rare breed of fighter. When not exploring ideas in the lab, we might find him reading by the sea.

Emmanuel Manu

Master's Student  "Electricus"

Emmanuel is an Electrical Engineer who boldly decided to resolve biological problems. After working as a Technical Engineer in a Hospital in Ghana, he decided to undertake a Master's program in Biomedical Engineering in Germany. He is now doing his thesis project with us, until he returns to the natural beauty and cooking delicacies of his home country..


Muzaffar Panhwar

PhD Student "Magnus"

Muzaffar is our resident computer scientist that has an interest in cells and fluidic systems. While working in fundamental problems he is also keeping an eye on translation and application development.  He never misses a chance to travel together with friends and is always ready to join on a good laugh.


Astrid Kempcke

Secretary "Eximius"

Astrid is our secretary, and the master behind our orderings, and many other formalities. For the rest of us she is a true headache saver. Aside from the occasional cake, Astrid is also our gateway to an endless supply of fresh eggs, pumpkins, plums and all sorts of vegetables, fruits and flowers she brings from her garden .


Doreen Biedenweg

Lab Technician "Supreme"

Doreen is our biology laboratory technician. She is the commander-in-chief of the daily running of our labs and without whom our lives would be a chaos. Unlike her crazy cat she cannot stand the smell of fish, but her ear will always pull her to a good rock music concert. On occasion, you might find her horse-riding.



It is sad to see our colleagues go, but that's how life flows, isn't it? We stay together for so long and try to make the best and most of it. Luckily, from time to time former lab members come back to pay us a visit. This is the little corner where we remember them. 



Our Main Topics


Joint Interdisciplinary Projects

Method Development: High-Throughput Cell Mechanics

Stem Cell & Cardiomyocyte Mechanics



High-throughput cell and spheroid mechanics in virtual fluidic channels.

Panhwar MH, Czerwinsiki F, Dabbiru VAS, Komaragiri Y, Fregin B, Biedenweg D, Nestler P, Pires RH and Otto O.

Nat Commun  2020 May 04. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15813-9 Online ahead of print.

A comparison of microfluidic methods for high-throughput cell deformability measurements.
Urbanska M, Muñoz HE, Shaw Bagnall J, Otto O, Manalis SR, Di Carlo D, Guck J.
Nat Methods. 2020 Apr 27.
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-020-0818-8 Online ahead of print.

Purifying stem cell-derived red blood cells: a high-throughput label-free downstream processing strategy based on microfluidic spiral inertial separation and membrane filtration.
Guzniczak E, Otto O, Whyte G, Chandra T, Robertson NA, Willoughby N, Jimenez M, Bridle H.
Biotechnol Bioeng. 2020 Feb 26.
https://doi.org/10.1002/bit.27319 Online ahead of print.

Deformability-induced lift force in spiral microchannels for cell separation​.

Guzniczak E, Otto O, Whyte G, Willoughby N, Jimenez M, Bridle H

Lab Chip. 2020 Jan 9. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9lc01000a

Cardiomyocyte Mechanodynamics Under Conditions of Actin Remodelling.

Pires RH, Shree N, Manu E, Guzniczak E, Otto O

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2019 Nov 25, 374 (1786). https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0081

M. Mokbel, D. Mokbel, A. Mietke, N. Träber, S. Girardo, O. Otto, J. Guck, and S. Aland

ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering (Article ASAP)

DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.6b00558



Press Release

May 2020

A press release has been published regarding our latest publication in Nature Communications:

"High-throughput Cell and Spheroid Mechanics in Virtual Fluidic Channels"  In this work by Panhwar, Czerwinski et al. we show for the first time high-throughput assays for tissue mechanics. Our results reveal that the stiffness of a single cell exceeds the one of tissue by a factor of 10 thus implying that tissue mechanics is governed to a significant extent by cell-cell interaction


Check the press release here (in German).

New Publication

May 2020

 High-throughput rheological measurements of cells and cell clusters by microfluidics is limited by fixed channel dimensions. Here the authors create virtual fluidic channels inside the cuvette of commercial flow cytometers to dynamically tune channel cross section to
enable rheological measurements from cells and cell clusters.

New Publication

April 2020

This Analysis compares microfluidics-based methods for assessing mechanical properties of cells in high throughput.




Fleischmannstraße 42

Greifswald, 17489


+49 (0)3834 86 22340

+49 (0) 3834 86 22341