García-Sáez group - membrane biophysics

Model Membranes: giant unilamellar vesicles, live cells and supported lipid bilayers

Our research is focused on the study of dynamic membrane processes from a quantitative point of view. We have a special interest in the mitochondrial membrane alterations during apoptosis and the mechanism of action of the Bcl-2 proteins. To address these problems, we make use of our expertise in membrane biophysics, advanced microscopy and single molecule techniques.


The proteins of the Bcl-2 family are essential regulators of apoptosis. They control a key event in apoptosis: the permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) that leads to the activation of caspases and to cell death. Because the Bcl-2 proteins have an important role in the formation of tumors and in the cellular responses to anti-cancer therapies, understanding the molecular details of their action is of great therapeutic interest.


We apply fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and single particle tracking to in vitro reconstituted systems in order to characterize the complex interaction networks between the members of the Bcl-2 proteins. Our strategy includes approaches to clarify the role of the mitochondrial membrane, which strongly influences the molecular mechanism of these proteins. Our desire is to use the quantitative insight provided by advanced microscopy and single molecule techniques to build a mathematical model for the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis.


  • (Mar 2018) We are delighted to welcome Hector, who joined the group as a postdoc.
  • (Dec 2017) We wish you all happy holidays and a great start to 2018!
  • (Sep 2017) We are excited to welcome two new postdocs, Rafael and Rodrigo in our group.
  • (July 2017) Our new integrative model of Bcl-2 protein interactions driving cellular death is now online  . Congrats!
  • (July 2017) Interesting insight into the role of Bax Drp1 in apoptotic foci by Bego is now online . Congratulations!
  • (May 2017) An insight review on single molecule imaging by John is now online in Curr Opin Struct Biol. Congratulations!  
  • (April 2017)Uris and Aida's interesting work on Necroptosis execution by plasma membrane nanopores is online in Cell Reports. Congratulations!
  • (March 2017)Kushal and Raed's work on Bh3 Peptides interactions with model membrane is now online in ACS Chemical Biology. Congratulations!
  • Our work on Bok membrane activity is featured on the cover of The FEBS Journal
  • Katia won the best poster prize at EMBO Cell death, Inflammation and Cancer Workshop@ Obergurgl Austria, January 2017
  • (February 2017) Now you can follow our research work and lab news on twitter
  • (October 2016) Ana received the prestigious EMBO Young Investigators award 2016  
  • (January 2016) Raquel's EMBO Journal Paper on Bax assembly in apoptotic mitochondria is out. Congratulations!
  • (August 2015) Yamuna and Katia's Nature Communications Paper on single molecule imaging of Bax oligomers is out! Congratulations!

  • (July 2015) Joseph won a Poster prize at the 10th European Biophysics Congress in Dresden, Germany for his work "Developing Scanning FCS for Mitochondria of Living Cells".
  • (July 2015) Katia presented the recently accepted work on single molecule imaging of Bax oligomers at the 10th European Biophysics Congress in Dresden, Germany.
  • (May 2015) Aida won the 1st Tübingen Science Slam. (pictures in the Gallery)
  • (April 2015) Raquel and Joseph got special Poster Prizes at the 585th WE-Heraeus Seminar in Bad Honnef, Germany. Raquel presented her work on "Supramolecular structure of Bax oligomers in apoptotic cells analyzed by superresolution microscopy" and Joseph presented "Developing Scanning FCS for Mitochondria of Living Cells".
  • (Feb 2015) Yamuna's Paper on single molecule imaging of Equinatoxin II is out in JBC
  • (November 2014) Stephanie's Molecular Cell paper on the structure of Bax in the membrane is out.
  • (October 2014) Bego's JBC Paper on Drp1 is out
  • (July 2014) Corinna graduated from the University of Heidelberg! Congratulations!
  • (February 2014) Eduard's paper on automatic GUV detection and analysis is now published in Bioinformatics
  • (January 2014) Yamuna graduated from the University of Tübingen! She is the first PhD from the group. Congratulations Yamuna!!


Prof. Dr. Ana Garcia Saez



Phone: (+49) 7071 29-73318


Fax: (+49) 7071 29-35296


Room 208, ground floor