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Trinity College Dublin

Prof. Martin Hegner
CRANN - the Naughton institute
School of Physics
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2

Phone: +353-1-8962285
Fax: +353-1-8963037


Welcome to the nanomechanics laboratory at Trinity College Dublin. As the leader of this group I welcome you to visit our website, correspond with members of our group and discuss your technical interests with us. Our laboratory is focuses on the dynamics and kinetics of interacting biomolecules, the mechanics of protein imported to mitochondria membranes, the kinetics of molecular motors under external strain and the nanomechanical action at ribosomal complexes during translation. We utilize state of the art combined force- and light spectroscopy tweezers instruments for single molecule analysis and are also leaders in the development of cantilever array devices and taylor made bio-engineered nano-mechanical biosensors quantitative diagnostic assays in genomics (miRNA diagnostic and siRNA pharmakokinetics), proteomics, and microbio (environmental and ) sensing applications. Most of our developed devices and assays are used in translational science in collaboration with hospitals (St. James Hospital, Dublin) and health institutes (Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel).
A team of 4 researchers (Physics, Molecular Biology, Bioengineering, Nanoscale Science) under the guidance of Martin Hegner is currently developing the next generation of nano-mechanical assays. With several national and international collaborations we are involved in a multi-disciplinary team effort with the goal of developing specialized devices and assays for a rich variety of applications. We are committed to changing the world through discoveries and development of new technologies. Our efforts begin where the imaginative mind meets the experienced. We are excited about what future technology can offer society.

Scope of new projects

We use state-of-the-art optical tweezers to explore fundamental biological molecular processes such as ribosome translation. These experiments provide unprecedented insights at single biomolecule level, fundamental for subsequent understanding of e.g. protein folding, gene regulation or drug effects.
We leverage our world leading position in the field of bio­nanomechanical cantilever array sensors to develop rapid and label‐free sensing tools for small miRNA biomarker molecules from serum, and immunogenic – and vaccine diagnostics.  These research projects are pursued with partners from industry, hospitals and specialized research institutions. Nanoscale scientific approaches deliver innovative, fast, sensitive assays for basic and applied research. A next generation of young interdisciplinary scientists is trained and educated to address major societal challenges related to healthcare.







Sensing Tools for Nano-Systems investigations


Sensing Tools for Macro-Systems investigations


Optical Tweezers

Scanning Force Microscopy

Nanomechanical Cantilever Arrays



Three Job Openings

optical tweezers scanning force microscopy cantilever arrays    
Force resolution 0.1 pN - 200pN
Force resolution 10 pN - 4nN
pN Interaction Forces transduced into nanomechanical motion

Newest paper of the team

Projects:Single Molecule mechanics and spectroscopy:
Current highlights: VirE2 dynamics, dsDNA Mechanics, Mitochondria import, Ribosomal mechanics

Projects:Single Molecule mechanics and spectroscopy:
recent project: Nanomechanical Protein Folding

Projects: Gene fishing, Proteomics sensors, Microorganism sensors, Membrane protein sensors, Ion sensors, Gas sensors.
Current highlight: Tiny Springboards detect Viruses in Fluids


Latest news

Visit from the Minister Nov 2012

last updated: May 20th 2016 - Webmaster