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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 bioanalytics 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 focusing on bioanalytics at molecular – and system level. We explore 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 develop and utilize state of the art combined force – and optical spectroscopy tweezers instruments for single biomolecule analysis. We design in-vitro diagnostic MEMS platforms based on microfluidic liquid systems and tailor made bio-engineered nano-mechanical biosensors. Our current research focus is on quantitative diagnostic assays in drug monitoring (miRNA diagnostic and siRNA pharmakokinetics), proteomics, microbio (environmental and clinical) and heamostasis assays. Most of our developed devices and assays awill be used in translational science in collaboration with hospitals (St. James Hospital, Dublin and Lund University, SWE) and health institutes (Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel).
A team of 5 researchers (Physics, Molecular Biology, Bioengineering, Nanoscale Science) under the guidance of Martin Hegner is currently developing the next generation of in vitro-diagnostic 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 leading position in the field of bio­nanomechanical cantilever array sensors to develop rapid and label‐free sensing platforms for small miRNA biomarker molecules from serum, and immunogenic – vaccine and haemostasis 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



One Job Opening

ibosomal Translation
scanning force microscopy
cantilever arrays
Force resolution 0.1 pN - 200pN
Position resolution 0.1 nm
Force resolution 10 pN - 4nN
Position resolution 0.1 nm
pN Interaction Forces transduced into nanomechanical motion
Position resolution 1 nm

Newest paper of the team

Projects:Single Molecule mechanics and spectroscopy:
Highlights: Ribosome translation, 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.
Highlights: Tiny Springboards detect Viruses in Fluids


In the PRESS

Visit from the Minister Nov 2012

last updated: May 16th 2017 - Webmaster