Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) is a spectroscopic technique that is used for characterization of molecular properties in the solid phase at atomic resolution. In particular, using the approach of magic-angle spinning (MAS), ssNMR has seen widespread applications for topics ranging from material sciences to catalysis, metabolomics, and structural biology, where both isotropic and anisotropic parameters can be exploited for a detailed assessment of molecular properties.

Solution-state NMR is the method of choice for the atomic level biophysical characterization of most biological systems. It has emerged as a powerful technique for the study of the structure and dynamics of proteins, providing detailed insights into biomolecular function. Although NMR can determine protein structures at atomic resolution, its unrivaled strength lies in sensing subtle changes in a nuclei's chemical environment as a result of intrinsic conformational dynamics, solution conditions, and binding interactions.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is among the very few techniques which provide direct, atomic-resolution information about the structural changes occurring on a wide range of motional timescales ranging from picoseconds to milliseconds. We use nuclear spin relaxation techniques together with spin dynamics simulations to gain insights into functional motions of biomacromolecules both in solution and solid state.

Dipolar interaction between protons (nuclear Overhauser effect, NOE), or between a proton and an electron (paramagnetic relaxation enhancement, PRE) leads to distance dependent modulation of the signal intensities of the interacting nuclei. This information can be translated to distance restraints which, together with secondary chemical shift information, represents the basis of the 3D structure determination of biomacromolecules. We use both NOE and PRE based techniques to solve the solution and solid-state structures of small model proteins.

Synthetic, bioinspired silk-based biopolymers, or bioplastics, represent excellent sustainable and biodegradable alternatives for the traditional, unsustainable and non-degradable petrochemical plastics. Bioplastics made from bio-mimicking materials will redefine the plastic-manufacturing of the 21st century.

Beyond the four common nucleotides found in DNA and RNA molecules, Nature uses hundreds of chemically modified bases to fine-tune, the properties of the nucleotides. Methyl cytosine (5mC) represents a stable and generally repressive epigenetic modification, but recently it has been found that not only 5mC but also its oxidized form, formyl cytosine (5fC), acts as an epigenetic marker in eucariotic stem cells. However, less is known about its action. Within the frame of the SFB 1309 project, we aim to study the influence of cytosine formylation on the structure, dynamics and interactions of DNA molecules.