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PhD student



A slimy affair…

All living beings secrete mucus, which serves different functions, including lubrication, adhesion, mineralization or defense. These beneficial properties are the result of high molecular weight glycoproteins, also called mucins, that form hydrogel networks. Furthermore, mucin-like glycoproteins are involved in defensive slime production, which is well-known from hagfish.

Through atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging, indentation and single molecule force spectroscopy as characterization methods, we can determine how these molecules work and thereby replicate these properties in synthetic, sustainable materials.

About me


Since 09/2023: PhD student in the Balzer/Hugel Lab

11/2022 - 05/2023: M.Sc. student in the Balzer/Hugel Lab

10/2020 - 07/2023: M.Sc. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg

10/2016 - 10/2020: B.Sc. Chemistry and Catholic Theology, Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg




K. Dai, M. D. Pol, L. Saile, A. Sharma, B. Liu, R. Thomann, J. L. Trefs, D. Qiu, S. Moser, S. Wiesler, B. N. Balzer, T. Hugel, H. J. Jessen & C. G. Pappas*

Systems chemistry of aminoacyl phosphates: Spontaneous and selective peptide oligomerisation in water driven by phase changes 

chemRxiv (2023),

W. Cai, J.L. Trefs, T. Hugel & B.N. Balzer*

Anisotropy of π–π Stacking as Basis for Superlubricity

ACS Mater. Lett., 5, 172 (2023).

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