Cluster of Excellence –
University of Freiburg

Prof. Pascal Tomakidi

Prof. Pascal Tomakidi

Oral Biotechnology
University Medical Center Freiburg

+49 761 270 47450

The work of our group aims at understanding how biomechanical cues of the extracellular environment, e.g. micropatterning of cell adhesion points and substrate/matrix stiffness/elasticity govern cell behaviour, in order to maintain or modulate cell and tissue homeostasis.

To this end, identification and characterization of mechano-sensitive molecules is indispensible. In this context, molecules of particular importance address cell functions including (i) mechanopercetion, (ii) signal-/mechanotransduction, and (iii) execution of mechano-response. To realize this aim, we employ simple monolayer cultures and/or interactive co-cultures of tissue-relevant cells, considering physiological, i.e. soluble growth factor-orchestrated in vivo-relevant cell-to-cell-interactions. Tissues addressed include epithelia in conjunction with connective tissue counterparts of oral cavity and skin, the periodontal ligament as well as the alveolar bone, but also cornea. As a prospective goal, we focus on translation of the experimental progressive elucidation of biomechanics in mechano-signalling terms into material science, i.e. the creation of new tissue-supporting biomaterials. 

10 seleceted publications

  • Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) perspectives in mechanobiology: implications for cell behaviour.
    Tomakidi P, Schulz S, Proksch S, Weber W, Steinberg T (2014).
    Cell Tissue Res. 357(3):515-26.
  • Substrate elasticity as biomechanical modulator of tissue homeostatic parameters in corneal keratinocytes.
    Moers K, Steinberg T, Schlunck G, Reinhard T, Tomakidi P, Eberwein P (2013).
    Exp Cell Res. 319(12):1889-901.
  • Pharmacologically tunable PEG-based cell growth substrate.
    Gübeli RJ, Laird D, Ehrbar M, Ritter BS, Steinberg T, Tomakidi P, Weber W (2013).
    Acta Biomater. 9(9):8272-8
  • Multi-chromatic control of mammalian gene expression and signaling.
    Müller K, Engesser R, Schulz S, Steinberg T, Tomakidi P, Weber CC, Ulm R, Timmer J, Zurbriggen MD, Weber W (2013).
    Nucleic Acids Res. 41(12):e124
  • A red/far-red light-responsive bi-stable toggle switch to control gene expression in mammalian cells.
    Müller K, Engesser R, Metzger S, Schulz S, Kämpf MM, Busacker M, Steinberg T, Tomakidi P, Ehrbar M, Nagy F, Timmer J, Zubriggen MD, Weber W (2013).
    Nucleic Acids Res. 41(7):e77
  • Expression of keratinocyte biomarkers is governed by environmental biomechanics.
    Eberwein P, Steinberg T, Schulz S, Zimmermann D, Accardi R, Reinhard T, Tomakidi P (2011).
    Eur J Cell Biol. 90(12):1029-40
  • Strain response in fibroblasts indicates a possible role of the Ca(2+)-dependent nuclear transcription factor NM1 in RNA synthesis.
    Steinberg T, Ziegler N, Alonso A, Kohl A, Müssig E, Proksch S, Schulz S, Tomakidi P (2011).
    Cell Calcium 49(4):259-71.
  • Mechano-transduction in periodontal ligament cells identifies activated states of MAP-kinases p42/44 and p38-stress kinase as a mechanism for MMP-13 expression.
    Ziegler N, Alonso A, Steinberg T, Woodnutt D, Kohl A, Müssig E, Schulz S, Tomakidi P (2010).
    BMC Cell Biol. 28; 11-10.
  • Soft micropillar interfaces of distinct biomechanics govern behaviour of periodontal cells.
    Müssig E, Schulz S, Spatz JP, Ziegler N, Tomakidi P, Steinberg T (2010).
    Eur J Cell Biol. 89(4):315-25.
  • Connective-Tissue Fibroblasts Established on Micropillar Interfaces are Pivotal for Epithelial-Tissue Morphogenesis.
    Mussig E, Steinberg T, Schulz S, Spatz JP, Ulmer J, Grabe N, Kohl A, Komposch G, Tomakidi P (2008).
    Adv Funct Mat 18 (19):2919-2929.