News & Views

© CiM

YouTube playlist: Cells in Motion News & Views

In our videos, scientists provide multifaceted insight into their research and everyday work. They talk about current research questions, their new findings and how these findings were generated. They also talk about their personal motivations, the experiences they have had while on their career path and the framework of the scientific system. The videos are in either English or German and most of them have subtitles available in both languages.

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© Stadtmuseum Münster, E. Wibberg, M. Heine, J. Rodach, ZDF/Jana Kay

Panel discussion: Fascination and Myth – the Art of Science

The clinician scientist Prof Luise Erpenbeck and the computer scientist Prof Benjamin Risse will talk with the artist Herlinde Koelbl about ideas and representations of the scientific profession and also parallels between art and science at the Münster City Museum on 3 February at 7 pm to accompany the exhibition “Fascination of Science”. A cooperation between our “Cells in Motion” science communication office, our University’s communication office and the Stadtmuseum Münster.

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© WWU / Rumpf Lab

Mechanical forces in the nervous system play a corrective role

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.

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© WWU/Peter Leßmann

“A lot of work was invested before I was able to control these reactions”

Dr Charlotte Teschers has developed a new method to produce complex, fluorinated sugars as part of her doctoral thesis in chemistry with Prof Ryan Gilmour. For this purpose, she used a specially engineered instrument which produces carbohydrates in an automated fashion – a “Glyconeer”. In this interview she explains why sugar chains are important in biomedicine and why producing them is complicated.

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© CiM

Cells in Motion newsletter release: our annual overview and outlook

As the year draws to a close, we reflect happily and with satisfaction at our network’s activities over recent months. Our newsletter reports about our new research building and our Imaging Network and provides an overview of our activities in career development and science communication. We look forward to lots of exchange and new cooperations in the New Year. Enjoy reading!

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© WWU/CiM - Daniel Beckmann, Nadine Bauer, Raghu Erapaneedi, Friedemann Kiefer, Benjamin Risse

Science on the Christmas tree

Guess what’s behind the image that illuminates our glittery Christmas ball this year? Every year, it sheds light onto our research. Using imaging techniques, scientists make structures and processes that are normally hidden from the human eye visible and investigate how cells behave within organisms. We wish you lots of fun with the science behind the image and our templates for your decorations.

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© Siemens Healthcare/W. Geyer; P. Grewer

What do scientists gain from engaging in public communications?

A study by psychologists Dr Friederike Hendriks and Prof Rainer Bromme shows that communication with groups beyond the scientific community can have positive retroactive effects on the scientific collaboration of researchers from different disciplines. The scientists surveyed were in the field of cell dynamics and imaging at the University of Münster. The study was published in “Science Communication”.

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© WWU/Erk Wibberg

National network strengthens research data infrastructure for microscopy

The Imaging Network at Münster University, as part of the NFDI4BIOIMAGE consortium, receives both state and federal funding to strengthen the national research data infrastructure. The goal is to develop methods to share and reuse bioimaging data across disciplinary boundaries. The Münster team led by Dr Thomas Zobel, Microscopy Coordinator, and Dr Markus Blank-Burian, from University IT, provides the technical infrastructure and develops concepts for user training.  

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© CiM/M. Heine, B. Risse, D. Beckmann

Video: Benjamin Risse on computer science between the sciences

Many exciting research questions arise when computer science intersects with other sciences. In this video, Prof Benjamin Risse gives examples of how artificial intelligence is helping analyse the behaviour of ants and biomedical images. He also talks about how mathematics can be made accessible and what makes academia more attractive to him than business. The video is in German with English subtitles available!

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© WWU/Marcus Heine

Photo gallery: Inflammation & Imaging Symposium in the MIC building

Scientists from our university and their international guests discussed the latest developments in research on inflammation and the imaging of the immune system in Münster over the past few days. For the first time, the symposium took place in our new Multiscale Imaging Centre (MIC). Here you can find pictures from the opening day and impressions from the poster sessions.

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© WWU/Doris Niederhoff

Video: A career as a clinician scientist

Medical progress needs physicians who are active in both patient care and research. In the video, three physicians and a natural scientist talk about the specific role of these so-called clinician scientists in medical research, the joy of the profession and what is important if you want to pursue this challenging path. The video is in German with English subtitles available!

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© WWU/Erk Wibberg

Faculty of Medicine receives funding for research-active physicians

The University of Münster will expand its career support programme for clinician scientists who combine both clinical work and research – so that their patient-oriented perspective can help shape future medical care based on new research results. The German Research Foundation is funding the programme with more than two million euros.

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© AG Rentmeister

Biochemists use new tool to control mRNA by means of light

A team of researchers led by biochemist Prof Andrea Rentmeister discovered that by using so-called FlashCaps they were able to control the translation of mRNA by means of light. The results have been published in the journal “Nature Chemistry”.

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© Maximilian Rüttermann / AG Gatsogiannis

7.5 million euros for cryo-electron microscopy

A boost for research with cutting-edge imaging methods: Through a grant from the German Research Foundation, researchers from the University of Münster, working with structural biologist Prof Christos Gatsogiannis, will receive equipment for high-performance cryo-electron microscopy. Numerous research groups will use these instruments to make molecular processes in cells visible and examine particles, such as viruses, in three dimensions.

