News & Views

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© Lisa Fischer, Carsten Grashoff

New microscopy analysis allows discovery of central adhesion complex

Researchers around cell biologist Prof Dr Carsten Grashoff from the University of Münster and at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry have developed a method for determining the arrangement and density of individual proteins in cells. In this way, they were able to prove the existence of an adhesion complex consisting of three proteins.

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© Tronquet / Kleinrensing/Messerschmidt/Schmidtchen

Funding for “Topical Programs”

Two initiatives on topics in the research area of the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre have received funding from the Rectorate of the University of Münster: Microbiologist Prof Dr Ulrich Dobrindt and cell biologist Prof Dr Ursula Rescher are addressing questions of host-microbe interaction. Mathematician Prof Dr Angela Stevens and cell biologist Prof Dr Erez Raz want to conceptually deepen the interplay between experimental biology and mathematics.

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© Gross-Thebing, Truszkowski, Tenbrinck et al. Sci Adv 2020;6: eabc5546/CC BY-NC

Patterns in primordial germ cell migration

Biologists and mathematicians at the Universities of Münster and Erlangen-Nürnberg investigated how primordial germ cells behave in zebrafish embryos when not influenced by a guidance cue and developed software that merges 3D microscopy images of multiple organisms. This made it possible to recognise patterns in the cell distribution and thus to highlight tissues that influence cell migration. The study was published in “Science Advances”.

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© AG Pernice

Light-carrying chips advance machine learning

Working together with an international team, researchers around nanophysicist Prof Dr Wolfram Pernice at Münster University found that photonic processors, with which data is processed by means of light, can process information very much more rapidly and in parallel than electronic chips. The results published in "Nature" could be applied to support the evaluation of large quantities of data produced in biomedical imaging.

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© AG Rentmeister

Switching DNA functions on and off by means of light

Biochemists around Prof Dr Andrea Rentmeister at Münster University have developed a new strategy for controlling the biological functions of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) by means of light and therefore provide a tool to investigate processes which take place in cells. The results have been published in the journal "Angewandte Chemie".

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© Carsten Grashoff

New mechanism of force transduction in muscle cells discovered

Researchers around Prof Dr Carsten Grashoff at the University of Münster have discovered how the muscle-specific adhesion molecule metavinculin modulates mechanical force transduction on the molecular level. The research results have just been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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© UKM Fotozentrale/privat

Activation of inflammatory cells

Scientists around anesthesiologist Prof Alexander Zarbock at the University of Münster have investigated the role of an integrin kinase in molecular processes of leukocyte adhesion and extravasation into tissue. The study published in the journal “Blood” was awarded the title “Paper of the Month” by the Faculty of Medicine.

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© CiM / Jone Isasti Sanchez, Stefan Luschnig

Science on the Christmas tree

Every year our glittery “Christmas ball” gives insight into the inner workings of cells and organisms. Using imaging techniques, scientists make processes that are normally hidden from the human eye visible and investigate how cells behave within organisms. Guess what’s shining on our Christmas ball this year? We wish you lots of fun with our little bit of “Science on the Christmas tree”!

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© WWU/Michael Kuhlmann

New Collaborative Research Centre: insight into inflammation through “multiscale imaging”

The new Collaborative Research Center "inSight" at Münster University receives funding from the German Research Foundation amounting to approximately ten million euros. The researchers aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the body regulates inflammation in different organs and, to this end, develop a specific imaging methodology that brings together information from single cells to entire organisms.

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© AG Zarbock, AG Schwab

New funding period for Transregio Collaborative Research Centre on multiple sclerosis

The German Research Foundation has approved a new funding period for the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 128 at the Universities of Münster, Mainz and München. In order to develop new therapeutic concepts, researchers in this project are working on unravelling the changes in the immune system that underlie the disease, the role of the blood-brain barrier and the effects of the immune system's attack on the central nervous system.

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© WWU

Video: Junior scientist Cristina Barca provides an insight into her research

In a new video series the University of Münster introduces junior researchers. The first one is Cristina Barca, a PhD student at the European Institute for Molecular Imaging: Using biomedical imaging, she is investigating how well certain drugs work in treating strokes. In the video she provides an insight into her everyday working life and explains what is so special about being a scientist.

