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Confocal Microscopy at Eawag

Gesuchsteller/in Ackermann Martin
Nummer 128778
Förderungsinstrument R'EQUIP
Forschungseinrichtung Department of Environmental Sciences ETH Zurich and EAWAG
Hochschule Eidg. Anstalt für Wasserversorgung, Abwasserreinigung und Gewässerschutz - EAWAG
Hauptdisziplin Experimentelle Mikrobiologie
Beginn/Ende 01.09.2010 - 31.08.2011
Bewilligter Betrag 230'000.00
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Alle Disziplinen (6)

Disziplin
Experimentelle Mikrobiologie
Umweltforschung
Molekularbiologie
Andere Gebiete der Ingenieurwissenschaften
Zellbiologie, Zytologie
Andere Gebiete der Umweltwissenschaften

Keywords (6)

confocal microscope; aquatic research; biofilms; process engineering; microbial ecology; environmental toxicology

Lay Summary (Deutsch)

Lead
Lay summary

Herkömmliche Lichtmikroskope können nur flache – zweidimensionale – Objekte abbilden. Biologische Objekte haben aber meist eine räumliche – dreidimensionale – Ausdehnung, und das Verständnis der räumlichen Struktur ist oft essentiell für die wissenschaftliche Arbeit an biologischen Objekten. Konfokal-Mikroskope können dieses Problem lösen: ein fokussierter Laserstrahl rastert das Objekt ab, und erlaubt das Sammeln von Bildinformation von einzelnen Bildpunkten. Am Computer wird dann die Information aller Bildpunkte zusammengefasst, und zu dreidimensionalen Objekten zusammengefügt.

Unterstützt durch einen R’Equip-Grant vom SNF haben mehrere Forschungsgruppen an der Eawag ein Konfokal-Mikroskope gekauft. Das Mikroskop erlaubt den beteiligten Forschungsgruppen, an einer Reihe von neuen wissenschaftlichen Fragen im Rahmen der Forschung an aquatischen Systemen zu arbeiten, zum Beispiel: i) Bakteriengemeinschaften in der Kläranlage entfernen Stickstoff aus dem Abwasser; wie interagieren diese Bakterien miteinander? ii) viele Bakterien in natürlichen Systemen leben in dichten Aggregaten; wie sind verschiedene Bakterienarten mit verschiedenen Stoffwecheleigenschaften in diesen Matten räumlich angeordnet? iii) Spuren von chemischen Verunreinigungen in natürlichen Gewässern können Fische und andere Tiere negativ beeinflussen; wie wirken solche Verunreinigungen auf dem Nivea der einzelnen Körperzellen – und können wir den Einfluss auf das Tier extrapolieren aus der Wirkung auf die Körperzellen?


Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 21.02.2013

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Veranstaltungen zum Wissenstransfer



Selber organisiert

Titel Datum Ort
Introduction to Confocal Microscopy 21.03.2011 Eawag Dübendorf

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Abstract

Confocal microscopy has revolutionized the observation of complex biological structures. One main asset of this technology is the ability to reconstruct three-dimensional images of biological material. This allowed a new perspective on a number of biological structures, for example microbial communities - microbial aggregates such as activated sludge flocs, granules, or biofilms - and living eukaryotic cells. Confocal microscopy is becoming an essential tool for several research groups at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. There are currently two main applications for confocal microscopy at Eawag. First, several groups study processes in bacterial biofilm communities by means of confocal microscopy. Second, confocal microscopy is an important technology for research on ecotoxicology: processes in living cells can be analyzed, and responses to environmental conditions monitored. Microbial ecology, engineering and ecotoxicology are important research areas for Eawag, and confocal microscopy is thus becoming a key technology for this institute. Several Eawag groups have decided to join forces and to establish a shared facility for confocal microscopy. So far, these groups had to use confocal microscopes at external research institutes, and this fact has constrained the types of scientific questions that could be addressed. Local access to a confocal microscope will open a range of new scientific possibilities: The most important new opportunity is long-term observation of living biological samples under varying conditions. Such long-term observations will give new insights into the temporal dynamics during the development of biofilms, and of eukaryotic cells exposed to chemical stressors. A second advantage of having confocal microscopy at Eawag is that it will contribute towards forming bridges between fundamental research and applications: we are submitting several projects on microbial biofilms, ranging from fundamental studies on the role of heterogeneous gene expression to applied projects on processes in biofilms inside microbial fuel cells. Novel insights that emerge from fundamental research can thus directly feed into new types of applications. Third, this equipment will foster collaborative between groups at Eawag, and also between Eawag and other Swiss research institutions. The core of our proposal consists of nine individual projects that center around two main themes. Six projects investigate processes in bacterial biofilms; biofilms have been recognized as one of the most important forms of environmental microbial communities. Understanding the role of bacterial communities in natural and engineered systems, and the potential health risk emerging from such communities, critically depends on understanding structure of and processes in biofilms. Three other projects use confocal microscopy to investigate responses of eukaryotic cells to diverse chemical stressors, including nanoparticles, and thus address important emerging questions in environmental toxicology. These projects thus span a wide range from fundamental to applied research, and they are only possible through collaboration of researchers with complementary expertise. Most of the applicants are young group leaders at a critical stage of their careers. Local access to a confocal microscope will allow these researchers to form a productive collaborative network, to approach new types of important research questions, and to contribute towards strengthening Eawag’s profile as a leading institution for research in fundamental and applied environmental sciences.
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