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 as follows:


Signal Transduction in Cells and Tissues 

Key Publications: 
... find more here: < Full Publication List >


Mechanosensitive Processes in Cells and Tissues 

Key Publications: 
... find more here: < Full Publication List >


Pattern Formation in Excitable Biological Systems

Key Publications: 

Negative Curvature Boundaries as Wave Emitting Sites for the Control of Biological Excitable Media 
P. Bittihn*, M. Hörning and S. Luther
Physical Review Letters, 109, 118106, 2012  - doi : 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.118106

Brief Summary: ''... On the basis of a bidomain description, a unified theory for the electric-field-induced depolarization of the substrate near curved boundaries of generalized shapes is provided, resulting in the localized recruitment of control sites. The findings are confirmed in experiments on cardiomyocyte cell cultures and supported by two-dimensional numerical simulations on a cross section of a rabbit ventricle. ...'' 

Termination of pinned vortices by high-frequency wave trains in heartlike excitable media with anisotropic fiber orientation  
M. Hörning
Physical Review E, 86, 031912, 2012  - doi : 10.1103/PhysRevE.86.031912

Brief Summary: ''... The basic dependence of the conduction velocities of planar waves and waves around curved obstacles as a function of anisotropy through numerical simulations of excitable media that mimic the fiber orientation in a real heart is investigated. This knowledge is used to explain the unpinning of anchored spiral waves by high-frequency wave trains in an anisotropic excitable medium. A nonmonotonic relationship between the maximum unpinning period and the obstacle radius depending on the fiber orientation is observed, where the formation of unwanted secondary pinned vortices or chaotic waves is seen over a wide range of parameters.. ...''

... find more here: < Full Publication List >


Celestial Dynamics of Saturn's Outer Ring System 

Publications that resulted from my time as a Master student: 

Cassini Dust Measurements at Enceladus and Implications for the Origin of the E Ring
F. Spahn, J. Schmidt, N. Albers, M. Hörning, M. Makuch, M. Seiss, S. Kempf, R. Srama, V. Dikarev, S. Helfert, G. Moragas-Klostermeyer, A.V. Krivov, M. Sremcevic, A.J. Tuzzolino, T. Economou and E. Grün
Science, 311, 1416, 2006, - doi : 10.1126/science.1121375

Brief Summary: ''In this study, we investigate the micron-sized dust particle distrubution around Enceladus, a moon in Saturn's E-ring with cryo-vulcanic activity. Realistic simulations are compared with data collected during Cassini’s close flyby of Enceladus on 14 July 2005 by the High Rate Detector of the Cosmic Dust Analyzer. The dust impact rate peaked about 1 minute before the closest approach of the spacecraft to the moon. This asymmetric signature is consistent with a locally enhanced dust production in the south polar region of Enceladus...''

E ring dust sources: Implications from Cassinis's dust measurements

F. Spahn, N. Albers, M. Hörning, S. Kempf, A.V. Krivov, M. Makuch, J. Schmidt, und M. Seiß
Planetary and Space Science, 54, 9-10, 1024-1032, 2006  - doi : 10.1016/j.pss.2006.05.022

Brief Summary: ''... The impact-generated dust contributions of the other E ring satellites is estimated and significant differences in the dust ejection efficiency by two projectile families—the E ring particles (ERPs) and the interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) is found. Together with the Enceladus south-pole source, the ERP impacts play a crucial role in the inner region, whereas the IDP impacts dominate the particle production in the outer E ring, possibly accounting for its large radial extent. ...''