Insights into molecular life
Insights into molecular life
Insights into molecular life
Insights into molecular life
Insights into molecular life
Insights into molecular life

Exploring microbial cell biology using fluorescence microscopy and biophysical methods

We are interested in how cellular life arises and is controlled by molecular processes. As an interdisciplinary group with a research focus on microbial cell biology, we use a comprehensive range of methods, including molecular biology, biochemistry, bioanalytics, fluorescence microscopy, biophysics, and computational approaches. A special emphasis is our methodological focus on quantitative microscopy, particularly single-molecule microscopy, to study the cell biology of a wide variety of microorganisms from all domains of life - archaea, eukaryotes, as well as prokaryotes. This allows us to visualize and measure the interactions and functions of individual molecular players within the cellular environment. Direct observation of complex molecular life allows us to gain important insights and a fundamental understanding of the cell biology and physiology of microorganisms.

Molecular processes in microorganisms

We aim to understand how the spatial organization and dynamics of individual molecular players in their cellular environment determines their function and regulates cellular life. In particular, we are interested in transient interactions between molecules and the dynamically regulated structure of molecular complexes, which are essential machines underlying all cellular life.

We work with a wide variety of microorganisms, including model organisms such as the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli or the eukaryotic fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, but also pathogens such as Yersinia enterocolitica or extremophiles such as the archaeum Haloferax volcanii.
Examples of our current research projects include

A complete list of our publications can be found here.

High-resolution single-molecule microscopy

For our projects, we continuously develop new, often customized, analytical methods for the application of single-molecule microscopy in microbial cell biology. Our focus is on the optimization and automation of the techniques for large data sets as well as their robust and quantitative applicability for a wide variety of microorganisms.

This methodological work includes, for example, the development of new fluorophores (Turkowyd et al. 2017), robust drift correction (Balinovic et al. 2019), expansion and multi-color microscopy approaches (Vojnovic et al. 2019), single-molecule tracking (Turkowyd et al. 2019, Martens et al. 2024) as well as the use of microfluidics or new types of image sensors.

Analysis and software development

A challenge in (single molecule) microscopy is the large amount of data generated during the experiments, which has to be efficiently processed and carefully analyzed afterwards to obtain robust results. Therefore, we are developing new analysis methods for our quantitative single molecule studies. This includes the creation of smaller analysis packages as well as the development of more complex software modules such as tracking, localization and simulation software. Our open-source analysis tools and software are available through our lab Github.

Publications

 Here you can find a list of our previously published papers.

Team

Here you can find a list of the current members of the research group.

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