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NEW INSIGHTS INTO THE NANOCOSMOS OF CELLS.

31 Jul | By Biophotonics.World

The Board of Trustees of the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies Jena (Leibniz-IPHT) appointed Prof. Christian Eggeling as head of the new department "Biophysical Imaging" at its meeting on June 25, 2018. The scientist, who has been Professor of Super-Resolution Microscopy at the Institute of Applied Optics at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena since December 2017, is investigating high-resolution microscopy methods that allow unique insights into the nanocosmos of living cells and tissue.



Using light, scientists can investigate the complex interaction of individual molecules in living cells and make otherwise hidden biochemical processes visible without disturbing them. Christian Eggeling is investigating high-resolution imaging methods in order to be able to precisely represent individual building blocks and complex processes in living cells. "We combine spatially extremely high-resolution techniques based on fluorescence microscopy with methods that enable us to follow the movement of marked molecules in real time. This enables us to spatially and temporally investigate individual molecules in the living cell, for example molecules that are part of cell membranes. For example, cellular mechanisms at the molecular level are revealed that were far too rapid for previous investigation methods," said Eggeling describing the advantages of the new imaging methods.


Fluorescence microscopy is widely used in biological and medical research. To examine biological samples, researchers label cells and tissues with organic dyes or fluorescent proteins. When the sample is irradiated with light, the markers light up to provide a wide range of information about the material. Although conventional fluorescence microscopy has contributed significantly to a better understanding of cellular structures and biological processes in recent decades, the fields of application are limited by the limited resolution capacity. Details that are closer together than about 200 nanometers can no longer be distinguished.

Christian Eggeling has been researching new fluorescence microscopy methods for several years in order to be able to go below this fundamental spatial resolution limit. "STED microscopy in particular has gained in importance in basic biological and medical research. In this technique, the spontaneous emission of fluorescent dyes in the sample is "switched off" by a second annular light beam. What remains is a luminous point only a few nanometers in size that determines the detail sharpness of the image," the physicist describes the trick he uses to circumvent the natural resolution limit. Already at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Eggeling was working in Stefan W. Hell's group on the development of new high-resolution fluorescence microscopy techniques. For this Stefan Hell received together with Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2014.

In Jena, Christian Eggeling plans to optimise fluorescence microscopy methods in close cooperation with biologists and physicians, especially for the investigation of receptors in the cellular plasma membrane. By combining high-resolution methods with other imaging methods, he also hopes to open up new biomedical fields of application. Jürgen Popp, Scientific Director of the Leibniz IPHT and Professor of Physical Chemistry at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, emphasizes the gain of the renowned scientist for Jena as a scientific location: "High-resolution fluorescence microscopy excellently complements the imaging techniques established at the Leibniz IPHT and the University and opens up new applications in optical medical diagnostics and basic biological research.

About Christian Eggeling
Christian Eggeling studied physics in Hamburg and Göttingen, where he completed his diploma thesis on the photostability of dyes for single molecule fluorescence detection at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in 1996. After a one-year research stay at the Stockholm Karolinska Institute in Sweden, he returned to the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen for his doctorate. In the group of Dr. Claus Seidel and Prof. Jürgen Troe, he conducted research in the field of multidimensional single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy. After receiving his doctorate, Eggeling first moved into business in 2000. At Evotec OAI AG in Hamburg, he worked for three years on fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy techniques for high-throughput drug screening before returning to the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen. Until 2012, the physicist researched new high-resolution imaging methods in the group led by Nobel Prize winner Stefan W. Hell. Before coming to Jena, Christian Eggeling was research group leader at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University and scientific director of the Wolfson Imaging Centre Oxford. The existing working group in England, he continues in the context of a sideline activity.
The Board of Trustees of the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies Jena (Leibniz-IPHT) appointed Prof. Christian Eggeling as head of the new department "Biophysical Imaging" at its meeting on June 25, 2018. The scientist, who has been Professor of Super-Resolution Microscopy at the Institute of Applied Optics at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena since December 2017, is investigating high-resolution microscopy methods that allow unique insights into the nanocosmos of living cells and tissue.


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