Research Breakthrough in Cell Biology Discovered by Jacobs University Scientists

Research Breakthrough in Cell Biology Discovered by Jacobs University Scientists

Researchers here at Jacobs University have recently discovered breakthrough information into cell biology. Working in tandem with one another on a novel chemical concept since 2015, the results of their research revealed a new method of drug and peptide delivery into the cell.

Professor of Chemistry and Dean of Jacobs University, Werner Nau, states that the method “has potential for broad application”. Their findings have earned them a publication in the world-renowned scientific journal, Nature, providing the scientific community with fundamental insight and practical application into cell wall penetration. Their discovery has simplified and expedited the delivery process of positively charged and neutral drug molecules as well as fluorescent dyes into living cells. One such application derived from their research can be in the development a new delivery process of peptides, often used in vaccines, antibiotics, cancer research, and more.

The approach that the researchers found successful to their study involved placing various bioactive substances in cells, whereby those that were able to penetrate the cell wall effectively had been able to overcome the cells’ resistance to antibiotics. The potential for their discovery to shape the field of cell biology and pharmaceutics looks very promising: “After several years of intensive basic research, it is now a great success for us to be able to publish the application potential of our research results,” says Professor Nau.

Many modules at Jacobs require students to conduct their own personal experiment along with a research report detailing their process and results. Writing research papers and conducting experiments here on campus is most probably my favourite way to learn because the possibilities are endless! Being able to make sense of phenomena by way of experimentation gives you a more practical and hands-on experience in your field of interest and has the potential to open many doors and opportunities.

Plenty of research here at Jacobs conducted by both professors and students cover a wide array of different questions, topics, and fields, and can definitely be more engaging to those who find active learning fun and challenging. Getting experience in conducting, writing, and the process of publishing research papers is an essential skill: not only do you have the opportunity to hone your writing skills, but you also might be publishing your own research someday, too!

Jacobs is equipped with laboratories to support research in many fields. I’ve personally taken a laboratory course in neuroscience and was amazed by the equipment we could experiment with. I got the opportunity to use a tDCS device which allowed me to learn first-hand how administering electrical stimulation to the brain works. I also got to monitor my own brain waves using neurofeedback which was a really interesting experience since I was able to visualise my brain activity in real time and understand how it changed depending on the cognitive task being done.

I strongly recommend developing an interest in the field of research even if your end goal isn’t to have your work be published, because there is an immense amount of learning to be done purely from practical, first-hand experience in conducting and reporting on experiments. For many humanities courses on campus you also have the chance to write about virtually any topic of your choice that relates to your module, which can be really interesting to work on because you’re given the creative freedom to write about any topic you might currently be fascinated with – you’ll learn to be much more independent in your learning approach when conducting research than when memorising content.

Learning at Jacobs does not only involve attending lectures, but also involves utilising other methods that help strengthen your knowledge without making the university’s mode of teaching feel repetitive. I hope that if and when you do conduct your own research, you find it both challenging, yet rewarding. You never know when you might also discover a research breakthrough!


BY Kayla collett (Uk) | CLASS OF 2023

Research Breakthrough in Cell Biology Discovered by Jacobs University Scientists