A current central scientific challenge is to understand the molecular machinery underlying cellular function. This knowledge is urgently needed, on the one hand for the development of future technology in the hope that humans can copy some of nature’s design rules, and on the other hand to battle diseases, especially cancer. This challenge requires the development of advanced microscopy techniques to achieve a nanometer scale resolution on proteins within intact cells in their native liquid state.
Our research program aims at finding clues to the causes of drug resistance development in cancer, studying membrane protein interactions at the single molecule level, and exploring dynamic interactions of nanomaterials at the solid-liquid interface. For this purpose, our group’s research generates breakthrough innovations to optimize liquid-phase electron microscopy (LP-EM), 3D scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), and in situ STEM.
The research is conducted by an interdisciplinary team of (bio)physicists, cell biologists, (bio)chemists, and computer scientists in the group Innovative Electron Microscopy (IEM) at the INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials, in Saarbrücken, Germany. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Niels de Jonge is an expert and pioneer in LP-EM and leads the research team. He is also honorary professor of physics at Saarland University (UdS).
- Review paper: Liquid-phase electron microscopy for soft matter science and biology. Adv. Mater. 32, 2001582-1-21, 2020. link
- 2019: Research project on gastric cancer starts, funded by the Deutsche Krebshilfe: MetGaP “long-term response in Trastuzumab-treated metastatic gastric- or gastroesophageal junction cancer patients via molecular HER2 surface and pathway analyses”. See projects page.
- 2019: Paper about the spatial- and temporal resolution of LP-EM published in Nat. Mat. Rev.. link