Vici grant for Prof. Bernd Rieger

News - 26 February 2019 - Communication ImPhys

Prof. Bernd Rieger will receive 1.5 million euros from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This Vici grant will enable him to develop an innovative line of research in the coming five years. Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands.

Ultra-resolution with visible light: Zooming in on the building blocks of life, one at a time

Microscopes can zoom deeper and deeper into biological matter. With optical nanoscopy, they can even discern single molecules with 30-nm resolution using fluorescent labels.  A further improvement by a factor of ten would enable 3D imaging of the structure and protein composition of (macro)molecular assemblies such as the cell’s vitally important nuclear pore complex. Understanding the composition of this complex is essential, as it functions as a gateway between cell nucleus and the rest of the cell, and plays a role in autoimmune diseases.

Fluorescence imaging at cryogenic temperatures (<-150°C) is a promising technique, but the achievable 3D resolution is as yet insufficient. Professor Bernd Rieger proposes a combination of image-reconstruction schemes and a new cryogenic imaging technique that would make this possible. He will combine the information from many identical complexes into one single image reconstruction to compensate for the current problem of incomplete fluorescent labelling.  He will create an experimental setup and methodology that will achieve improved precision and resolution, enabling unprecedented power for studying the building blocks of life.