Immune-recognition at the nanoscale – insights into the immune system’s ability to fight pathogens

Ph.D. defence, Thursday, 8 December 2016. Mathias Vinther

2016.12.08 | Steffi Hjerrild Iversen

Mathias Vinther

During the last two decades, structural DNA nanotechnology has undergone a rapid evolution. Using DNA for bottom-up self-assembly has proven successful in nanoparticle fabrication of structural complexity unpreceded by any other known technology. One of the often-suggested uses of DNA nanotechnology is as a tool for biomedicine.

During his PhD study, MSc Mathias Vinther has addressed some of the challenges DNA nanostructures face in relation to biomedical use, e.g., as biostability and drug delivery abilities. The PhD thesis’ main project investigates how the human immune system recognizes pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. Using carbohydrate-coated DNA nanostructures, the mannan-binding lectin’s (MBL’s) ability to bind various sugar patterns is assayed. Such patterns are likely central to immune-activation and are found on the surface of harmful pathogenic organisms. MBL is an essential part of the innate immune system and is thus principal to immune-recognition.

Mathias Vinther conducted part of his PhD at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA in the lab of Professor William Shih. The PhD degree was completed at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This resume was prepared by the Ph.D. student.

Time: Thursday, 8 December 2016 at 14.15
Place: Building 1593, room 012, the Lecture Theatre, iNANO House, Gustav Wieds Vej 14, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C
Title of dissertation: Interfacing Self-Assembled Nanostructures with Biology
Contact information: Mathias Vinther, e-mail:, tlf.: 6077 0907
Members of the assessment committee:
Principal Investigator Hendrik Dietz, Walter Schottky Institut/ZNN, Technische Universität München, Germany
Group Leader Dr. Barbara Saccà, ZMB/Fakultät für Biologie, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Associate Professor Ken Howard  (chair), iNANO, Aarhus University
Main supervisor:
Professor Jørgen Kjems, iNANO and Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public. The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 24.02.2017