News archive 2016

© WWU/Peter Leßmann

Making the Invisible Visible

How can processes in the body that are normally hidden from the human eye, such as inflammation or disease, be made visible? To do this, scientists at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence use a broad range of imaging technologies and work on developing innovative imaging strategies.

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© Pauline Wales et al.

Stress leads to an internal reorganization of the body’s cells

If cells are under stress, for example in the case of injuries, they react to the stress and reorganize their cytoskeleton. This has been demonstrated by Prof. Roland Wedlich-Söldner and his team at the “Cells in Motion” Cluster of Excellence. Their study has been published in the journal “eLife”.

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© Mailin Julia Hamm, Bettina Carmen Kirchmaier, Wiebke Herzog

Blood vessel cells on their travels

CiM group leader Prof. Wiebke Herzog is looking into the question of how cells in the blood vessels find their way to the right place in the tissue and thus make growth possible. She has now received a Heisenberg fellowship for her work from the German Research Foundation.

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© Reprinted with permission from Gerwien & Hermann et al., Sci. Transl. Med. 8, 364ra152 (2016) 9 November 2016
© Korpos (left) / Gerwien, Faust, Sorokin, Schäfers (centre) / Sci. Transl. Med. 8 (2016), Gerwien & Hermann et al. (right)

Research from Cells to Patients

Researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence have succeeded in visualizing, for the first time, ongoing inflammation in the brain in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. The study has been published in the prestigious journal "Science Translational Medicine".

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© CiM-Peter Leßmann

A Physicist in Cell Biology

At the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence Timo Betz studies the mechanical properties of cells, for example, how they change shape in case of disease. Since of late he is a CiM Professor of Cell Mechanics. His great aim is to bring more physics into biology.

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© CiM - Peter Grewer

An Opportunity and a Challenge

Dr. Milos Galic is a Junior Research Group Leader and he has established his own working group in the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence. What he appreciates most is not only the top-notch research environment but having the opportunity to combine having a family with a career in research.

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© CiM - Michael Kuhlmann

“The idea becomes reality.”

Since the “go-ahead” for the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence, announced in 2012, CiM has sparked many changes at the University of Münster. The Coordinators of the Cluster, Prof. Lydia Sorokin, Prof. Volker Gerke and Prof. Michael Schäfers, provide insights into some of these achievements.

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© CiM - Wilfried Hiegemann

Open lab day for families

Laboratories of the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence opened their doors for the "Türöffner-Tag" on 3rd October for families. There was a lot to discover, with the young researchers taking a look through microscopes, taking part in chemical experiments or extracting DNA.

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© MPI Münster

Understanding regeneration

Dr. Kerstin Bartscherer, who is a group leader at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence, has been awarded a prestigious "ERC Starting Grant" by the European Research Council. Using planarian flatworms, she investigates how the regeneration of injured or lost body parts can be activated.

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© CiM/P. Grewer

An excellent network

Dr. Anna Junker works on her first independent research project supported by the postdoctoral programme of the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence. She benefits from the Cluster's Young Academy – a career development network, which junior researchers manage autonomously.

© CiM - Grewer / Kuhlmann

Broadening horizons

The scientists at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence go beyond the boundaries of their own specialised fields and address scientific questions using different disciplines. The enthusiasm for this interdisciplinary team work is evident at all career levels. Seven researchers report on their experiences.

© CiM - Peter Grewer

Between the lab and the hospital

Only few physicians carry out scientific work in parallel to their everyday work in the hospital. But both doctors and patients alike benefit from close links between research and clinic. One aim of the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence is to bring people with different expertise together and to promote the transfer of basic research findings to clinical applications.

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© CiM - Peter Grewer

Lots of fresh ideas

In the Cells-in-Motion 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 pilot project and learned a lot from the interdisciplinary teamwork.

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© CiM - Peter Leßmann

A summer in the CiM lab

International Master’s students learn at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence: In the first CiM Summer School students from all over the world work in various labs at the Cluster. They gain insights into a wide range of subjects.

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© CiM - Peter Leßmann

It went “click“

Researchers of the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence have succeeded in marking messenger RNA in living cells using click chemistry. A new study of CiM Professor Andrea Rentmeister and her team has been published in the specialist journal “Angewandte Chemie”.

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© CiM-Peter Grewer

Learning new methods

During an external research stay, Dr. Verena Hofschröer learned to work with confocal microscopy from the basics on. She applied her new skills in studying cancer cell clusters. A Train-Gain grant of the Cluster of Excellence supported her stay.

