Special exhibition for the Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin at the Long Night of Science
During this year's Long Night of Science, the Max-Planck-Zentrum für Physik und Medizin (MPZPM) presented itself with a significant special exhibition. The interest of the visitors in the interdisciplinary basic research conducted by the joint research center of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), the University Hospital Erlangen (UKER), and the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light (MPL) remained unbroken well into the night.
The research teams, led by Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, Director at MPL, specializing in Biological Optometry and serving as the spokesperson for MPZPM, and Prof. Dr. Kristian Franze, Director at FAU and MPZPM, Institute of Medical Physics and Microtissue Engineering, presented the physical approaches of their basic research in life sciences, focusing on the questions "Can nerve cells regenerate?" and "Can diseases be sensed?"
How are blood cells measured at the doctor's and what information can be derived from it? What advantages does the deformability cytometry technology developed by MPL offer compared to conventional standard methods? Visitors were able to witness the device in action and observe the measurement of a blood sample in real time. On the monitor, visitors could see individual blood cells and discern the differences between white and red blood cells.
In special exhibits, the visitors felt the difference in membrane tension of different cell types and learned how physical properties of surrounding tissue influence the growth of nerve fibres (axons) in the central nervous system. How do nerve cells know in which direction to grow, and what role does physics play in this? How is an optical tweezer used to measure membrane tension, and how does membrane tension regulate the growth of nerves during embryonic development or after spinal cord injury?
In the new MPZPM, scientists from the fields of physics, medicine and biology conduct collaborative basic research. They deal with fundamental questions about the physical properties of cells and tissues in order to gain a completely new, deeper understanding of biological processes and their pathological changes. In 2024, the MPZPM will move into its new building on the North Campus Erlangen and in the direct vicinity of the University Hospital.
Photo 1: The MPZPM stand was bustling with activity during the Long Night of the Sciences.
Photo 2: Board of Trustees member Prof. Dr. Siegfried Balleis informs himself about the progress of construction work on the new MPZPM premises (left to right: Prof. Dr. Kristian Franze, Prof. Dr. Jochen Guck, Prof. Dr. Siegfried Balleis).