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New Collaborative Research Centre studies the biology of immune cells

The German Research Foundation has approved the new CRC/TRR 332 “Neutrophils: Origin, Fate & Function”. This network brings together researchers from the three applicant Universities of Münster (spokesperson: Prof Oliver Söhnlein), Munich and Duisburg-Essen as well as cooperation partners from Dresden and Dortmund.

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© WWU/Münster View

“ERC Advanced Grants” for Lydia Sorokin and Christian Weinheimer

Two members of “Cells in Motion” receive a major award from the European Research Council. CiM spokesperson Prof Lydia Sorokin will use the several million-euros grant to mimic components of the blood-brain barrier in 3D models to study factors that affect its permeability to immune cells. Particle physicist Prof Christian Weinheimer works on measurements of hypothetically predicted particles that might constitute dark matter.

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© WWU/Erk Wibberg

Profession: Physician and scientist

Medical professional Nadine Heiden is training to become a specialist physician while actively pursuing research. “I always wanted to do both,” she says – and a close connection between research and patient care can only be beneficial. Although the dual qualification is challenging, Nadine Heiden provides insight into how it is working out for her.

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© Studiotouch – stock.adobe.com

Fruit flies adapt their activity to “white nights”

Fruit flies with a new variant of a “clock gene” are spreading northwards. A team led by neurobiologists Prof Ralf Stanewsky and Dr Angélique Lamaze at the University has now found an explanation for this phenomenon. The study was published in the journal “Nature Communications”

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© WWU/AG Stanewsky

New findings on the internal clock of the fruit fly

Most living organisms have an internal clock which controls the sleep-wake rhythm. This rhythm lasts approximately one day (“circadian”), is regulated by means of various “clock genes” and coordination with factors such as light and temperature. A research team led by neurobiologist Prof. Ralf Stanewsky has demonstrated in fruit flies that a certain ion transport protein (“KCC”) plays a role in regulating circadian rhythms by means of light.

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© MPI

“ERC Consolidator Grant” for biologist Ivan Bedzhov

Biologist Dr Ivan Bedzhov, a research group leader at the MPI in Münster and a member of several research networks at the University of Münster, receives funding from the European Research Council amounting to two million euros for five years. He will use the funding to study how mammalian embryos preserve their viability and developmental potential for extended periods of time in a state of suspended animation.

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© WWU /Laura Grahn

Biochemist Andrea Rentmeister receives “ERC Proof of Concept Grant”

Biochemist Prof. Andrea Rentmeister has been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant, worth 150,000 euros, from the European Research Council. Together with business chemist Prof. Jens Leker, she is now working out how to make a marketable product out of a method she has developed to activate mRNA. This method enables scientists to use light to control biochemical processes inside living cells.

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First 3D structure of regulator protein revealedFirst 3D structure of regulator protein revealed
© WWU/AG Kümmel

First 3D structure of regulator protein revealed

A team of researchers led by biochemist Prof. Daniel Kümmel from the University of Münster, together with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, has clarified the structure of the protein complex “Mon1/Ccz1” which is an important regulator of cellular degradation processes. This complex belongs to a family of regulators which are involved in a range of cellular processes and for which no structural information previously existed.

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© WWU/Thomas Hauss

“Already as a child I knew I wanted to be a scientist”

Biochemist Prof Lydia Sorokin investigates how protein structures surrounding cells in tissues can influence their function. Here, in the interview, she talks about her work as a scientist, her love of nature and digital formats for exchanging knowledge with international colleagues.

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Science on the Christmas treeScience on the Christmas tree
© WWU/CiM - S. Kudruk, S. Pottanam Chali, B.J. Ravoo, V. Gerke/Adv Sci 2021

Science on the Christmas tree

Do you recognize what's shining on our Christmas ball this year? Every year it is adorned with an image from our research that illuminates the inner workings of cells and organisms. Using imaging techniques, scientists make structures and processes that are normally hidden from the human eye visible and investigate how cells behave within organisms. We hope you have lots of fun reading about the image and making your decorations. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2022!

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“You do really need to believe that you’re equal”“You do really need to believe that you’re equal”
© WWU/Doris Niederhoff

“You do really need to believe that you’re equal”

Dr Noelia Alonso Gonzalez recently became Professor of Macrophage Biology at the University of Münster. Her career springboard was a programme run by the research network “Cells in Motion”, which aimed to increase the proportion of women in leadership positions. In a video, the researcher and mother talks about her career path, international mobility and gender equality.

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Millions in funding for Collaborative Research Centre on dynamic cellular interfacesMillions in funding for Collaborative Research Centre on dynamic cellular interfaces
© privat / WWU/Jean-Marie Tronquet
© privat

Millions in funding for Collaborative Research Centre on dynamic cellular interfaces

The Collaborative Research Centre 1348 “Dynamic Cellular Interfaces: Formation and Function” at Münster University, which has been running since 2018, will receive approximately 10 million euros for a second funding period of four years by the German Research Foundation. The network investigates molecular mechanisms at contact points between cells that regulate cell differentiation as well as the development and function of tissues.

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Sufficient energy supply decisive for nerve developmentSufficient energy supply decisive for nerve development
© WWU/AG Sebastian Rumpf

Sufficient energy supply decisive for nerve development

Using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model, an interdisciplinary research team headed by biologist Dr Sebastian Rumpf from the University of Münster looked into whether energy is needed for the developmental degradation of nerve connections which takes place in the flies during metamorphosis.