Mathias Lösche-Dept of Physics - Carnegie Mellon University

Mathias Lösche

Professor of Physics, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Physics

Office: Wean 6311
Phone: 412-268-2735
Fax: 412-681-8252


Ph.D., Technical University of Munich


In the past few decades, biology has revolutionalized our understanding of how living matter organizes itself to achieve the most astounding feat on the planet: Create intricate, organized structures that self-replicate and continuously develop further - despite the dictum of entropy which inequitably favors disorder over order. Are living systems therefore somehow miraculously exempt from the laws of Physics? - No, they have "learned" to exploit loopholes in the dictate of entropy in truly stunning ways! Biological Physics is a fascinating branch of "mainstream Physics" that tries to solve the underlying puzzles.

Our work in Experimental Biophysics focuses on the functional, structural and dynamic characterization of biomimetic membranes (that is, artifical and lipid bilayer systems that are simpler than complex biological membranes but capture their fundamental Physics aspects). For example, we use surface-sensitive x-ray and neutron scattering alongside with electrochemical and advanced optical techniques to identify, characterize, and optimize membrane models in which we study the association of proteins with lipid bilayers. Microscopy techniques are used to assess their in-plane fluidity, dynamics, and 2D morphology. With this set of tools, we investigate experimentally the physical principles of membrane self-assembly and functionality. We also study the molecular origins of disease, through quantification of the membrane interactions of proteins and peptides, such as neurotransmitters, toxins or tumor suppressor proteins. These studies contribute to a deeper understanding of disease mechanisms, cellular attack through pathogens and the self-assembly of viral particles, such as HIV, in affected cells.

Selected Publications

  • Frank Heinrich, Mathias Lösche, Zooming in on disordered systems: Neutron reflection studies of proteins associated with fluid membranes, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes 1838, 2341 (2014)
  • F. Heinrich, H. Nanda, H. Z. Goh, C. Bachert, M. Losche, A. D. Linstedt, Myristoylation Restricts Orientation of the GRASP Domain on Membranes and Promotes Membrane Tethering, Journal of Biological Chemistry 289, 9683 (2014)
  • Agnieszka Kalinowski, Zhao Qin, Kelli Coffey, Ravi Kodali, Markus J. Buehler, Mathias Lösche, Kris Noel Dahl, Calcium Causes a Conformational Change in Lamin A Tail Domain that Promotes Farnesyl-Mediated Membrane Association, Biophysical Journal 104, 2246 (2013)
  • Goh Haw Zan, Cheemeng Tan, Markus Deserno, Frederick Lanni, Mathias Lösche, Hemifusion of giant unilamellar vesicles with planar hydrophobic surfaces: a fluorescence microscopy study, Soft Matter 8, 10877 (2012)
  • Siddharth S. Shenoy, Hirsh Nanda, Mathias Lösche, Membrane association of the PTEN tumor suppressor: Electrostatic interaction with phosphatidylserine-containing bilayers and regulatory role of the C-terminal tail, Journal of Structural Biology 180, 394 (2012)
  • Siddharth Shenoy, Prabhanshu Shekhar, Frank Heinrich, Marie-Claire Daou, Arne Gericke, Alonzo H. Ross, Mathias Lösche, Membrane Association of the PTEN Tumor Suppressor: Molecular Details of the Protein-Membrane Complex from SPR Binding Studies and Neutron Reflection, PLoS ONE 7, e32591 (2012)
  • Prabhanshu Shekhar, Hirsh Nanda, Mathias Lösche, Frank Heinrich, Continuous distribution model for the investigation of complex molecular architectures near interfaces with scattering techniques, Journal of Applied Physics 110, 102216 (2011)
  • Peter N Yaron, Brian D Holt, Philip A Short, Mathias Lösche, Mohammad F Islam, Kris Dahl, Single wall carbon nanotubes enter cells by endocytosis and not membrane penetration, Journal of Nanobiotechnology 9, 45 (2011)
  • Hirsh Nanda, Siddhartha A.K. Datta, Frank Heinrich, Mathias Lösche, Alan Rein, Susan Krueger, Joseph E. Curtis, Electrostatic Interactions and Binding Orientation of HIV-1 Matrix Studied by Neutron Reflectivity, Biophysical Journal 99, 2516 (2010)
  • Stephen A. Holt, Anton P. Le Brun, Charles F. Majkrzak, Duncan J. McGillivray, Frank Heinrich, Mathias Lösche, Jeremy H. Lakey, An ion-channel-containing model membrane: structural determination by magnetic contrast neutron reflectometry, Soft Matter 5, 2576 (2009)
  • Duncan J. McGillivray, Gintaras Valincius, Frank Heinrich, Joseph W.F. Robertson, David J. Vanderah, Wilma Febo-Ayala, Ilja Ignatjev, Mathias Lösche, John J. Kasianowicz, Structure of Functional Staphylococcus aureus α-Hemolysin Channels in Tethered Bilayer Lipid Membranes, Biophysical Journal 96, 1547 (2009)
  • Gintaras Valincius, Frank Heinrich, Rima Budvytyte, David J. Vanderah, Duncan J. McGillivray, Yuri Sokolov, James E. Hall, Mathias Lösche, Soluble Amyloid β-Oligomers Affect Dielectric Membrane Properties by Bilayer Insertion and Domain Formation: Implications for Cell Toxicity, Biophysical Journal 95, 4845 (2008)
  • J. Pittler, W. Bu, D. Vaknin, A. Travesset, D. McGillivray, M. Lösche, Charge Inversion at Minute Electrolyte Concentrations, Physical Review Letters 97, 046102 (2006)
  • David Vaknin, Peter Krüger, Mathias Lösche, Anomalous X-Ray Reflectivity Characterization of Ion Distribution at Biomimetic Membranes, Physical Review Letters 90, 178102 (2003)