Prof. Dr. Motomu Tanaka

Institute of Physical Chemistry Physical Chemistry of Biosystems Heidelberg University
69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Phone: +49 6221-54 4916
Fax:      +49 6221-54 4918


Physics of biological matter, physical chemistry of soft interfaces, quantitative modeling of diseases and development, functionalization of semiconductor devices for novel biomolecular electronics


Quantification of adhesion and migration of healthy human hematopoietic stem cells vs. leukemic stem cells on in vitro bone marrow models (TP07 in SFB 873, DFG), Interactions of engineered micro-/nano-objects and cells (Interregio NANOTRANSMED, EU), Hierarchical Structural Pattern Formation by Molecular Self-Organization (DFG)


2014 Siebold Prize from German President
2012–2013 Visiting Professor, Department of Physics, Kyoto University
2012 Scientific Committe, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
2010 External Advisory Board, Institute for Integrated Cell and Material Science, Kyoto University
2009–2012 Program Committe, Institute Laue Langevin
2001 Emmy Noether Fellow, German Science Foundation
1999 Postdoctoral Fellow, Humboldt Foundatione
1998 Postdoctoral Fellow, Japan Society for Promotion of Science
1997 International Mobility Fellowship, Finnish Academy
1997 Doctoral Fellowship, Japan Society of Promotion of Science

2013–present Research Professor (cross-appointment), Institute for Integrated Cell and Material Sciences (iCeMS), Kyoto University
2005-present Professor, Physical Chemistry of Biosystems, Institute of Physical Chemistry, Heidelberg University
2005 Habilitation in Experimental Physics, Technical University Munich
2004 Invited Lecturer, Department of Physics, Kyoto, University
2001–2005 Independent Group Leader (Emmy Noether Fellow), Department ofPhysics, Technical University Munich
2001 Invited Scholar, Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
1998–2001 PostDoc, Department of Physics, Technical UniversityMunich, Germany
1995–1998 PhD, Department of Molecular Engineering, Kyoto University
1993–1995 M.S. Department of Molecular Engineering, Kyoto University
1989–1993 B.S. Physical Chemistry, Kyoto University, Japan

2021 Expert Committee, KIT Center Materials in Technical and Life Sciences
2018 – present Coordinating Committee, Cluster of Excellence “3D Matter Made to Order”
2016, 2019 Academic Coordinator, International Kyoto Winter School “From Materials to Life” Kyoto
2012-2014 Program Committee Member, “Soft Condensed Matter”, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
2011-2014 Scientific Council Member, College 8 (Biology), Institute Laue Langevin
 2012-2016 German Coordinator, EU FP7 “SoftActive”
 2012 Coordinator, International Summer School “Unraveling Principles of Life with Quantitative Tools” Heidelberg
 2010-2012 International Advisor, World Premier International Center Program, MEXT, Japan


Ito H, Murakami R, Sakuma S, Tsai CHD, Gutsmann T, Brandenburg K, Poeschl JMB, Kaneko M, Tanaka M (2017). Mechanical diagnosis of human erythrocytes by ultra-high speed manipulation unraveled critical time window for global cytoskeletal remodeling. Sci Rep. 7:43134

Higaki Y, Fröhlich B, Yamamoto A, Murakami R, Kaneko M, Takahara A, Tanaka M (2017). Ion-specific modulation of interfacial interaction potentials between solid substrates and cell-sized particles mediated via zwitterionic, super-hydrophilic poly(sulfobetaine) brushes. J Phys Chem. B 121(6):1396-1404

Rieger H, Yoshikawa HY, Quadt K, Nielsen MA, Sanchez CP, Salanti A, Tanaka M, Lanzer M (2015). Cytoadhesion of Plasmodium falciparum–infected erythrocytes to chondroitin-4-sulfate is cooperative and shear enhanced. Blood 125(2):383-391

Härtel A, Glogger M, Jones NC, Abuillan W, Batram C, Hermann A, Fenz FS, Tanaka M, Engstler M (2016). N-glycosylation enables high lateral mobility of GPI-anchored proteins at a molecular crowding threshold. Nat Comm. 7:12870

Frank V, Kaufmann S, Wright R, Horn P, Yoshikawa H, Wuchter P, Madsen J, Lewis AL, Armes SP, Ho AD, Tanaka M (2016). Frequent mechanical stress suppresses proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells from human bone marrow without loss of multipotency. Sci Rep. 6:24264

Inoue S, Frank V, Hörning M, Kaufmann S, Yoshikawa H, Madsen J, Lewis AL, Armes SP, Tanaka M (2015). Live cell tracking of symmetry break in actin cytoskeleton triggered by abrupt changes in micromechanical environments. Biomater Sci. 3:1539 (cover)

M Shatirishvili M, Burk AS, Franz CM, Pace G, Kastilan T, Breuhahn K, Hinterseer E, Dierich A, Bakiri L, Wagner EF, Ponta H, Hartmann TN, Tanaka M, Orian-Rousseau V (2016). Epidermal-specific deletion of CD44 reveals a function in keratinocytes in response to mechanical stress. Cell Death Disease. 7:e2461

Ito H, Kuss N, Rapp B, Ichikawa M, Gutsmann T, Brandenburg K, Poeschl JMB, Tanaka M (2015). Quantification of the influence of endotoxins on the mechanics of adult and neonatal red blood cells. J Phys Chem. 119:7837-7845

Burk AS, Monzel C, Yoshikawa H, Wuchter P, Saffrich R, Eckstein V, Tanaka M, Ho AD (2015). Quantifying adhesion mechanisms and dynamics of human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Sci Rep. 5:9370

Tanaka M, Sackmann (2005). Polymer-supported membranes as the model of cell surfaces. Nature 437:656-663

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