Very simple organisms evolved an amazing ability to form complex inorganic materials at ambient physiological conditions. These intracellular processes proceed under strict biological control, giving rise to spectacular morphologies that are superior to any man-made material. We strive to understand the biological and chemical toolbox that cells use in order to form these extraordinary structures.
Our main tool is state-of-the-art cryo electron microscopy that we use to follow such processes with molecular resolution and to visualize the native biological processes of mineral formation.
We study mineralization processes in two of the most abundant algal groups of modern oceans, diatoms - that form silicified cell wall with nano-patterning unequalled by any synthetic system, and coccolithophores - that form calcified scales with unprecedented control over crystal orientation and morphology.