Our first keynote speaker is confirmed – Prof. Stefan W. Hell!

Prof. Stefan W. Hell is known as the Nobel Prize laureate for Chemistry in 2014 for his excellent work on circumventing the diffraction limit. Today he is the director at both the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen, and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany.

Before Prof. Hell’s work, Ernst Abbe’s equation of the diffraction limit (d = λ / 2NA), formulated in 1873, has presented an insurmountable barrier for optical imaging systems, due to the physics of diffraction and the wavelength of the absorbed light. Especially in life sciences, where imaging living cells is required and light microscopy presents the only choice, the resolution was limited to around 200 nm. Thereby, small structures such as vesicles and protein complexes were prevented from being imaged separately and with high resolution.

In 2014, Prof. Hell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, not for breaking this principle limit, but rather for overcoming and outsmarting it by the development of STimulated Emission Depletion (STED) microscopy. Recently, Prof. Hell and his lab took research on nanoscopy a step further and developed the nanoscopy with MINimal photon FLUxes technique (MINFLUX) allowing for the ultimate super-resolution down to the size of single molecules (1 nm) and their interactions.

By pushing the boundaries of microscopic imaging to limits that were thought to be impossible before, implementation of such techniques and their constant advancements will revolutionize cellular and molecular research.

Stefan Hell Labs

1981 – 1987 | Physics studies, University of Heidelberg
1990 | Doctorate in Physics, University of Heidelberg
1991 – 1993 | Postdoctoral Researcher, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
1993 – 1996 | Principal Scientist, Laser Microscopy Group, University of Turku, Finland
1993 – 1994 | Visiting Scientist, Dept. Engineering Science, Oxford University, UK
1997 – 2002 | Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry Göttingen, Germany
2003 – 2017 | German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Head of Optical Nanoscopy Division
2017 – Present | Director, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry,
Head of the Department of NanoBiophotonics,
Head of the Department of Optical Nanoscopy,
Hon. Prof. of Experimental Physics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
Director, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research,
Hon. Prof., Department of Physics and Astronomy, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany

Our first Neurodevelopment panel speaker – Dr. Maria-Patapia Zafeiriou!

Dr. Maria-Patapia Zafeiriou is a Principal Investigator in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University Medical Center in Göttingen. She studied Chemistry in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and successfully completed her PhD studies focusing on the investigation of pancreatic beta cell homeostasis.

Afterwards, she investigated the role of TBX5, a transcription factor that is involved in the electrical signal propagation within the heart, and made important progress in the field of cardiac homeostasis. Currently together with her group, Dr. Zafeiriou investigates how the brain and the heart communicate with each other and how cardiac dysfunction maybe linked to neuronal dysregulation.

By bioengineering different neural organoids and innervated cardiac muscle from human induced pluripotent stem cells, Dr. Zafeiriou’s group is able to study neuronal development and network dynamics in healthy and diseased tissues. This might offer the possibility to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration, infantile epilepsy and sudden cardiac death under epilepsy.

Zafeiriou Group

1997 – 2002 | Undergraduate studies in Chemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
2002 | Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Chemistry/Biochemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Prof. Siafaka‐Kapadai)
2004 | Master of Science (MSc) in Biochemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Prof. Siafaka-Kapadai)
2008 | Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biochemisty, Center of Exp. Gynecology & Eicosanoid research, Charité, Berlin (Prof. Dr. mult. Santosh Nigam) and Biochemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Prof. Siafaka‐ Kapadai)
2008 – 2010 | Post doctoral fellow, Experimental Cardiology, Max Delbrück Center (MDC), Berlin‐Buch, Germany
2010 ‐ 2019 | Post doctoral fellow, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany
Since 2019 | Application Specialist “Stem cells and organoids” in the cluster of excellence “Multiscale Bioimaging: from molecular machines to electrically excitable cells”, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany
Since 2020 | Group leader “3D networks of electrically excitable cells”, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany

Our second Microscopy panel speaker – Dr. Christophe Leterrier!

Dr. Christophe Leterrier is the group leader of the NeuroCyto Lab in the Neuropathophysiology Institute (INP, CNRS-Aix Marseille University) in Marseille, France.

Dr. Leterrier studied Engineering in Physics and Chemistry and received his PhD afterwards in Neuroscience from the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. He worked as a post-doc in Marseille in the team of Dr. Bénédicte Dargent and subsequently became a tenured CNRS researcher.

Since 2017 Dr. Leterrier is leading the NeuroCyto lab, applying super-resolution microscopy techniques such as STORM & DNA-PAINT to decipher the molecular organization of neurons and how different processes such as intraneuronal protein transport and maintenance of the cytoskeleton lead to segregation into the typical compartments (axons, synapses, dendritic spines), culminating in the complex arborization and unique functions of neurons.

NeuroCyto Lab

1998 – 2002 | Engineering diploma from Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Engineering School (ESPCI), Paris, France
2001 – 2002 | M. Sc in Biology (DEA “Molecular Biology of the Cell”), Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
2002 – 2006 | PhD student at the Neurobiology and cellular diversity laboratory (ESPCI-CNRS) in the team of Zsolt Lenkei, Paris. PhD in Neuroscience from Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
2006 – 2011 | Post-doctoral researcher at the Ionic Channels laboratory (INSERM), in the team of Bénédicte Dargent, Marseille, France
2012 – 2016 | Researcher at the Neurobiology and Neurophysiology Marseille Center (CRN2M CNRS-AMU) in the “Axonal Domain Architecture” team (Bénédicte Dargent), Marseille, France
2017 – present | Group leader of the “NeuroCyto: the neuronal cytoskeleton in health and disease” team, Institute of Neurophysiopathology (INP CNRS-AMU), Marseille, France

Our Neurodevelopment panel keynote speaker – Dr. Julia Ladewig!

