Bio(in)organic chemistry, molecular probes
Small-molecule probes are becoming indispensible tools in the life sciences research and in-vitro diagnostics. Research in the Krämer group focuses on the design and synthesis of both organic and coordination compounds for the selective recognition and sensitive detection, often by fluorescent signaling, of biomolecular targets. A typical project involves synthesis, structural characterization and evaluation of function. Group members have the opportunity to become familiar with a wide variety of chemical and biochemical techniques, including the working with enzymes and living cells, often in collaboration with biologists and medical scientists.
Heparins are the most important clinical antigoagulans drugs, with about half a billion applications per year. Monitoring of the patient´s heparin level is important in many clinical situations, but routine assays have certain drawbacks. Our patent-pending fluorescent probe “Heparin Red” allows the fast, sensitive and nearly interference-free quantification of heparins in blood plasma, a complex mixture containing more than 200 proteins (illustration with courtesy of Dr. David Gooodsell, Scripps Research Institute).
Molecular probes that indicate the presence of an analyte by a color change are very convenient to apply but often lack the sensitivity required for bioanalytical applications. We create probes which transduce and amplify molecular recognition into a readable (e.g. optical) signal. The probes are applied in assays for the sensitive and selective in vitro detection of biomolecular targets without specialized instrumentation.
The design and synthesis of small-molecule and bioconjugate probes for live cell applications is directed toward the selective visualization and functional modulation of biomolecular targets such as nucleic acids and glycosaminoglycans.