Since year 2000 my work is focused on the design and development of Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM) and its application to a wide range of studies in cell biology. Over these years we achieved nearly two orders of magnitude improvement in the SICM topographical resolution that, together with boosted imaging rate, has made it possible to resolve and follow the dynamics of membrane protein complexes in living cells (recommended by the Faculty1000):
Consecutive SICM images showing dynamics of protein complexes in the membrane overlying the equatorial subsegment of boar spermatozoon undergoing spontaneous acrosome reaction.
Subsequent combination of high-resolution SICM with fluorescence laser confocal microscopy opened up possibilities to relate localized molecular-specific fluorescence to cell membrane nanostructures such as caveoli and clathrin-coated pits, and perform live studies in clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) and the uptake of nanoparticles and viruses. SICM observations of CME in living cells have lead to a discovery of a new mechanism of CCP closure that resembles phago- or macropinocytosis at nanoscale, which has been published with highlight by the Journal of Cell Biology, also recommended by the Faculty1000.
Combined SICM topographical (top) fluorescence laser confocal (bottom) time lapse imagies of clathrin-coated pit closing with formation of actin supported membrane protrusion in Cos-7 cell transiently transfected with actin bnding protein (Abp1) – FGP.
Recently, we found a method to fabricate insulated carbon electrode inside SICM nanopipette and solved the problem of measurement-independent probe-sample distance regulation in scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM), the vital missing component since its invention in 1989. Combined SICM-SECM now allows simultaneous topographical and electrochemical imaging that opens many possibilities in physical and life sciences. For example, the mapping of sites of neurotransmitter release together with the associated changes in the cell topography that occur during exocytosis can now be performed.
PhD Studentship opportunities
Students interested to do PhD in wide range of subjects such as:
- Cell membrane transport (endocytosis of receptors and exocytosis of hormones and peptides, uptake of viruses and nanoparticles)
- Cell membrane dynamics
- Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) techniques (SICM, SECM, tip-enhanced imaging)
- Multifunctional probe design for SPM SPM
- control systems design (DSP and FPGA programming)
are encouraged to get in touch – number of projects are waiting!
Funding opportunities exist: