Organisational chart
Fields of action and organisation structure of the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre
© Cells in Motion

About us

In the Cells in Motion (CiM) Interfaculty Centre, researchers from the fields of medicine, biology, chemistry, pharmacy, mathematics, computer science and physics join forces to work on a big topic together: They investigate how cells behave in organisms. To this end, they employ and develop innovative imaging methods. As a central, cross-faculty research institution at our University, our network brings together and supports researchers in this field, thus being the centrepiece of the University of Münster’s research focus in “cell dynamics, inflammation and imaging”.

What we do

  • We carry out research into how cells move and behave in organisms. To this end, we employ and develop innovative imaging methods. Our network promotes collaboration between the fields of medicine, the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science – both within the University of Münster and with international cooperation partners. One important aspect of this collaboration is the combination of basic research and clinical research. What our network creates is more than the sum of our parts: We see ourselves as an incubator for new, interdisciplinary research topics and are committed to acquiring third-party funding for collaborative research projects. We also play a part in recruiting outstanding researchers.
  • We support researchers in their academic careers by means of interdisciplinary and international training programmes and continuing education. In doing so, we are always mindful of equal opportunity aspects.
  • We support researchers in making common use of imaging technologies and contribute to a sustainable further development of the research infrastructure at Münster University.
  • We promote and support communication within the scientific community and between science and society, making knowledge accessible in a way that is easy to understand, yet, at the same time, sufficiently detailed.

Who we are

Any researcher interested in our subject area can benefit from what we offer and make his or her own contribution to shaping projects. Our community includes researchers at various stages on the career ladder from the Faculties of Medicine, Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Physics at the University of Münster and from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Biomedicine in Münster.

Our network is managed by the Executive Board, which is elected by our members. The spokesperson is biochemist Prof Lydia Sorokin, and her deputy is mathematician Prof Benedikt Wirth. In addition, a variety of committees help to shape the work done by our network. The researchers on the Executive Board and in the committees work closely together with experts in science management and science communication. Working in transdisciplinary teams, we develop perspectives and supporting measures for science. In doing so, we exchange ideas with the University faculties involved, as well as with collaborative research projects and institutes in our scientific field.

Picture of the building facade of the Multiscale Imaging Centre
© Uni MS/Michael Kuhlmann

Where we are

We work in institutes and clinics located in various buildings on the life and natural sciences campus at our University. A central meeting point for lectures, symposia or our General Assembly is our own research building – the Multiscale Imaging Centre. Working groups from various faculties, as well as our science management and science communication teams, are based there.

How it all began

In 2011, the University of Münster submitted a proposal for the Cells in Motion Cluster of Excellence to the competitive excellence programme run by the national and federal state governments in Germany. Within this Cluster initiative, more than 80 research groups joined forces to sustainably strengthen the research field of cell dynamics and imaging through innovative structures. The concept developed by the biochemist Prof Lydia Sorokin, the biochemist Prof Volker Gerke and the nuclear medicine specialist Prof Michael Schäfers was convincing and the Cluster of Excellence received funding from the German Research Foundation for seven years. It established a cross-faculty research concept that, with the foundation of the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre in 2019, was consolidated and embedded into a central scientific institution at the university.

The Cells in Motion Cluster of Excellence intensified the exchange between scientific disciplines and between basic research and clinical practice, with lasting effects across the faculties. The key to this success was the unifying research strategy “Imaging to understand cellular behaviour in organisms”. The Cluster further invigorated and strengthened this scientific field by awarding competitive funding to new interdisciplinary projects at various career levels. Furthermore, in collaboration with the faculties, the Cluster established new professorships and junior research groups at the interfaces between disciplines and set up structured programmes to train interdisciplinary junior researchers, specifically the CiM-IMPRS Graduate School and the Experimental Medicine Master’s Programme. By securing funding for a new research building – the Multiscale Imaging Centre – and establishing the Imaging Network, it also expanded the imaging infrastructure and visibility at the University of Münster. Using the scientific images generated by its research, the Cluster embedded special and specific concepts into the communication between science and society.