Prof. Martin Hegner

Principal Investigator CRANN



Prof. Hegner studied Life Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich in 1984 (CH). He received his Diploma ("master of science") degree in Cellular Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Immunology and Toxicology in 1989 and he completed his PhD thesis in 1994 with work in the field of 'Protein Translocation across Membranes' and 'Biological Scanning Probe Microscopy' at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Institute for Biochemistry in Zurich. In 1994-96 he had a post-doctoral position at the Institute of Physics in Basel in the laboratory of Prof. H.-J. Güntherodt, a pioneer in the field of scanning probe microscopy. Thereafter ('96-'99) he joined the world leading group of C. Bustamante at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Eugene, OR and then at University of California at Berkeley, CA as a research associate to acquire know-how in the field of single molecule manipulation with optical tweezers. In 1999 he joined the Institute of Physics at University of Basel (Switzerland) as group and project leader for biological nanoscale science within the newly founded Swiss National Centre of Competence 'Nanoscale Science'. Until today he introduced several novel approaches to investigate molecular interactions with nanomechanical tools. In 2001 he received his 'venia docendi' in Experimental Physics at the University of Basel, Switzerland and in 2007 he joined the Physics faculty of the University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin Ireland. He was appointed as Professor and pursues his interdisciplinary research in the Centre of Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) in the field of Nanobiotechnology.

Full contact details:

Prof. Martin Hegner
Principal Investigator
The Naughton institute
School of Physics
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2,

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

Academic Experience

Prof. Martin Hegner's Academic Experiences since 1989
YearAcademic Experience
1989 Diploma ETH Zurich (Life Science; Masters in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
1994 Ph.D ETH Zurich, (Life Science; Diss. ETH No. 10518, Topics: Posttranslational modifications at the rough ER membrane (Molecular Biology) and Biological Scanning Probe Microscopy (Biophysics))
1995 Research Associate, Group leader, CIBA fellowship @ University of Basel
1996-1997 Research Associate, Swiss NSF advanced Fellowship @ University of Oregon (USA)
1997-1999 Research Associate, HFSPO Fellowship @ University of Oregon and University of California, Berkeley (USA)
1999-2001 Research Associate, Group leader, Treubel Fonds; Swiss National Foundation (Life Science)
2001 Habilitation in Experimental Physics, University of Basel (completed Assistant Professor level)
2001-2007 Research Associate, Group leader, Swiss National Foundation (Life Science); NCCR Nanoscale Science; ELTEM REGIO coordinator of Nanotechnology; TopNano21 Functionalized Cantilever Arrays
2007 Professor at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland 

Working Projects

  • Development of combined optical tweezers for simultaneous mechanical and optical spectroscopy, development of high spatial resolution optical tweezers
  • Nanomechanical cantilever array sensors (collaboration Hoffman-la-Roche, Lund University, Sweden, Swiss Tropical Institute Basel Switzerland, St.James Hospital,Dublin)
  • MEMS/NEMS integrated readout (collaboration M. Roukes, CalTech, Pasadena; G. Villanueva, EPFL, Siwtzerland; A. Ansari, Georgia Tech, Atlanta; S. Hentz, LETI Minatech, Grenoble, France)
  • Single Bio-Molecule Mechanics
  • Molecular motors in Mitochondria (collaboration W. Voos, Uni Bonn)
  • Ribosomal Molecular Motors (collaboration G.Bueldt, A. Katranidis, FZ Juelich, K. Nierhaus, Charite-Universitaetsmedizin Berlin)
  • Graphene sensors (G.Duesberg, TCD)
  • cMut sensing (collaboration with B. Pierre, T. Khuri-Yakub (Stanford) 2005-2009)
  • Dynamic Force Spectroscopy for Ligand/Receptor interactions and protein unfolding (1994-2003)

Keywords: Optical trapping, optical tweezers, laser tweezers, trapping, Scanning force microscopy, single molecule experiments, dynamic force spectroscopy, Multifunctional Cantilever Array Sensors, Biosoensors

Editorial Boards, Review Panels, Committee

2008 BMC Journal of Nanobiotechnology; 2009 Sensors; 2013 EPJ – Tech. and Instr. (Springer)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK Research & Innovation),Volkswagen Stiftung GER; EU Commission (FET open), EU Commission (H2020-ICT, Electronic Smart Systems), National Science Foundation USA; Human Frontiers Science Organization; NSERC National Science&Engineering Counsil Canada; Belgium Research council; NOW Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research; Skolkovo Foundation, Moscow; Swiss National Science foundation; Swiss KTI/CTI Top Nano 21 committee; Welcome Trust foundation UK; The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation L.A. USA

Champion and Chair SAT EDI School of Physics

Former Addresses

The Bustamante Lab@UC Berkeley, CA; USA
National Center of Competence in 'Nanoscale Science'@ University of Basel, Switzerland

Reviewer Activities

40 peer reviewed international journals (among them): Anal. Chem., Applied Physics Lett.; Biophysical J.; Biosensors&Bioelectronics; ChemPhysChem; J. American Chem. Soc.; J. Biomedical Nanotechnology; Lab on a chip; Langmuir; Nature Biotech; Nature Comm; Nature Nanotech.; Nature Struct. Biol.; Nano letters; Nanotechnology; Nucleic Acids Research; Sensors & Actuators: B. Chemical Science, Sensors

Thesis supervisor

Internal: 1999-2021, 23; External international Thesis advisor: 2006-2021, 12

Nanobio Group supervisor 1999 - present

  • Master students: 29 (1996-2021)
  • PhD students: currently 1, total 23 (1995-2021); Career: 5 postdocs, 5 professors, 10 industry, 2 teachers
  • Postdoctoral fellows: currently 1, total 33 (1999-2021); Career: 10 professors, 20 Industry, 2 Senior researchers
  • Technicians: 2 (1999-2007)

Awards and Honors

  • Editor in chief EPJ - TI (Springer) 2013
  • Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland 2011
  • Associate Editor; BMC J. Nanobiotech 2008
  • Stoke's Award - Science Foundation Ireland 11/2007
  • Scientific Award of the City of Basel for achievements in Physical Sciences 12/2004
  • Member NCCR Nanoscale Science; University of Basel 07/2001
  • ELTEM Regio lecturer in Nanoscale Science 07/2001
  • Treubel Stiftung Habilitations fellowship 09/1999
  • Human Frontier Science Program fellowship 07/1997
  • Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship for advanced researcher 06/1996
  • CIBA Geigy fellowship 11/1995
  • GSE award for diploma work in biochemistry at ETH 11/1989

Memberships and Affiliations

Biophysical Society USA 1997 – present