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

  • Wegner W, Mott AC, Grant SGN, Steffens H, Willig KI (2018) In vivo STED microscopy visualizes PSD95 sub-structures and morphological changes over several hours in the mouse visual cortex. Scientific Reports 8, 219-219
  • Neef J, Urban NT, Ohn TL, Frank T, Jean P, Hell SW, Willig KI, Moser T (2018) Quantitative optical nanophysiology of Ca2+ signaling at inner hair cell active zones. Nat. Commun. 9, 290
  • Wegner W, Ilgen P, Gregor C, van Dort J, Mott AC, Steffens H, Willig KI (2017) In vivo mouse and live cell STED microscopy of neuronal actin plasticity using far-red emitting fluorescent proteins. Scientific Reports 7, 11781-11781
  • Willig KI, Steffens H, Gregor C, Herholt A, Rossner MJ, Hell SW (2014) Nanoscopy of Filamentous Actin in Cortical Dendrites of a Living Mouse. Biophys. J. 106, L01 - L03
  • Berning S, Willig KI, Steffens H, Dibaj P, Hell SW (2012) Nanoscopy in a Living Mouse Brain. Science 335, 551