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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
A team of researchers led by biologist Prof Christian Klämbt from the University of Münster has shown that, in addition to the already known blood-brain barrier, there is a second barrier in the brain of fruit flies. Here glial cells, too, ensure a spatial separation of different functional compartments. The study was published in “Nature Communications”.
Young scientists from the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre talked to Prof Sara Wickström – who has just been appointed director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster – about her personal path in research, the challenges faced by female researchers and the prerequisites for a successfully managed research group.
A research team from the Universities of Göttingen and Münster, headed by biophysicist Prof Timo Betz, has investigated the mechanical properties of cells during mitosis using optical tweezers. The scientists revealed that during mitosis, biological cells soften their interior, become more fluid inside, and activity within the cell is reduced, while the shell stiffens and rounds. The study was published in “Nature Physics”.
A research team led by biochemist Prof Andrea Rentmeister and nuclear medicine specialist Prof Michael Schäfers has, for the first time, utilised so-called SNAP-tag technology to radioactively label cells in living organisms. The method opens up the prospect of examining cells with different imaging techniques and at different temporal stages. The study was published in “Chemical Communications”.
A research team headed by neurologist Dr Gerd Meyer zu Hörste has systematically studied which white blood cells populate the tissue surrounding the brain. They discovered that both B cells and their progenitors reside and develop in the outer layer of the meninges. The cells may have special immune system functions there and play a role in inflammatory brain diseases. The study was published in “Nature Neuroscience”.
The University of Münster receives funding for a “Medical Scientists Kolleg” in “Dynamics of Inflammatory Reactions”. The programme will support postdocs and strengthen collaboration between basic research in the natural sciences and application in patients. For this purpose, the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation will provide one million euros for four years.
A research team headed by chemist Prof Bart Jan Ravoo and biochemist Prof Volker Gerke has designed nanocontainers made of sugar and protein components. These containers are taken up by cells through natural processes and can thereby transport substances that normally cannot penetrate the cell membrane – such as drugs or labelled substances for the investigation of cell functions – into cells. The study was published in “Advanced Science”.
A research team headed by biomedical engineer Dr Britta Trappmann has developed a cell culture system in which, for the first time, a functional blood vessel system is able to grow within a framework made of synthetic material. The team investigates which material properties promote individual parameters of vessel formation – a step towards the futuristic vision of implantable artificial tissues. The study was published in “Nature Communications”.
Young scientists from the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre talked to biologist Prof. Dr. Maya Schuldiner from Israel about her scientific journey, the importance of mentorship, as well as the challenges faced by female students and researchers in science.
The "Royal Society of Chemistry" has elected Prof. Andrea Rentmeister as a Fellow. It thus honours the chemist's achievements in the field of biomolecular labelling chemistry. "I am delighted about this international recognition and, in addition to visibility, I am looking forward to new networking opportunities, especially with British researchers," Andrea Rentmeister emphasises.
Stefanie Bobe wants to dive deeper into medicine looking at the biomedical basis for improved diagnostic and therapeutic options. Therefore, she did an additional, science-oriented Master's degree in experimental medicine parallel to her medical studies and, in the working group led by biochemist Prof Friedemann Kiefer, became part of an interdisciplinary research team.
Scientists working with Prof Jan Rossaint and Prof Alexander Zarbock, two anesthesiologists and intensive care specialists at the University of Münster, have found how platelets interacting with white blood cells contribute to the resolution of bacterial lung inflammation in mice. The results may help in the search for therapies to specifically regulate inflammation. The study was published in the "Journal of Experimental Medicine".
A twelve-meter high wall installation was recently assembled in the gradually emerging Multiscale Imaging Centre. The work, by artist Cordula Hesselbarth, is entitled “Auf|Lösung” (Re|Solution) and embodies the research that scientists will be undertaking in the building on Röntgenstraße in Münster. Have a look at our latest photos and info!
A team headed by developmental biologist Prof Dr Stefan Luschnig from the University of Münster has discovered that during egg development in fruit flies, intercellular gaps open between epithelial cells in a controlled way at the points where three cells meet. This process allows yolk proteins to be transported into the egg cell. The study has been published in the journal “Developmental Cell”.
Prof. Dr. Ryan Gilmour from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at Münster University has been elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland's national academy of science and letters. As one of seven personalities eleceted as corresponding fellows, the chemist joins the ranks of distinguished Fellows resident abroad.
In an interview, mathematician Prof Benedikt Wirth gives insights into mathematical concepts that are fundamental for medical imaging and describes specific research projects in which he works together with colleagues from the fields of biology, medicine, physics and other disciplines. In an online talk on March 24, he will then be presenting (in German) mathematical findings which were necessary for the development of technologies.
At first sight, mathematics and cancer treatment don’t have much to do with each other. However, calculations play an important part in medical imaging. Marco Mauritz from Prof Beneditk Wirth’s research group works at this interface in an interdisciplinary team of researchers.
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.
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.
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”.
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.