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SciLifeLab Fellows seminar series: Imaging across space and time

Speaker: Silvio Rizzoli, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany

Title: Imaging across space and time


One important aspect is generally missing from cellular analysis techniques: an imaging-based measurement of the turnover of the cells and tissues. Knowing only the average turnover of specific proteins, from conventional mass spectrometry analyses, cannot reveal any details on the turnover of specific neurons or synapses. For example, it is unclear whether the state of activity of a synapses is related to its turnover, or whether the lack of activity that is caused by synaptic disease translates into local changes in turnover, at the level of the synapses that are affected by the disease. This type of question can be extended to every tissue, and to every organelle, in the entire biomedical field of research. To answer it, one needs a different technique: one that can image, at high spatial resolution and with high sensitivity, the turnover of the structures of interest. We are currently able to do this using secondary ion mass spectrometry, especially in its nanoscale (nanoSIMS) implementation, relying on a number of innovations, which include genetic encoding of rare elements into proteins.

Short bio:

My laboratory has a dual focus – the development of high-end imaging and synaptic physiology. All of our projects make use of super-resolution imaging techniques, including stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, in combination with conventional imaging, electron microscopy and quantitative biochemistry. The ultimate goal of our work is to understand the functional organization of the cell – the connection between the topological distribution of cellular elements (proteins or organelles) and their function. We focus on the synapse (the presynaptic bouton), whose relative simplicity and well understood function render such structure-function studies more feasible. Using this type of technology, we have provided during the last years the first quantitative molecular description of a part of the cell, the synapse (Wilhelm et al., Science, 2014; now included in the standard textbook for cellular and molecular biology, the “Molecular Biology of the Cell” by Alberts and colleagues, Garland Science, 2014, sixth edition).

Date: June 15

Time: 14:00-15:00

Venue: Air&Fire auditorium, SciLifeLab Solna

Host: Ilaria Testa


This seminar is part of a seminar series hosted by SciLifeLab Fellows