Our goal is to develop advanced 3D light microscopy methods to perform quantitative studies in live cells to answer fundamental questions in molecular and cell biology. We combine label-free and molecule-specific super-resolution fluorescence readouts to assess mechanical properties, dynamics and structure.
Biophysics and Microscopy to Understand Life at the Nanoscale
Quantitative information about the molecules that participate in the basic processes of life, ideally in a physiological context, are key to understanding the physical principles that underly cellular organization and function. Individual molecules can be observed and localized by fluorescence microscopy; single-molecule imaging and spectroscopy has enabled several implementations of super-resolution microscopy in the past 10–20 years. These have, without doubt, led to groundbreaking discoveries e.g. in the architecture of neurons. However, to achieve the necessary sparse fluorescence signals one has to work at extremely low concentrations. Often, the used light doses harm cells and imaging at molecular resolution is slow. Live-cell super-resolution microscopes mostly capture tightly interacting biomolecules and might miss assemblies of weaker affinities. In order to understand the function of intracellular self-assembly and its dysregulation leading to diseases, we need smart adaptable microscopes and analysis tools.
Our interdisciplinary Bionanoscience group builds upon synergies from molecular/cell biology, (physical/bio) chemistry, (bio)physics and optics. We develop cutting-edge (super-resolution) microscopy and analysis tools, establish new classes of fluorescence probes and apply them directly to address relevant questions in molecular and cell biology.