PD Dr. habil. Martin Müller

Group leader Polyelectrolytes for Medicine
at the Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V.

Hohe Strasse 6
01069 Dresden

Phone: +49 (0)351 4658-405
Fax: +49 (0)351 4658-231



Mission statement

Our working group explores polyelectrolyte based particles and coatings at various material substrates and develops biomedical applications in the context of protein interaction and delivery of active ingredients, whereby in-situ infrared techniques play a significant analytical role.

What we do...

Polyelectrolytes (PELs) are a fascinating polymer class, whose behavior in solution and at interfaces is determined in first order by electrostatic interactions. In our preparatively and analytically oriented working group adhesive PEL systems at interfaces are explored aiming at the sustained functionalization of substrate materials relevant for life science applications utilizing rather electrostatic than chemical interactions. Applications are developed concerning biopassivation and delivery of low molecular drug, biopolymers up to microorganisms.

As concepts of PEL deposition casting or adsorbing single PEL component (i), consecutively adsorbing oppositely charged PEL (ii) and casting preformed binary or ternary PEL complexes (iii) from aqueous solutions are followed. The material basis includes biorelated PEL like ionic polysaccharides, polypeptides, synthetic polyampholytes or low charged silk proteins. Moreover, responsive polymer and inorganic compounds are included in PEL coatings to stimulate thermally, optically or magnetically loading and release of active ingredients on-demand.

Analytically, in-situ attenuated total reflection (ATR) infrared (IR) spectroscopy, circular dichroism (CD), scanning force microscopy (SFM), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and colloid/potentiometric titration are used. This enables characterization of molecular, optical, microscopic, size and charge properties of PELs, biopolymers, particles and coatings and their dynamics regarding conformation, orientation, swelling and sorption. Across this range of methods cooperations prevail with working groups of PB2, especially concerning polymer brushes, and other PBs.

Profiling projects

  • DFG: Self-assembly and structure formation of spider silk based proteins and peptides in (ultra-)thin films. (10/2019-09/2022) (in collaboration with Prof. T. Scheibel, Uni Bayreuth)
  • DFG: Dynamic surface coatings through the hierarchical self-assembly of responsive colloidal building blocks. (08/2019-07/2022) (in collaboration with Prof. Schacher, Uni Jena)


  • Polymer brush analytics, chitosan analytics, polymer layer analytics (PB2)
  • Protocells (PB1)
  • Prof. K.S. Lips, University of Giessen, Germany
  • Prof. E. Cavalcanti-Adam, MPI for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany
  • Prof. D. Baurecht, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Prof. C. Schatz, University of Bordeaux, France
  • Prof. P. Kosovan, University of Prague, Czech Republic

Selected publications

  • Hofmaier, M.; Urban, B.; Lentz, S.; Borkner, C.B.; Scheibel, T.; Fery, A.; Müller, M., Dichroic Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy characterization of the β-Sheet orientation in spider silk films on silicon substrates, Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2021, 125, 1061-1071.
  • Müller, M.; Urban, B.; Schwarz, S., Biorelated polyelectrolyte coatings studied by in-situ attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy: Deposition concepts, wet adhesiveness, and biomedical applications, Langmuir 2018, 34(28), 8129-8144.
  • Müller, M.; Urban, B.; Reis, B.; Yu, X.; Grab, A.L.; Cavalcanti-Adam, E.A.; Kuckling, D., Switchable release of bone morphogenetic protein from thermoresponsive poly(NIPAM-co-DMAEMA)/cellulose sulfate particle coatings. Polymers 2018, 10(12), 1314.
  • Woltmann, B.; Torger, B.; Müller, M.; Hempel, U., Interaction between immobilized polyelectrolyte complex nanoparticles and human mesenchymal stromal cells. International Journal of Nanomedicine 2014, 9, 2015-2025.
  • Müller, M.; Keßler, B.; Houbenov, N.; Bohata, K.; Pientka, Z.; Brynda, E., pH Dependence and protein selectivity of poly(ethyleneimine)/poly(acrylic acid) multilayers studied by in-situ ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, Biomacromolecules 2006, 7(4), 1285-1294.