DFG Major Research Instrumentation: Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope

Project: DFG ProjectsDFG Major Research Instrumentation

Project Details


A confocal laser scanning microscope will help the university with the investigation of neuroscientific questions. It will enable imaging experiments that currently cannot be performed, especially for researchers working on neurobiological circuits and the interactions of different neural cell types at the interfaces between the periphery and the CNS.
Since the applicants all work at the university`s neuroscientific research building, there are optimal conditions for accessibility and use of the instrument. The microscope will replace a 15-year-old confocal microscope at the same location. The proposed microscope will be able to image very fast cellular processes such as the dynamics of the intracellular messengers Ca2+ or cAMP in three dimensions. In addition, different cell markers will be detected in the same sample and quantitative analyses of specific brain structures, e.g. blood vessels, will be carried out with high throughput. The interfaces being studied include cells of the vascular system, specialised glial cells that form part of the blood-brain barrier, and neurons that process peripheral signals such as nociceptive stimuli or hormones. Various research questions dealing with the interaction of peripheral and central signals will be answered with the help of the microscope. For the planned experiments, the microscope must have optimised excitation and emission techniques and reliably distinguish fluorophores with similar fluorescence spectra. Together with a sensitive detection system, this is a big step towards specific signal detection with high sensitivity. Fast imaging is important, firstly to temporally resolve three-dimensional cellular processes in the seconds range, and secondly to enable a high sample throughput with very good spatial resolution. The planned quantitative analyses of many preparations are only possible with high-throughput imaging, and this in turn can only be achieved with high speed. In addition to the sensitivity of the sensors, the scanning speed plays a decisive role in the time required for image acquisition. The microscope we are applying for has a scanning frequency in the kHz range and is thus ideally suited for high-throughput imaging of three-dimensional samples and rapid imaging of dynamic processes in living cells. Overall, we will use the proposed confocal microscope to investigate the subcellular dynamics of CNS cells and to perform high-throughput imaging, ultimately to find new mechanisms and correlations in neurophysiology and neurological diseases.
Effective start/end date01.01.23 → …

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

Funding Institution

  • DFG: German Research Association