Centre for Biological Signalling Studies

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

  • Disruption of adherens junction and alterations in YAP-related proliferation behavior as part of the underlying cell transformation process of alcohol-induced oral carcinogenesis.
    Husari A, Hülter-Hassler D, Steinberg T, Schulz SD, Tomakidi P (2017).
    Biochim Biophys Acta. 1865(1):209-219.
  • Biomechanical strain-induced modulation of proliferation coincides with an ERK1/2-independent nuclear YAP localization.
    Hülter-Hassler D, Wein M, Schulz SD, Proksch S, Steinberg T, Jung BA, Tomakidi P (2017).
    Exp Cell Res. 361(1):93-100.
  • Orthodontic strain affects the Hippo-pathway effector YAP concomitant with proliferation in human periodontal ligament fibroblasts.
    Huelter-Hassler D, Tomakidi P, Steinberg T, Jung BA (2017).
    Eur J Orthod. 39(3):251-257.
  • Modulation of focal adhesion constituents and their down-stream events by EGF: On the cross-talk of integrins and growth factor receptors.
    Eberwein P, Laird D, Schulz S, Reinhard T, Steinberg T, Tomakidi P (2015).
    Biochim Biophys Acta. 1853(10 Pt A):2183-98.
  • 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
  • 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.