The Dietz Lab at Technische Universität München

Designing the sequences of biomolecules to construct molecular devices and machines.

Inspired by the rich functionalities of natural macromolecular assemblies such as enzymes, molecular motors, and viruses, we investigate how to build increasingly complex molecular structures. Our goal is to build molecular devices and machines that can execute user-defined tasks. Molecular self-assembly with DNA is an attractive route toward achieving this goal. DNA origami in particular enables building nanodevices that can already be employed for making new discoveries in biomolecular physics and protein science.


In the long term we hope to contribute to the creation of molecular machines and systems that have practical benefits for everyday life. This includes potential uses in medicine – for diagnosis and therapy – and synthetic enzymes for biologically inspired chemistry. 

Opportunity for candidates with BSc: Explore how the interplay of biological building blocks can generate life and how to replicate life-like systems. Combine new technologies by learning-by-doing and creatively use biological substances to gain new insights and invent applications in the life sciences. The direct-track PhD program Matter to Life is part of the Max Planck School Matter to Life


An 18 min summary of our vision and current activities. See also here: Molecular machines of the future. Thanks TEDx TUM team for hosting.

An 11 min summary of our vision for molecular robotics, on occasion of the inauguration of the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence. Auf Deutsch!

Recent publications from this laboratory:


K. Wagenbauer, C. Sigl, and H. Dietz: "Gigadalton-scale shape-programmable DNA assemblies", NATURE 2017

F. Praetorius, B. Kick, K. Behler, M. Honemann, D. Weuster-Botz, and H. Dietz: "Biotechnological mass production of DNA origami", NATURE 2017

F. Praetorius and H. Dietz: "Self-assembly of genetically encoded DNA-protein hybrid nanoscale shapes", SCIENCE 2017

F. Kilchherr, C. Wachauf, B. Pelz, M. Rief, M. Zacharias, H. Dietz: "Single-molecule dissection of stacking forces in DNA", SCIENCE 2016

T. Gerling, K. Wagenbauer, A. Neuner, H. Dietz: "Dynamic DNA devices and assemblies formed by shape-complementary, non-base pairing 3D components", SCIENCE 2015

We are thankful for financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft via the Excellence Clusters CIPSM and NIM, through the SFB863, and via the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize program. Further support comes from the European Research Council.