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© privat

From Münster to Houston

Interview with physician Dr. Tim Sauer

In the summer of 2015 Dr. Tim Sauer was still working as a senior physician in the field of bone marrow transplants at Münster University Hospital (UKM). Through the “Train-Gain” programme at the “Cells in Motion” (CiM) Cluster of Excellence at Münster University he funded an internship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He soon decided to live and do research in the USA for a longer period of time.

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© privat

Travel grant provides ticket to international conference

For Yvonne Padberg, a doctoral student in Biology, it was a dream come true: in Ventura, in the USA, she received a prize for the best talk at a prestigious scientific conference for junior researchers. A CiM travel grant for female researchers had made the trip possible.

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© WWU - Peter Grewer

FIM shows fruit flies on a shopping spree

Junior researchers from the departments of Computer Science and Biology have developed a method of making precise analyses of the behaviour of Drosophila larvae

Using a so-called FIM table, biologists can photograph even the smallest movement the animals make. The project is being funded by the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence.

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How to Build an Organ?

CiM-scientists have found that three factors control progenitor cell positioning in zebrafish embryos

Chemical cues, physical barriers and cell adhesion control progenitor cell positioning. This is the result of a study by cell biologists Azadeh Paksa and Prof. Erez Raz, who worked with an international team of scientists from Israel, France and the USA. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

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© MPI Münster - A. Kusumbe

Fresh wind for old stem cell niches

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute and Münster University have discovered how to increase blood-forming stem cells

Blood vessels play a decisive role in the growth of bone tissue and in blood formation, or haematopoiesis. The blood vessels form so-called vascular niches which ensure that the blood-forming stem cells are preserved. Researchers have now found out how they can enhance the function of vascular stem cell niches in bone marrow and, as a result, increase the number of stem cells.

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© CiM - Peter Grewer

Physicians for science

Master’s degree course in “Experimental Medicine“ accredited at Münster University

Something new in medical studies: from October onwards students of human medicine in Münster can gain an additional qualification for biomedical research – studying the new master’s degree course in “Experimental Medicine” at Münster University. The Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence is one of the principal elements of the course, with its working groups making a large contribution to the teaching done at the Medical Faculty.

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Over a Million Euros of Funding for Interdisciplinary Research

“Cells in Motion“ funds twelve new interdisciplinary research projects

CiM is providing 1.1 million euros of funding for no fewer than twelve new so-called flexible funds projects. What is special about the projects is that the project partners unite laboratories and clinics from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Medicine. Objects of research are sperm, nano-capsules and high-performance scanners.

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© Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co. KGaA. Reproduced with permission

Using Trojan Horses to Combat Microorganisms

Researchers analyse potential of an approach to treating local infections

Bacterial infections can have serious consequences – for example, when they colonize an artificial heart valve. There is especially problematic when the bacteria are resistant to several antibiotics. Researchers are looking for new methods of treatment as well as for ways to find centres of infection in the body, for example by means of special sugar molecules. Chemists, physicists, biologists and physicians were all involved in the study.

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Aiming to Prevent Stroke and Dementia

New international collaboration for research in prevention of stroke and dementia

The European Commission supports the new international collaboration SVDs@target for research in prevention of stroke and dementia. SVDs@target, made up of ten universities and institutes and a patient organization, brings together top basic scientists and academic clinicians, including Prof. Lydia Sorokin, head of the Institute of Physiological Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry at the University of Münster.

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© Friedemann Kiefer

If cells run out of oxygen, they start to shine green

Scientists from Münster developed a new method to indicate acute lack of oxygen in cells

Without oxygen, cells cannot survive. Until now, scientists could not observe the effect that a reduced oxygen supply can have on individual cells. This was technically not feasible before. Scientists from Münster have now developed a reporter, which allows them to see an acute lack of oxygen of cells using light microscopy.

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Almost €2 million in funding for Münster virologist

Mario Schelhaas receives prestigious Consolidator Grant

Dr. Mario Schelhaas has seen off the competition to receive a grant from the European Research Council (ERC). He receives a 1.9 million Euro ERC Consolidator Grant to take his research to the next level.

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Blood Cells in Action

Biophysicists measure for the first time what happens when red blood cells “wriggle”

For the first time, and using physical methods, scientists from Münster, Paris and Jülich have demonstrated how red blood cells move. There had been real fights between academics over the question of whether these cells are moved by external forces or whether they actively “wriggle”. CiM Junior Research Group Leader Dr. Timo Betz and an international team have now proven that both opinions are correct. The study was published  in “Nature Physics”.

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Cascade Reaction for mRNA

Changing functions of mRNA by click chemistry

Fabian Muttach, a PhD student in Biochemistry, uses a cascade reaction of enzymes with enlarged binding pockets to change the structure and function of mRNA.