"What is a physicist doing in biology and medicine?" – Jochen Guck gives the opening speech at the annual meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

On June 27th and 28th, the annual meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will take place. Professor Jochen Guck, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL), has been invited to give the keynote lecture at the opening ceremony, which will also be broadcast live.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation sponsors scientists to strengthen Germany as a science location through international research exchanges. The foundation’s overarching goal is to attract the world's best minds for a research assignment in Germany. In line with its maxim, the Humboldt Foundation’s annual meeting serves as a venue for meeting and scientific exchange among Humboldt fellows. Scientists from over 70 countries come together with their families.

"What is a physicist doing in biology and medicine?"

Jochen Guck, who is also the spokesperson for the Max-Planck- Zentrum für Physik und Medizin (MPZPM) and one of the world’s leading scientists in the field of biological optomechanics, will open this year’s annual meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with his keynote lecture. With the topic "What does a physicist do in biology and medicine?", Jochen Guck is continuing  a long success story – physics as an important source of inspiration for biology. Physicists have not only developed crucial methods such as light microscopy or X-ray diffraction that have provided fundamental insights into the functioning of cells. They have also repeatedly initiated new research directions within biology with their different perspective on matter. Erwin Schrödinger's book "What is Life?" serves as a shining example of the mutual inspiration of the two sciences. Based on physical considerations, he predicted DNA as the site of genetic information. Jochen Guck's field of research also starts at this interface. Using specially developed photonic and biophysical tools, the physicist analyses and quantifies the physical properties of cells in their interaction with their surrounding tissue. The aim is to understand the biological significance of these properties and to utilize the findings for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in medicine. Jochen Guck, who himself has been awarded a Humboldt Professorship, will provide insights into his current research projects. These include, among other things, the development of an objective diagnostic marker for Long COVID and improved diagnosis and prognosis of cancers based on the characteristically altered deformability of affected cells.

Following the lecture, Humboldt fellows from Brazil and Australia will talk to Thomas Hesse, Secretary General of the Humboldt Foundation ad interim , about their experiences during their research stay in Germany. The award ceremony, at which the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will be handing over the certificates, is another highlight of the annual conference. In the afternoon, lectures, laboratory tours, and campus tours will take place on the campus of the Technical University of Berlin.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier invites guests to a reception
At the Humboldtian Reception on 28th June in the park of Schloss Bellevue, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will honor the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's contribution to the further development of the scientific landscape in Germany. With the award of the Humboldt Professorship, Germany's most valuable research award brings top international researchers to German universities. The two Erlangen institutions – MPL and MPZPM – also benefit from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s international network and were initially awarded the first Humboldt Professorship with Vahid Sandoghdar, followed by Jochen Guck, Kristian Franze and most recently Benoit Ladoux in May 2024.

The livestream will start on 27.06.2024 at 10 a.m. on the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's website .


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