PD Dr. Dr. E. Ada Cavalcanti-Adam

Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research (MPImF)
Dept. Cellular Biophysics
Heidelberg University
Institute for Physical Chemistry (PCI)
69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone: +49 6221-486 433
Email:   ecavalcanti@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de


Cell biology, cell adhesion and motility, cell-extracellular matrix interactions, mechanobiology, 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


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”

Baden-Württemberg Stiftung (BWS) “Biofunctional Materials and surfaces”

  • “3D-multi-scale DNA surfaces for synthetic biology of cell-matrix interactions”

2016-present Research Group Leader, Institute of Physical Chemistry, Heidelberg, University
2016 Habilitation and Venia Legendi, Faculty of Chemistry, Heidelberg University
2013-present Head of Central Scientific Facility Cell Biotechnology (MPI for Intelligent Systems Stuttgart, since 2017 MPI for Medical Research, Heidelberg)
2011 -2016 Group Leader and Habilitand, MPI for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart
2008 Approbation (State license for Dentistry, Germany)
2006 – 2011 Project Leader, MPI for Intelligent Systems
2005 – 2006 PostDoc, MPI for Metals Research, Stuttgart
2005 PhD, Faculty of Biology, Heidelberg University
2002-2014 Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
2001-2002 Research Fellow, Dept. Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
2001 Msc, Master of Science Biology, 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) and Certification Italian Board of Dentistry

2018     Co-chair World Congress Biomechanics, session “molecular force transduction”, Dublin
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, 2017 Dec 6. doi: 10.1038/nature24662. [Epub ahead of print]

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

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