Seminar rescheduled from February 27, 2023
Abstract: While most current research in the life sciences focuses on molecular, biochemical aspects of cell processes, we are interested in the emergent physical properties of cells and their importance for biological function. One reason why such properties are not yet generally considered is also a paucity of appropriate tools for their quantification. We are developing novel photonic and microfluidic tools to quantify these physical properties, including real-time deformability cytometry, optical diffraction tomography, and Brillouin microscopy. I will introduce these techniques and explain which quantitative physical properties are being measured. Finally, I will illustrate how this physical phenotyping leads to better understanding of cell function, new insights into phase transitions and nuclear biology, and improved disease diagnosis including Covid19.
Jochen Guck studied physics in Würzburg and received his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. In 2002 he joined the Institute of Soft Matter Physics at the University of Leipzig as a research assistant. In 2007 he joined the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge as a lecturer, where he later became a reader. In 2012, Guck was appointed Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Cellular Machines at the Biotechnology Center of the TU Dresden and served as its Executive Director. Since October 1, 2018, he has been Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society. Since August 2020 he holds the professorship for Biological Optomechanics at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. Guck has been awarded the Young Scientists Award in Biomedical Photonics of the DKFZ Heidelberg, the Cozzarelli Award of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and the Paterson Medal of the Institute of Physics (UK), among others, for his work.