IGC researcher receives a grant from EMBO

21 dec 2022

Hannah Heil, a postdoc at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), has been awarded a Scientific Exchange Grant from the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). With this exchange grant, the researcher will be collaborating with renowned experts in super-resolution microscopy at the Institut Curie.

Working at the Optical Cell Biology laboratory led by Ricardo Henriques since 2021, Hannah establishes automated and intelligent super-resolution microscopy to study host-pathogen interactions, for example, during HIV infection. With this visit to the Institut Curie, scheduled for early next year, the researcher wants to gather the necessary knowledge to combine a super-resolution approach developed at the IGC – eSRRF (enhanced Super-Resolution Radial Fluctuations) – with an innovative microscopy method.

The host group co-led by Bassam Hajj, in Paris, has pioneered multi-focus microscopy systems for super-resolution imaging. This microscope can acquire up to nine different focal planes simultaneously, allowing a more accurate representation of components in living cells (single-shot volumetric imaging). The IGC researcher will be learning how to build and use these multi-focus microscopes with the developers themselves. With this insight, Hannah will explore avenues to develop a simplified open-source hardware design optimized for 3D eSRRF.

For the scientist, who had already been awarded by EMBO in 2021, this grant is “an opportunity to work with and learn from world-leading experts in multi-focus volumetric super-resolution and live-cell imaging techniques”. It will also allow her to “create connections with the vibrant research community at Institut Curie and the bioimaging community in Paris”, she adds. These EMBO grants foster new international collaborations by funding visits of up to three months for the transfer of expertise between laboratories. The selected research projects are recognized for their novelty and high quality.

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