Center’s Goals

The MINERVA Center on Bio‐hybrid Complex Systems represents an interdisciplinary effort aimed at developing bio‐inspired hybrid structures that will be integrated into complex nano/micro systems that exhibit new chemical, physical and functional properties emerging from the nano scale ordering of the assemblies. The research addresses the synthesis and assembly of the components, the molecular nano/micro‐scale characterization of the hybrids and the tailoring of functional systems and devices adapting principles of biology.

The topics that are addressed by the center include:

  • Smart bio‐hybrid systems that adapt tailored macroscopic functions originating from molecular or nano‐scale interactions. The systems are utilized for molecular machinery, circuitry, and logic operations.
  • Bio‐inspired (biomolecular and biomimetic) energy conversion and storage systems.
  • Bioelectronics and phtonics biohybrid systems; Interfacing biomolecules with nanoparticles (nanowires/nanotubes) or electronic elements (electrodes, transistors) for the construction of bioelectronic, or optobioelectronic devices.
  • Single cell studies addressing protein‐cell and intercellular interactions, and probing cell interactions with microenviroments. Studies include incorporation of bio‐inspired molecular machineries/nanoparticles into cells, and integration of live cells with solid‐state platforms.
  • Design of stimuli-regulated biomolecule/nano (micro) container systems for controlled delivery of drugs.

Natural biological systems are extremely sophisticated, evolutionary optimized machineries. Unique biophysical and chemical features such as signal transduction, activation of complex biocatalytic circuitries, driving endoergic chemical transformations and optimal energy conversion, selective transport through gated membrane channels, translation/transcription/ replication of genetic information accompany the natural processes. These processes are mediated mainly via non‐covalent protein‐protein and protein‐nucleic acid interactions, enzymatic cascades, gated biotransformations and signal networking. Despite the enormous progress in the understanding of biological systems, the development of bio‐inspired chemical and physical systems, and the use of biomolecular machineries as building blocks for artificial devices are at their infancy.

The assembly of such bio‐inspired systems involves challenging fundamental issues and holds great technological promises. Such bio‐inspired hybrid systems are expected to provide innovative solar energy conversion and storage systems, smart materials for nano‐medicine, innovative analytical sensors, bioelectronic and biofuel cells, and nano (micro) robotic systems. These scientific challenges may only be resolved by an interdisciplinary research team involving experts in biophysics, chemistry, biology and material science. The MINERVA Center for Bio-hybrid Complex Systems assembled a team of established scientists bridging the various disciplines with the vision that a collaborative research leads to a synergistic output of innovative science with important practical implications.

The following scheme summarize the overall goals and joint activities:



The training of young scientists is a core mission of the Center’s goals. Students and researchers (M.Sc., Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellows) active in researching the projects of bio‐inspired complex systems in the laboratories of the different members of the center are also integrated in the Center’s activities. Specifically, bi-national collaborations, between the Israeli members of the Center and German scientists are encouraged.
The cooperative activities of the Center include:

  • Establishing collaborative research projects between the members of the Center and German laboratories.
  • Exchange between research staff from the Center’s laboratories and German laboratories.
  • Organization of annual meetings comprising of Israeli researchers and German collaborators.
  • Organization of workshops/schools for training young researchers in topics addressing the Center’s mission.