After Julia Ladewig completed her studies in Biology (with distinction; 1,0*) in 2003 she spent one year abroad at the Imperial College in London where she obtained a Master of Science in Medical Ethics. Following her studies, she joined the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, University of Bonn, Germany by the end of 2004 as a Junior Research Fellow.

Finalizing her doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat., Magna Cum Laude) in 2009 she continued her scientific career in Bonn as a Postdoc. In 2014, she was awarded with an independent junior research group. In 2018, she received a Group Leader position at the Hector Institute of translational Brain Research (HITBR) at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim. Dr. Ladewig is experienced in the cultivation of pluripotent stem cells, the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, neural differentiation including cerebral organoid generation, stem cell engineering, neuronal physiology, direct neuronal conversion, stem cell-based brain regeneration and the modelling of neurodevelopmental, degenerative and psychiatric disorders.

Major achievements include a lineage selection for young neurons, the assessment of neuronal migration and integration, direct conversion of somatic cells into neurons and cerebral organoid-based models for human malformation of cortical development.

Dr. Julia Ladewig

2003 | Diploma in Biology, University of Bielefeld, Germany
2004 | Master of Science in Medical Ethics, Imperial College London, UK
2009 | PhD in Neuroscience, Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, University of Bonn, Germany (Supervisor: Prof. Oliver Brüstle) (1,0 Magna Cum Laude)
2009 – 2011 | Postdoc, Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, University of Bonn, Germany
2012 – 2013 | BONFOR Research Group Leader, University of Bonn, Germany
2014 – 2018 | Independent Junior Group Leader, Neural Development Group
Since 2018 | Group Leader, Developmental Brain Pathologies, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg/Medical Faculty Mannheim, Germany and Hector Institute for Translational Brain Research

Our second Neurodevelopment panel speaker – Prof. Britta Eickholt!

Britta Eickholt is a Professor for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Charité – University Medicine Berlin. After a PhD in Biochemistry from Guy’s Hospital / King’s College London in 1998, she carried out a postdoc at the MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology in London. This is also where she started her own laboratory in 2001.

The research in the Eickholt lab broadly focuses on the cellular mechanism controlling the development, maturation and maintenance of neurons and astrocytes in the brain. Her lab uses a multidisciplinary approach to understand how neurons and astrocyte establish and modify their complex shapes in the healthy brain and during disease or injury. Her main expertise centers on spatial and temporal control of signaling events and cytoskeleton dynamics.

Eickholt Lab

1988 – 1989 | Biology Studies Heinreich Heine University, Düsseldorf
1989 – 1993 | Biology Eberhard Karls University Tübingen
1993 – 1994 | Diploma Thesis, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology Tübingen
1995 – 1998 | PhD, Biochemistry (Advisor: Prof. Pat Doherty), Guy’s Hospital, United Medical and Dental School, London
1998 – 2000 | Postdoctoral researcher (Advisor: Prof. Pat Doherty), Molecular Neurobiology Group, King’s College London
2000 – 2001 | Research fellowship, King’s College London, Insurgency Research Group (IRG)
2001 – 2005 | Lecturer, King’s College London
2005 – 2010 | Senior lecturer, King’s College London
2001 – 2011 | Principal Investigator, MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College London
2010 – 2011 | Professor, Molecular Neurobiology, Biomedical School, Department of Anatomy and Human Sciences, King’s College London
Since 2011 | Professor (W3), Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Charité

Our third Microscopy panel speaker –
Dr. Benjamin H. Cooper!

Dr. Benjamin H. Cooper is a Project Group Leader in the Department of Molecular Neurobiology at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen, Germany. His research is focused on understanding the molecular and structural mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission and plasticity in the brain, with a particular emphasis on presynaptic proteins, ultrastructure, and morphological correlates of synaptic vesicle priming.

Dr. Cooper has extensive expertise in imaging and electron microscopy including high-pressure freezing (HPF) and electron tomography (ET), which are critical techniques for studying the ultrastructure of cells and tissues at high resolution. His work has provided new insights into the ultrastructure of synapses and other cellular structures involved in synaptic transmission.

For example, his work has revealed new details about the organization of presynaptic proteins, the structure of synaptic vesicles, and the morphology of active zones, which are specialized regions of the presynaptic membrane where neurotransmitter release occurs.

Benjamin Cooper

2002 – 2003 | M.Sc./PhD studies, Neuroscience Program / IMPRS, University of Göttingen, Germany
2003 – 2007 | Degree: Doctoral studies Neuroscience Program / IMPRS, University of Göttingen, Germany. Ph.D. Thesis title “Membrane glycoprotein M6a: expression and regulation by stress in the brain”. Doctoral work performed at the German Primate Center, Laboratory of Clinical Neurobiology (Laboratory Head, Prof. E. Fuchs; Supervisor, Prof. G. Flügge)
2007 – 2017 | Post-Doctoral Researcher Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany
Since 2017 | Project Group Leader Position made permanent since March 31st, 2020. Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Natural Sciences, City Campus Göttingen, Germany