Daniel J. Müller

Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE), ETH Zürich






ETH Zürich

Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE)
Mattenstrasse 26
4058 Basel
Office phone +41 61 387 3307

Read more about the Müller-Group here.


Prof. Daniel Müller was born on March 22, 1965, in Bad Wimpfen, Germany and studied physics at the University of Technology Berlin and the Hahn-Meitner-Institute in Berlin, Germany. After finishing his studies he started his PhD in Biophysics at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, with Georg Büldt and at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Switzerland with Andreas Engel. In 1997 he finished his PhD and received the prize for the best thesis in Life Sciences of the University of Basel. In 2000, Daniel Müller received his habilitation ‘venia legendi’ in Biophysics from the University of Basel. He also continued his career as a group leader at the newly founded Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany.

In 2002 Daniel Müller accepted a full professorship of Cellular Machines at the Biotechnology Center of the University of Technology, Dresden. He acted as a director of the Center from 2003-2005. In 2006 Müller co-founded one of the largest Bionanotechnology Spin-Offs in Germany. The company developing and manufacturing the world’s first robot that fully automatically conducts single-molecule experiments, was sold in 2008. In 2008, Daniel Müller, in a team with Carsten Werner and Ulrich Nienhaus, launched a new BMBF research center for Molecular Bioengineering (B CUBE, www.bcube-dresden.de) at the TU Dresden. In December 2010, Müller accepted the Chair of Bionanotechnology at the ETH Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel.

He is on the editorial board of Biophysical Journal, Journal of Structural Biology, PloS One, BMC Journal of Nanobiotechnology and the Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology.

Together with Wolfgang Meier (Uni Basel), Daniel Müller launches in 2014 the Swiss National Competence Centre of Research (NCCR) Molecular Systems Engineering in Basel.

Scientific Motivation

Molecular interactions drive all processes in life. Because of this enormous importance it is a pertinent demand in life sciences, systems biology and synthetic biology to characterize how these interactions drive biological processes and thus to decipher fundamentals of the biological language. This will allow us to control these interactions and thus to control biological processes. Therefore, the research group of Daniel Müller develops bionanotechnological methods that allow quantifying and controlling inter- and intramolecular interactions of biological processes. Currently these methods allow imaging of cells at nanometer resolution, to quantify and localize cellular interactions at molecular resolution and to observe how individual receptors of living cells communicate. Furthermore, it became possible to quantify, structurally localize and to direct the interactions that fold, stabilize and control the functional state of single membrane proteins in their native environment.


Read what the University of Basel said about him in an online-portrait entitled "Tracking Molecular Interactions". 


