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Acting head for ER-C-3

Dr. Carsten Sachse was appointed acting head of Structural Biology (ER-C 3) at the Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons on 1 September 2017.

Researchers of the ER-C-3 use and develop electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) methods to study the structures of autophagy complexes in an effort to elucidate the mechanisms by which cells eliminate large structures such as organelles, pathogens and protein aggregates. On October 4th 2017, three pioneers of the technique of cryo-EM Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson have been awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry. Cryo-EM has delivered a plenitude of near-atomic resolution structures in particular in the past five years and has become a routine method for studying large macromolecular assemblies. However, to fully realize the potential of the technique, further hardware-based improvements and software enhancements will still be required in the future to extend the repertoire of specimens amenable to the method and to visualize them at higher resolution. For the last 8 years, Carsten Sachse has been a Group Leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. The Sachse group developed software for single-particle helical image reconstruction and map interpretation methods to elucidate the atomic structures of regular biological assemblies. In the context of the Ernst-Ruska Centre, Carsten Sachse and his team will be developing new and better approaches for sample preparation, data collection and processing, which can be applied more generally in the challenging research on atomic-resolution macromolecular structure determination. These advances will be applied to investigate the molecular structures involved in autophagy as they provide fundamental insights for our understanding of aberrant cellular processes like cancer, ageing or infection.