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Department of Biological Engineering
Katharina Ribbeck

Katharina Ribbeck

Eugene Bell Career Development Professor of Tissue Engineering

Research group web site

E-mail: ribbeck@mit.edu
Office: 56-341C
Administrative Assistant: Denise MacPhail


Research Focus

Our focus is on basic mechanisms by which mucus barriers exclude, or allow passage of different molecules and pathogens, and the mechanisms pathogens have evolved to penetrate mucus barriers. We hope to provide the foundation for a theoretical framework that captures general principles governing selectivity in mucus, and likely other biological hydrogels such as the extracellular matrix, and bacterial biofilms. Our work may also be the basis for the reconstitution of synthetic gels that mimic the basic selective properties of biological gels.

Selected Publications

Vladescu I., Lieleg O., Jang S., and Ribbeck K. An adsorption chromatography assay to probe bulk particle transport through hydrogels. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, in press.

Lieleg O. and Ribbeck K. Biological Hydrogels as Selective Diffusion Barriers. Trends in Cell Biology, in press.

Lieleg O., Caldara M., Baumgärtel R., and Ribbeck K. Mechanical robustness of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Soft Matter, 7(7), 3307-3314 (2011).

Colwell L., Brenner M and Ribbeck K. Charge as a selection criterion for translocation through nuclear pore complexes. PLoS Computational Biology 6:e1000747 (2010).

Lieleg O., Vladescu I., and Ribbeck K. Characterization of particle translocation through mucin hydrogels. Biophysical Journal, 98:1782 (2010).

Ribbeck K. Do viruses use vectors to penetrate mucus barriers? Bioscience Hypothesis, Vol. 2, Issue 6, Pages 357-446 (2009).

Pérez-Andino J., Buck C.B., and Ribbeck K. Adsorption of Human Papillomavirus 16 to live human sperm. PLoS ONE. 4(6):e5847 (2009).


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