P. R. Laskowski, M. Pfreundschuh, M. Stauffer, Z. Ucurum, D. FotiadisD. J. MüllerHigh-Resolution Imaging and Multiparametric Characterization of Native Membranes by Combining Confocal Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy-Based Multifunctional Toolbox“ ACS Nano (2017). [Link]
N. Ritzmann, J. Thoma, S. Hirschi, D. Kalbermatter, D. FotiadisD. J. MüllerFusion Domains Guide the Oriented Insertion of Light-Driven Proton Pumps into Liposomes“ Biophys J. (2017). [Link]
T. Serdiuk, S. A. Mari, D. J. MüllerPull-and-Paste of Single Transmembrane Proteins“ Nano Lett. (2017). [Link]
M. Pfreundschuh, D. Harder, Z. Ucurum, D. FotiadisD. J. MüllerDetecting Ligand-Binding Events and Free Energy Landscape while Imaging Membrane Receptors at Subnanometer Resolution“ Nano Lett. 17, 5, 3261-69 (2017). [Link]
Y. F. Dufrene, T. Ando, R. Garcia, D. Alsteens, D. Martinez-Martin, A. Engel, C. Gerber, D. J. Muller, D. J. MüllerImaging modes of atomic force microscopy for application in molecular and cell biology“ Nat. Nanotechnol. 12, 4, 295-307 (2017). [Link]
D. Alsteens, H. E. Gaub, R. Newton, M. Pfreundschuh, C. Gerber, D. J. MüllerAtomic force microscopy-based characterization and design of biointerfaces“ Nat. Rev. Mater. 2, 5, 17008 (2017). [Link]
B. M. Gaub, D. J. MüllerMechanical Stimulation of Piezo1 Receptors Depends on Extracellular Matrix Proteins and Directionality of Force“ Nano Lett. 17, 3, 2064-72 (2017).
T. Serdiuk, D. Balasubramaniam, J. Sugihara, S. A. Mari, H. R. Kaback, D. J. MüllerYidC assists the stepwise and stochastic folding of membrane proteins“ Nat. Chem. Biol. 12, 911-17 (2016). [Link]
D. Alsteens, R. Newton, R. Schubert, D. Martinez-Martin, M. Delguste, B. RoskaD. J. MüllerNanomechanical mapping of first binding steps of a virus to animal cells“ Nat. Nanotechnol., DOI:10.1038/nnano.2016.228 (2016). [Link]
D. Harder, S. Hirschi, Z. Ucurum, R. Goers, W. MeierD. J. MüllerD. FotiadisEngineering a Chemical Switch into the Light-driven Proton Pump Proteorhodopsin by Cysteine Mutagenesis and Thiol Modification“ Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.  55, 8846 (2016). [Link]
S. HirschiM. Stauffer, D. Harder, D. J. MüllerW. MeierD. FotiadisEngineering and Assembly of Protein Modules into Functional Molecular Systems“ Chimia 6, 398 (2016). [Link]
T. Raschle, P. Rios Flores, C. Opitz, D. J. Müller, S. Hiller “Monitoring Backbone Hydrogen-Bond Formation in β-Barrel Membrane Protein Folding“ Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 5952-55 (2016). [Link]
L. Ge, S. Villinger, S. Mari, K. Giller, C. Griesinger, S. Becker, D. J. Müller, M. Zweckstetter “Molecular Plasticity of the Human Voltage-Dependent Anion Channel Embedded Into a Membrane“ Structure 24, 585-94 (2016). [Link]
M. Hilbert, A. Noga, D. Frey, V. Hamel, P. Guichard, S. H. Kraatz, M. Pfreundschuh, S. Hosner, I. Flückiger, R. Jaussi, M. M. Wieser, K. M. Thieltges, X. Deupi, D. J. Mülle, R. Kammerer, P. Gönczy, M. Hirono, M. O. Steinmetz, D. J. MüllerSAS-6 engineering reveals interdependence between cartwheel and microtubules in determining centriole architecture“ Nat. Cell Biol. 18, 393 (2016). [Link]
B. Source, C. Escobedo, Y. Toyoda, M. P. Stewart, C. J. Cattin, R. Newton, I. Banerjee, A. Stettler, B. Roska, S. Eaton, A. A. Hyman, A. Hierlemann, D. J. MüllerMitotic cells contract actomyosin cortex and generate pressure to round against or escape epithelial confinement“ Nat. Commun. 6, 8872 (2015). [Link] [More Information]
M. Pfreundschuh, D. Alsteens, R. Wieneke, C. Zhang, S. R. Coughlin, R. Tampé, B. K. Kobilka, D. J. MüllerIdentifying and quantifying two ligand-binding sites while imaging native human membrane receptors by AFM“ Nat. Commun. 6, 8857 (2015). [Link]
J. Thoma, B. M. Burmann, S. Hiller, D. J. MüllerImpact of holdase chaperones Skp and SurA on the folding of β-barrel outer-membrane proteins“ Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 22, 795 (2015). [Link] [More Information]
E. Mulvihill, K. van Pee, S. A. Mari, D. J. Müller, O. Yildiz “Directly Observing the Lipid-Dependent Self-Assembly and Pore-Forming Mechanism of the Cytolytic Toxin Listeriolysin O“ Nano Lett. 15, 6965 (2015). [Link]
C. J. Cattin, M. Düggelin, M. Martinez-Martin, D. C. Gerber, D. J. Müller, M. P. Stewart “Mechanical control of mitotic progression in single animal cells “ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112, 11258 (2015). [Link]
D. Alsteens, M. Pfreundschuh, C. Zhang, P. M. Spoerri, S. R. Coughlin, B. K. Kobilka, D. J. MüllerImaging G protein–coupled receptors while quantifying their ligand-binding free-energy landscape“ Nat. Methods 12, 845 (2015). [Link] [Author File on Daniel J. Müller]
M. Yu, N. Strohmeyer, J. Wang, D. J. Müller, J. Helenius “Increasing throughput of AFM-based single cell adhesion measurements through multisubstrate surfaces“ Beilstein J. Nanotechnol. 6, 157-66 (2015). [Link]
R. Petrosyan, C. A. Bippes, S. Walheim, D. Harder, D. Fotiadis, T. Schimmel, D. Alsteens, D. J. MüllerSingle-Molecule Force Spectroscopy of Membrane Proteins from Membranes Freely Spanning Across Nanoscopic Pores“ Nano Lett. 15, 3624 (2015). [Link]
T. Serdiuk, J. Sugihara, S. Mari, H. . Kaback, D. J. MüllerObserving a Lipid-Dependent Alteration in Single Lactose Permeases“ Structure 23, 754-61 (2015). [Link]
J. M. Nunes, M. Mayer-Hartl, F. U. Hartl, D. J. MüllerAction of the Hsp70 chaperone system observed with single proteins“ Nat. Commun. 6, 6307 (2015). [Link] [More Information]
D. Alsteens, S. Tay, D. J. MüllerToward high-throughput biomechanical phenotyping of single molecules“ Nat. Methods 12, 45 (2015). [Link]