Research focus “Cell Dynamics and Imaging”

Every process within all organisms involves molecules and cells and their interactions. To understand these dynamic processes scientists from medicine, biology, chemistry, pharmacy, mathematics, computer science and physics work closely together. They investigate which biochemical and biophysical properties of a cell influence its behaviour, how the molecular mechanisms in an organism remain in healthy balance, and what happens in the body in different diseases. A main focus is on cellular processes in the blood and lymphatic vessel system, and on inflammation. To be able to analyse how cells behave in organisms researchers employ imaging methods – from light microscopy to whole-body imaging – and develop chemical and mathematical methods that can be employed in different imaging methods. Only in this way is it possible to examine the same cell in various spatial dimensions over time. This approach also promotes the transfer of methods applied to animal models to clinically established imaging methods for exploitation in patient diagnosis.

Supporting structures

Thanks to the close intertwining of disciplines, numerous collaborative research projects have already received funding. The Cells in Motion Cluster of Excellence, which was funded from 2012 through 2019, has pushed the traditional boundaries of disciplines and established sustainable structures. The Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre, an interfaculty research institute at Münster University, will continue the concept of the Cluster of Excellence over the long term. The network brings together and supports involved researchers and is an incubator for new interdisciplinary research questions that contribute to further developing the research focus. Involved groups include five faculties of the University of Münster as well as the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster. Embedded in this network is the CiM-IMPRS Graduate Programme, the Imaging Network which promotes the joint use and sustainable further development of research infrastructure at Münster University, and the Multiscale Imaging Centre, a new research building where research groups from different faculties will also come together physically in the future.