Our goal is to better visualize how molecules, organelles and cells act in concert to organize life, and how this may be affected in diseases, with special interest in Type 1 diabetes.
Associated Professor, Principal Investigator
Cell Biology, Microscopy, Type 1 Diabetes
Tjakko van Ham
Ben Giepmans is intrigued by how biomolecules act together to control cell fate in health and disease. He is a cell biologist and molecular biochemist/ microscopist. His PhD research at The Netherlands Cancer Institute (W.H. Moolenaar; 2001) and related work in The Scripps Research Institute (CA, USA; M.M. Falk) have led to a better molecular understanding of regulation of gap junctions.
Giepmans moved to the National Center of Microscopy and Imaging Research (University of California, San Diego; M.H. Ellisman & R.Y Tsien), where he implemented several new advanced imaging techniques and probes to study protein dynamics in live cells and protein localization at high resolution. These studies have given unexpected new insights in Golgi apparatus reformation during mitosis.
He started his own research group at the department of Cell Biology, UMCG in 2007 where he also leads the UMCG microscopy & imaging center. The team develops and/or implements new imaging techniques and probes for large-scale and correlated microscopy in multiple research projects. In particular, the Giepmans lab studies the role of cell-cell contact proteins in diseases. The focus is on Islets of Langerhans to help to understand trigger(s) and potential new therapies for Type 1 diabetes.
Nanotomy.org (Large-scale electron microscopy (EM) datasets)
To facilitate or research, we develop and implement new microscopic techniques and probes for large-scale electron microscopy. The extensive datasets which are produced are suitable for open-access data sharing (nanotomy). Moreover, we develop correlated microscopy (CLEM) to study dynamics, as well as localizing targets at near-molecular resolution. Finally, we pioneer colorEM to identify multiple targets of interest at high resolution. To ensure that tools are of generic interest, we directly implement these in multiple collaborative research projects.
Our main interest is on the role of cell-cell interaction in diseases, focusing on Islets of Langerhans to help to understand trigger(s) and potential new therapies for Type 1 diabetes. Using the newly developed microscopic techniques, including the fluorescent toolbox , correlative microscopy and nanotomy, we uncovered that exocrine cells may affect endocrine beta cells. Whether these interactions are related to auto-immune destruction of beta cells is under investigation.
You can apply via this application form.