Research interests

Electron cryo microscopy has evolved into a sophisticated tool used in structural biology, cell biology and medical research. Structure and function of complex macromolecular systems are studied combining microscopy with methods from the fields of molecular biology, X-ray crystallography, and Molecular Dynamics modelling. Our own laboratory applies these methods to two fundamental problems in current biology, the structure-function relationship of macromolecular motors (in particular the actin-myosin system) and synaptogenesis / synaptic function. In the tradition of Ernst and Helmut Ruska (the two brothers developing and applying the first Transmission Electron Microscopes, TEM) our laboratory is also exploring improved imaging tools to advance the information content in the images of our samples. In recent years we started to study in-focus phase contrast for the TEM by applying physical phase plates. The improvement of phase plates and their application to our biological research is at the centre of our instrumentation development. To complement the improved imaging we investigate also new labelling strategies to advance correlative light and electron microscopy.

 

Methods applied

Studies are using electron cryo microscopy to visualize macromolecules, biomolecular complexes, or cells and tissue in their artificial or cellular environment. Image processing is applied to facilitate single particle 3D reconstructions as well as tomographic reconstructions. Additionally, in the connection with the development of in-focus phase contrast several TEM image simulation packages are applied.