Ralf Jungmann, Professor of Experimental Physics at LMU and Head of the Molecular Imaging and Bionanotechnology group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council in 2016. He has now been awarded a Proof-of-Concept grant by the same agency. The PoC program supports researchers in their efforts to convert an idea that emerged in the course of an ERC-funded research project into a practical and commercially viable output.
In the ERC project that began in 2016, entitled “From Tissues to Single Molecules: High Content in Situ Super-Resolution Imaging with DNA-PAINT”, Jungmann is developing ways to extend the applicability and power of super-resolution microscopy. The basic idea is to expand the range of super-resolution microscopy by making use of sequence-specific DNA interactions to visualize multiple biological targets in cells at once. The ultimate goal is to visualize the locations and interactions of thousands of macromolecules (i.e., proteins and/or RNAs) with the highest possible resolution in single cells. This would constitute a major step in cell biology, as conventional super-resolution methods have limited multiplexing capabilities due to the small number of spectrally distinct fluorescent dyes.
As part of Jungmann‘s current ERC-funded project, Maximilian Strauss and Alexander Auer have led efforts to develop a prototype for a novel and cost-efficient super-resolution microscope, a user-friendly software platform and easily modifiable probes for the sequential imaging of a multitude of proteins. “Commercially available instrumentation for super-resolution microscopy is extremely expensive. The fabrication of our prototype is significantly more economical, and it therefore has the potential to become the standard solution for high-resolution microscopy in the life sciences,” says Ralf Jungmann. The new Proof-of-Concept grant will make it possible to optimize the specifications and performance of the technology and bring it into the market.
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