The unifying theme of my research has been the use of tools and concepts from physics to address biological questions with strong focus on the understanding and prevention of cardiac diseases, which is a main cause of death in the modern society. I aim to develop and implement sophisticated analysis and quantification methods to study living systems and its dynamic functional processes with focus on diseases, maturity and its correlation to mechanosensitivity in cells and tissues.
I focus on the analysis of spatiotemporal and time-sensitive cell topology and signaling dynamics that interconnect the microscopic and macroscopic scales. Through these efforts I employ biology inspired materials, such as stimulus responsive hydrogels in combination with sophisticated computational analysis methods, i.e. three dimensional Delaunay triangulation algorithms to map and extract detailed cellular spatiotemporal signaling responses in single cells and tissues.
More specifically my research can be categorized in the four topics: Signal Transduction, Mechanosensitivity, Pattern Formations, and Celestial Dynamics. The latter topic was part of my Diploma thesis, which I do not work on anymore.
Signal Transduction of Cells and Tissues
Here, we are interested in the signal transduction dynamics of single cell and confluent tissues. The two main types of cells that we are focus on are single Dictyostelium cells and confluent cardiomyocyte tissues. Investigations are combined through experimental, numerical and analytical approaches.
- M. Hörning and T. Shibata, Three-dimensional cell geometry controls excitable membrane signaling in Dictyostelium cells, Biophysical Journal, 2019 (manuscript in press)
- M. Hörning, et al., Dynamics of spatiotemporal line defects and chaos control in complex excitable systems, Scientific Reports, 7, 7757, 2017
- M. Nishikawa, et al., Excitable Signal Transduction Induces Both Spontaneous and Directional Cell Asymmetries in the Phosphatidylinositol Lipid Signaling System for Eukaryotic Chemotaxis, Biophysical Journal, 106, 3, 723-734, 2014
Mechanosensitive Processes of Cells and Tissues
Here, we are interested in the mechanosensitive influence of the micro-environment during the development of cardiomyocyte tissues as well as the migration and proliferation dynamics of single myocytes. Investigations are combined through experimental, numerical and analytical approaches.
- M. Hörning, et al., Dynamic Mechano-Regulation of Myoblast Cells on Supramolecular Hydrogels Cross-Linked by Reversible Host-Guest Interactions, Scientific Reports, 7, 7760, 2017
- M. Hörning and E. Entechva, Negative Curvature and Control of Excitable Biological Media, 217, Pages: 305, 2015 (book chapter)
- M. Hörning, et al., Rigidity Matching between Cells and the Extracellular Matrix Leads to the Stabilization of Cardiac Conduction, Biophysical Journal, 102, 3, 379-387, 2012
Pattern Formation of Excitable Biological Systems
Though a synergistic approach of numerical simulations and experiments with cardiomyocyte tissues we investigate the electrical and chemical wave formation of spontaneously formed and entrained patterns.
- M. Hörning, Termination of pinned vortices by high-frequency wave trains in heartlike excitable media with anisotropic fiber orientation, Physical Review E, 86, 3, 031912, 2012
- P. Bittihn, M. Hörning and S. Luther, Negative Curvature Boundaries as Wave Emitting Sites for the Control of Biological Excitable Media, Physical Review Letters, 109, 11, 118106, 2012
- M. Hörning, et al., Utilizing the eikonal relationship in strategies for reentrant wave termination in excitable media, Physical Review E, 81, 056202, 2010
Ice Grain Dynamics of Saturn's Moon Enceladus
Here, we studied the ice-grain dynamics that form the outer E-ring of Staturn. Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, is one of the main sources of these ice-grains. We implemented a realistic celestrial model of the E-ring system considering various different influences that form the ring-system, i.e. gravitation, plasma drag, etc. The ice-grain density data measured by a detector attached to the Cassini spacecraft that had a close flyby to Enceladus' south pole were used to scale the model. This work lead to my Diploma thesis in physics and two peer-reviewed articles.
- F. Spahn, et al., Cassini dust measurements at Enceladus and Implications for Saturn's E ring, Science, 311, 1416-1418, 2006
- F. Spahn, et al., E ring dust sources: Implications from Cassinis's dust measurements, Planetary and Space Science, 54, 9-10, 1024-1032, 2006