Our annual newsletter gives an overview of our network’s activities which focuses on connecting people and developing joint projects in the interdisciplinary field of cell dynamics and imaging. Enjoy reading it! You will find information on the state-of-the-art research infrastructure provided by the Multiscale Imaging Centre and Imaging Network, and on multifaceted career development and science communication projects. We look forward to lots of interactions in the New Year!
Beat in time, my steadfast heart… As is already a tradition, our glittery Christmas ball is adorned with an image from research giving insight into the inner workings of cells and organisms. We wish you lots of fun with our decorations and the science behind the image!
Microscopes make it possible to take ever deeper and more precise looks at the smallest of details, and in ever higher resolutions. This article looks at some of the techniques used by researchers at the University of Münster including, among others, high-performance cryogenic electron microscopy available at Prof. Christos Gatsogiannis’ lab, three-photon microscopy used by Prof. Friedemann Kiefer’s group, and insights into confocal laser scanning microscopy provided by Prof. Stefan Luschnig’s group.
The cell organelles known as “peroxisomes” dispose toxic substances and fats in the human body, among other things, and, in doing so, they prevent serious illnesses. The “Pex” group of proteins (peroxisomes biogenesis factors) keep these “detox units” functioning properly. Using cryogenic electron microscopy a research team headed by structural biologist Prof. Christos Gatsogiannis have now been the first to show, at the atomic level, how these highly complex processes proceed. The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
Our annual Inflammation & Imaging Symposium brings together scientists from several research networks and junior scientists programmes at the University of Münster with international guests. Over three days, they share new insights and ideas in inflammation research and immune system imaging. Here you can find pictures from this year’s opening day on 11 September 2023.
Sepsis is one of the most dangerous diseases and the third most common cause of death in Germany. Nevertheless, many people are unaware of the symptoms. On the occasion of the World Sepsis Day on 13 September, anesthesiologist and intensive care specialist Prof. Jan Rossaint informs about the disease. He talks about overshooting inflammatory reactions of the immune system, risk factors and health consequences as well as the right treatment and the current state of research. The podcast is available in German.
Researchers at the University of Münster and Bonn University Hospital identify novel gelatinase substrates involved in astroglial barrier function: In neuroinflammation, immune cells such as leukocytes cross the blood-brain barrier. One key to this is the gelatinases matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9. Until now, the substrates of these enzymes involved in the process were unknown. The results have now been published in Science Advances.
Introducing the Multiscale Imaging Centre (MIC): Our new research building brings together research groups from the fields of Medicine, Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Mathematics and Computer Science. On floor space of 10,000 square metres over three storeys, the researchers are using biomedical imaging to investigate the behaviour of cells in organisms. Three research groups gave some insights behind the scenes – from small to large.
A new research project headed by biochemist Prof. Lydia Sorokin from Münster University will be investigating functions of different barriers of the brain and how they change in stroke. The project will start in July and will receive 850,000 euros in financial support for three years from the German Ministry of Education and Research.
A research team led by chemist Prof. Bart Jan Ravoo and biophysicist Prof. Timo Betz describes for the first time how living cells can be reversibly deformed by specifically influencing the cell membrane using light. The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
A team of researchers led by cell biologist Prof. Carsten Grashoff has succeeded in breaking individual proteins with a high degree of temporal and spatial control to examine their mechanical role. As a result, the team identified conditions under which two particular molecules become essential for the adhesion of cells in the body. The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances.
A research team led by the neurobiologist Prof. Christian Klämbt has shown: In insect nerve cells, there are structures that resemble the "nodes of Ranvier" in mammalian neurons. Together with the electrically insulating myelin sheath, these form a basis for electrical nerve impulses to be transferred very rapidly over longer distances. The study has been published in the journal eLife.
Science needs specialised researchers. For many research questions, however, cooperation with colleagues from other disciplines is just as important. Using the example of the Collaborative Research Centre “inSight” Prof Michael Schäfers, a specialist in nuclear medicine, provides insight into research practice in the field of inflammation and imaging. He also talks about “network life” and explains, for example, how a grant application for a research network is created and what role junior scientists play. The podcast is available in German.
The clinician scientist Prof Luise Erpenbeck and the computer scientist Prof Benjamin Risse from the University of Münster talked with the artist Herlinde Koelbl about multifaceted aspects of the profession of scientist. The event took place at the Münster City Museum on 3 February 2023 to accompany the exhibition “Fascination of Science”. The video is in German.
There are only a few devices of this performance class in Germany. At the University of Münster it is the first of its kind: the research group of structural biologist Prof Christos Gatsogiannis has put into operation a new high-performance cryoelectron microscope, which will also be used by many other research groups in Münster.
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is providing funding amounting to 4.8 million euros over three years for the continuation of the Clinical Research Unit entitled “Organ Dysfunction during Systemic Inflammation” (CRU 342) at Münster University. The network has been investigating systemic infammation since 2020.
Through the “InFlame” Medical Scientist Programme, eleven postdocs from biology, chemistry and computer science are undergoing specialist training for natural scientists in medical research. In this interview, programme spokesperson Prof. Dr Petra Dersch talks about the important role of medical scientists, their career prospects and the contents of the career programme.
Influenza viruses are becoming increasingly resilient to medicines. Researchers at Münster University suggest a new approach to active ingredients to fight influenza. The polymerase of the influenza A virus depends on modifications through host cells without which the virus cannot proliferate.
A team of scientists headed by biologist Dr Sebastian Rumpf have been studying the regulated removal of neural connections (“pruning”) in the model system of the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly. In a study published in the Journal of Cell Biology, the team show that in sensory nerve cells of the fruit fly, pruning occurs through mechanical tearing.