PD Dr. E. Ada Cavalcanti-Adam

Institute of Physical Chemistry (PCI), Department of Biophysical Chemistry,
Heidelberg University and Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems Stuttgart
69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone: +49 6221-54 5064
Fax:      +49 6221-54 4950
Email:   Ada.Cavalcanti-Adam@urz.uni-heidelberg.de


Cell biology, cell adhesion and motility, cell-extracellular matrix interactions, integrin signaling and crosstalk, biophysics, biomaterials.


2014 Research Award, International BMP Conference
2013 Outstanding Paper Award, American Society Mechanical Engineering
2008-2010 Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Stiftung and UNESCO-L’Orèal Prize “for women in science”
2004-2006 Marie Curie European Fellowship FP-6 Mobility from European Commission
2003-2004 Frauenförderung Stipendium, faculty of Medicine, University of Heidelberg
2001 Kress Research Award
1997 Italian National Scholarship
1996 Award “Lina Marinaccio” for biomedical disciplines


DFG, SFB/TRR79 “materials for tissue regeneration of systemically diseased bone”:

  • TP M6 “structuring and functionalization of surfaces for the control of bone cell adhesion and behavior”
  • TP B5 “Modification of cell-cell and cell-matrix communication in bone tissues through the use of novel materials”

2016-present Member Physical Chemistry Inst. Faculty of Chemistry, Heidelberg University
2013-present Tenured Group Leader, MPI-IS (since 2017 MPI Medical Research, Heidelberg)
2013-present Head of Central Scientific Facility “Biomaterials”- Molecular Biology section, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
2008-present Group leader Heidelberg University and Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart
2005-2008 PostDoc, Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research Stuttgart
2005 PhD, faculty of Biology, Heidelberg University
2002 – present Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. Orthodontics, University of Pennsylvania
2001 MSc, Master of Science Biology, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
2001-2002 PostDoc, Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
2000 Specialty certification in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics, University of Pennsylvania
1998-2000 Postgraduate resident fellow, Dept. Orthodontics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
1995-1998 Clinical general dentistry
1995 DMD, Doctor Medical Dentistry, University of Bari (Italy)

2016     Organiser Conference “Mechanotransduction: from molecules to tissues”, Quy Nhon
2011     Co-chair Research Conference “Cellular nano-sciences” Heidelberg
2011     Co-chair International Summer School “Cellular systems”, Heidelberg

Oria R, Wiegand T, Escribano J, Elosegui-Artola A, Uriarte JJ, Moreno-Pulido C, Platzman I, Delcanale P, Albertazzi, L, Navajas D, Trepat X, Garcia-Aznar JM, Cavalcanti-Adam EA*, Roca-Cusachs P* (2017). Molecular force loading explains cell sensing of extracellular ligand density and distribution. Nature. Accepted Sept 7th

Schaufler V, Czichos-Medda H, Hirschfeld-Warnecken V, Neubauer S, Rechenmacher F, Medda R, Kessler H, Geiger B, Spatz J, Cavalcanti-Adam EA (2016). Selective binding and lateral clustering of a5b1 and avb3 integrins: unraveling the spatial requirements for cell spreading and focal adhesion assembly. Cell Adhesion and Migration. March 22:1-11

Migliorini E, Valat A, Picart C, Cavalcanti-Adam EA (2016). Tuning cellular responses to BMP-2 with material surfaces. Cytokine & Growth Factor Rev. 27:43-54

Schwab EH, Pohl TLM, Haraszti T, Schwaerzer G, Hiepen C, Spatz JP, Knaus P, Cavalcanti-Adam EA (2015). Nanoscale control of surface immobilized BMP-2: toward a quantitative assessment of BMP-mediated signaling events. Nano Lett. 15(3):1526-1534

Liu Y, Medda R, Liu Z, Galior K, Yehl K, Spatz JP, Cavalcanti-Adam EA, Salaita K (2014). Nanoparticle tension probes patterned at the nanoscale: impact of integrin clustering on force transmission. Nano Lett. 14(10): 5539-5546

Rahmouni S, Lindner A, Rechenmacher F, Neubauer S, Sobahi TR, Kessler H, Cavalcanti-Adam EA, Spatz JP (2013). Hydrogel micropillars with integrin selective peptidomimetic functionalized nanopatterned tops: a new tool for the measurement of cell traction forces transmitted through αvβ3- or α5β1-integrins. Adv. Mater. 25(41):5869-5874

Rechenmacher F, Neubauer S, Polleux J, Mas-Moruno C, De Simone M, Cavalcanti-Adam EA, Spatz JP, Fässler R, Kessler H (2013). Functionalizing avb3 or a5b1- selective integrin antagonists for surface coating: a new tool to discriminate integrin subtypes in vitro. Angew Chemie Intl Ed.  52(5), 1572-75

Pohl TL, Boergermann JH, Schwaerzer GK, Knaus P, Cavalcanti-Adam EA (2012). Covalently immobilized bone morphogenetic protein 2 induces signaling responses for osteoblast differentiation. Acta Biomaterialia 8(2), 772-80

Arnold M, Cavalcanti-Adam EA, Glass R, Blümmel Jl, Eck W, Kantlehner M, Kessler H, Spatz JP (2004). Activation of integrin function by nanopatterned adhesive interfaces. Chemphyschem. 5(3), 383-88

Cavalcanti-Adam EA, Shapiro IM, Macarak EJ, Composto RJ, Adams CS (2002). Dynamic equibiaxial strain causes intracellular changes in osteoblasts cultured on RGD-engineered surfaces. J Bone Miner Research 17(12), 2130-41

Click here for further publications.