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© Linke Lab

Newly discovered mechanism regulates myocardial distensibility

A team of researchers headed by Münster University physiologist Prof. Wolfgang Linke has shown that oxidative stress, in combination with the extension of the heart walls, triggers a change in cardiac stiffness. A key role is played by the giant protein titin. This newly discovered mechanism is relevant, e.g., in cases of an acute heart attack. The results have been published in the journal “PNAS”.

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© Klämbt Lab

Glial cells play an active role in the nervous system

Researchers at Münster University headed by biologist Prof Christian Klämbt have discovered that glial cells – one of the main components of the brain –not only control the speed of nerve conduction, but also influence the precision of signal transduction in the brain. The research results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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© WWU/Stefan Luschnig

Decoded: the structure of the barrier between three cells

Organs in animals and in humans have one thing in common: they are bounded by so-called epithelial cells. Researchers at the University of Münster headed by Cells in Motion Professor Stefan Luschnig have found out how two proteins called Anakonda and M6 interact in epithelial cells in fruit flies in order to produce a functioning barrier at corner points between three of those cells.

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© WWU - Alessandro Zannotti

Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the University of Münster have developed light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. For this purpose, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses. The new method could be relevant for applications such as high resolution microsopy. The study has been published in “Nature Communications”.

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© Ryan Gilmour

Researchers solve a long-standing problem in organic chemistry

Chemists have for a long time been interested in efficiently constructing polyenes – not least in order to be able to use them for future biomedical applications. However, such designs are currently neither simple nor inexpensive. Scientists at Münster University headed by Cells in Motion Professor Ryan Gilmour have now found a bio-inspired solution to the problem. The study has been published in “Science”.

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© Andreas van Impel

Researchers identify “hot spots” for developing lymphatic vessels

The development of the lymphatic vasculature is crucially dependent on one specific protein – the growth factor VEGF-C. Using the zebrafish model, researchers now gained new insights into how and at which spots the individual protagonists of the VEGF-C signalling pathway need to interact with each other in the embryo. The study has been published in "Nature Communications".

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© WWU/Peter Leßmann

Investigating inflammation at biological interfaces – 10 million euros for CRC "Breaking Barriers"

The Collaborative Research Centre "Breaking Barriers" will continue to receive funding by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for four years. The network deals with inflammatory reactions at biological interfaces such as the skin or surfaces of lungs, intestines or blood vessels. Newly gained insights shall now be implemented in methods relating to new diagnostic or therapeutic approaches.

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© WWU/Michael Kuhlmann

Listening to the molecules in the body

Laser light that cannot be seen, and sounds that cannot be heard: this combination produces something that is all the more visible – images from inside the body. Photoacoustics is the name of this method, whose purpose is to acoustically record the sounds of molecules. During her PhD thesis, biologist Alexa Hasenbach investigated inflammatory processes.

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© CiM-IMPRS

#staysafe #stayscientific: community video

What is it like to do research in times of the corona crisis? Three young scientists from our CiM-IMPRS Graduate Program have recorded short video clips in which they share moments from their everyday life and give insights into how they are dealing with the situation.

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© WWU/Marie Monecke

Junior scientists receive funding – an example project

15 junior researchers at the University of Münster have received nearly 20,000 euros in funding by the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre. They will use the money to implement their own research ideas, gain experience in another working group or present their research findings at international conferences. An example: A team of four wants to develop an imaging system for analysing sperm motility.

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© WWU/Chembion - Kathrin Brömmel

"Our vision is to provide interdisciplinary training for doctoral students"

In the new "Chembion" Research Training Group at Münster University, which is being funded by the German Research Foundation, doctoral students from medicine and pharmacy jointly investigate ways to regulate the function of ion channels in cell membranes. An interview with Prof. Bernhard Wünsch, spokesperson of the Research Training Group and member of the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre.

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© WWU/Erk Wibberg

Iron particles for MR imaging

Physicians, physicists and chemists at Münster University have developed novel iron oxide nanoparticles that can serve as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The exceptional aspect: They can be specifically distinguished from naturally occurring iron, thus enabling targeted tracking of immune cells in mice, and providing novel insight into iron metabolism. The study was awarded the title “Paper of the Month” by the Faculty of Medicine.