In Jena we are in contact with numerous scientific institutes. The main topic is life sciences and diagnostics.
At the Hans Knöll Institute with the FungiNet researchers, the focus is on fungi. For example, Aspergillus fumigatus, whose infection can lead to sepsis in some cases, will be examined in detail. The researchers believe that nanometer-sized extracellular vesicles are key to understanding the mechanism, and image their activity. In another laboratory, Candida albicans is under observation, which again is not actually harmful, but in certain constellations can upset the intestinal flora. Live experiments are used to investigate the effects and develop medication against the condition. Those are carried out in the mouse laboratory under the highest ethical standards. If new substances are developed from this research, they will be tested for purity and suitability in the laboratory of the knowledge transfer group. But to arrive at these findings, hours of microscope images often have to be evaluated for the first time. In order for this to be done automatically, there are the experts in bioinformatics, who use various data processing techniques to analyze and quantify images.
At the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (Leibniz IPHT), the focus is on life science imaging techniques. Bacteria, for example, are examined for their dangerousness, and new methods for diagnostics are developed. This can be seen in cubes for microscopy, the development of new optical fibers or the combination of infrared radiation with laser technology.
The Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC) also focuses on the nearly invisible. On the site itself, there is a greenhouse and a plant laboratory. The individual research projects focus on the surface life of individual plants as well as classical questions of plant genetics.
The Electron Microscopy Center of the University Hospital Jena (EMZ) is the place to go when conventional imaging techniques cannot uncover what needs to be seen. With its various electron microscopes, the EMZ has the equipment it needs to determine the smallest structural level, opening up completely new landscapes of microworlds.
At the same time, the development of microscopy, and how imaging techniques have evolved over the centuries from the first lenses to high-tech devices, can be seen in the historical collection of the German Optical Museum (D.O.M.). Its exhibits can still be used with due care and caution.
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