Yvonne Schmitt

Protein adsorption on solid surfaces

Universität des Saarlandes
Fachrichtung 7.2, Experimental Physik

Wiss. Werdegang:

2003 Abitur
2003 Studium der Physik und Mathematik an der Universität des Saarlandes
2004 Vordiplom in Mathematik
2005 Vordiplom in Physik
Diplomarbeit: “Proteinfilms: dynamics and morphology”, Universität des Saarlandes
2008 research assistant in Perth, Western Australia
2008 - Doktorarbeit: "structure of adsorbed proteinfims", Universität des Saarlandes

When a solution containing proteins comes in contact with a surface, the proteins adsorb to it. This process is of great importance in many respects: The adsorption of proteins is the first step in the formation of a biofilm, a complex network of bacteria, proteins, ... .
The formation of such a biofilm can lead to inflammations after implantations or to dental plaque. But biofilms are not just a problem in medicine. Also e.g. the shipping industry suffers from increased fuel consumption caused by biofilms on the ship hull.

Despite the relevance of this topic, many questions still remain unanswered: What are the leading forces? How do proteins change themselves and the surface by adsorption? Can we control the adsorption by smartly tailoring the surface?

By investigating the distribution of adsorbed proteins we try to get a better understanding of the adsorption process. We focus on how adsorbed proteins influence the behaviour of further adsorbing proteins. To visualize the distribution of this proteins, we use an atomic force microscope which allows us to determine the topography of the surface together with the adsorbed proteins in the solution.