Lots of fresh ideas

Physicist Robert Meißner (top) and biologist Wade Sugden (bottom)
© CiM - Peter Grewer

In the Cluster of Excellence, junior researchers successfully start their own collaborations. For example, physicist Robert Meißner and biologist Wade Sugden received funding for a so-called CiM Pilot Project. This format ­supports ­interdisciplinary research projects undertaken by junior scientists. “I was looking for a way to measure forces in the blood vessels of zebrafish embryos,” Wade Sugden explains. ­Robert Meißner provided the solution at a CiM Graduate School ­presentation, where he described his work with optical ­tweezers – focused laser beams that can be used to hold and steer ­minute objects in a living organism. Together, they successfully wrote their first grant application.

During the collaboration Robert Meißner learnt a lot about zebrafish embryos, which are only a few millimetres in size, ­including the structure and elasticity of their blood vessels. While, Wade Sugden discovered what a challenge living ­organisms present for physicists. The two of them are ­currently writing a manuscript on their joint results for publication in a scientific journal. What has each of them learnt from their ­collaboration in the Cluster of Excellence? “To ­explain things simply without changing their meaning,” says ­Robert Meißner, “… and we got lots of fresh ideas!” adds Wade Sugden.