The emergence of new cross-disciplinary fields is one of the major driving forces in science and technology. Among the most important of these emerging fields are those which connect the life sciences with other disciplines. In the decades to come, they will not only shape the way we are looking at nature but also profoundly change the way we live. However, the future development of the life sciences strongly relies on basic sciences such as chemistry, physics and mathematics. Among these, physics is the one science that can offer the required methodological advances to explore, describe and explain phenomena at the microscopic scale.

Several key factors single the research activities in Heidelberg: 

  • outstanding research track record and international collaborations
  • proven interdisciplinary research
  • clear focus on physical principles in the life sciences
  • strong working collaborations with industrial partners


Three key areas of research can be identified that comprise the core of the scientific research that is conducted in Heidelberg and which provides the synergy and focus:

  • Optimization / Image Analysis / Molecular Methods
  • Cell Mechanics & Adhesion / Biomolecular Probing
  • Micro- & Nanoscopy / Physics of Radiobiology.

While various fields of biomedical physics have a strong basis also at several other German universities, Heidelberg offers the advantage of a unique broadness of its spectrum, from fundamental questions of biomolecular interactions on the nanoscopic level to the mesoscopic level of cells to the macroscopic extrapolation to the organ level, including neurophysics of the central nerve systems.

Heidelberg offers significant expertise in the following subjects

  • Micro- & nanoscopy
  • Image analysis
  • Semiconductor chip & sensor technology
  • Micro-/ nano-patterned substrates
  • High-throughput biosensor technology
  • Cell mechanics & adhesion
  • Biomaterials and biomimetic systems
  • Simulation of interaction between tissue and highly energetic photons/nuclei
  • Biomolecular probing
  • Structure of biological macromolecules
  • Physical principles of proteomics
  • Functional, molecular and quantitative MRI and MRS, particularly in high field
  • Surface enhanced infrared absorption
  • Reconstruction based on highly accurate physical simulation
  • Techniques for minimal invasive therapies
  • Biological effects in hadron therapy
  • Biologically adapted radiotherapy with high energy photons