Institut für Röntgenphysik – Köster Gruppe
Research Group Nanoscale Imaging of Cellular Dynamics
Biological cells are extremely complex systems, combining numerous different components and functions. Cellular dynamics are governed by biological and biochemical processes, but also to a considerable extent by biophysics. This includes phenomena like forces and motion generated by the cell, confinement in the dense cytoplasm, assembly and disassembly of cytoskeletal filaments or network structures, the mechanical response of the cell to external stimuli, as well as concentration gradients inside the cell. The involved length- and force scales are nano-/micrometers and pico-/nanonewton, respectively, and thereby very small. Timescales to be considered, however, range from sub-second to hours or days. To achieve our aim of imaging the dynamics of biological matter in real-time and in situ, we combine experimental techniques that can be used to investigate biological systems exactly on these scales with different imaging and scattering methods. Importantly, we study both in vitro model systems and whole cells. Model systems, which usually include one or several reconstituted cellular components, are simplified but can reveal certain underlying principles of biophysical phenomena which may then be of help in understanding the cellular system. For an overview of the scientific questions and experimental techniques we are interested in, please go to the research page.