Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences

Willig, Katrin, Dr.

  • 1995-2001 Study of Physics at University of Würzburg and New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA
  • 2006 Dr. rer. nat. (University of Heidelberg), thesis on STED microscopy
  • 2006-2013 Postdoc in STED microscopy, Department of NanoBiophotonics, Prof. S.W. Hell, Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen
  • since 2014 Independent Junior Research Group Leader, Center for Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB), Cluster of Excellence 171 - DFG Research Center 103, Göttingen

Major Research Interests

The contact sites between two neurons, called ?synapses?, are the most fundamental information processing units in the brain. The minute size of synapses creates an inherent difficulty for conventional imaging but makes them an ideal target for STED microscopy. Because even a single neuron establishes a huge amount of synapses, they are best observed in undamaged, intact tissue, such as in brain slices or even better in living animals. In recent years we have used STED microscopy to image dendritic spines in living tissue and in the cortex of living mice. More specifically, we have been examining the structural dynamics of dendritic spines, which are thought to form the basis of memory in the brain. In our research group we will continue to study structural changes and morphological details using STED microscopy mainly with focus on the living and intact brain.

Homepage Department/Research Group


Selected Recent Publications

  • Willig, K. I., H. Steffens, C. Gregor, A. Herholt, M. J. Rossner, S. W. Hell (2014): "Nanoscopy of Filamentous Actin in Cortical Dendrites of a Living Mouse" Biophys. J. 106, L01 - L03
  • Willig, K. I., F. J. Barrantes (2014): "Recent applications of superresolution microscopy in neurobiology" Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 20, 16 ? 21 REVIEW
  • Berning, S., K. I. Willig, H. Steffens, P. Dibaj, S. W. Hell (2012): "Nanoscopy in a Living Mouse Brain" Science 335, 551
  • Willig, K. I., A. C. Stiel, T. Brakemann, S. Jakobs, S. W. Hell§ (2011): "Dual-label STED nanoscopy of living cells using photochromism" Nano Lett. 11, 3970 ? 3973
  • Urban, N., K. I. Willig, S. W. Hell, U. V. Nägerl (2011): "STED Nanoscopy of Actin Dynamics in Synapses Deep Inside Living Brain Slices" Biophys. J. 101, 1277-1284
  • Willig, K. I., S. O. Rizzoli, V. Westphal, R. Jahn, S. W. Hell (2006): "STED-microscopy reveals that synaptotagmin remains clustered after synaptic vesicle exocytosis". Nature 440 (7086): 935-939.
  • Moliadze V, Antal A, Paulus W. Boosting brain excitability by transcranial high frequency stimulation in the ripple range. Journal of Physiology, 2010, 588:4891-904.
  • Willig, K. I., R. R. Kellner, R. Medda, B. Hein, S. Jakobs, S. W Hell (2006): " Nanoscale resolution in GFP-based microscopy." Nature Methods 3 (9): 721-723.