Research Groups

Giepmans group

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.

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  • Ben Giepmans Visit

    Associated Professor, Principal Investigator

    Research fields

    Cell Biology, Microscopy, Type 1 Diabetes

    Postdoctoral Fellows
    PhD Students
      • Selected Publications:
      1. de Boer P, Hoogenboom JP, Giepmans BN (2015) Correlated light and electron microscopy: ultrastructure lights up! Nat Methods 12:503-13. (pdf)
      2. Sokol E, Kramer D, Diercks GF, Kuipers J, Jonkman MF, Pas HH, Giepmans BN (2015) Large-Scale Electron Microscopy Maps of Patient Skin and Mucosa Provide Insight into Pathogenesis of Blistering Diseases. J Invest Dermatol 135:1763-70. (pdf)
      3. Ravelli RB, Kalicharan RD, Avramut MC, Sjollema KA, Pronk JW, Dijk F, Koster AJ, Visser JT, Faas FG, Giepmans BN (2013) Destruction of tissue, cells and organelles in type 1 diabetic rats presented at macromolecular resolution. Sci Rep 3:1804. (pdf)
      4. Schnell U, Kuipers J, Mueller JL, Veenstra-Algra A, Sivagnanam M, Giepmans BN (2013) Absence of cell-surface EpCAM in congenital tufting enteropathy. Hum Mol Genet 22:2566-71.  (pdf)
      5. Schnell U, Dijk F, Sjollema KA, Giepmans BN (2012) Immunolabeling artifacts and the need for live-cell imaging. Nat Methods 9:152-8. (pdf)
      6. Gaietta GM/ Giepmans BN, Deerinck TJ, Smith WB, Ngan L, Llopis J, Adams SR, Tsien RY, Ellisman MH (2006) Golgi twins in late mitosis revealed by genetically encoded tags for live cell imaging and correlated electron microscopy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103:17777-82. (pdf)
      7. Giepmans BN, Adams SR, Ellisman MH, Tsien RY (2006) The fluorescent toolbox for assessing protein location and function. Science 312:217-24.  (pdf)
      8. Giepmans BN, Deerinck TJ, Smarr BL, Jones YZ, Ellisman MH (2005) Correlated light and electron microscopic imaging of multiple endogenous proteins using Quantum dots. Nat Methods 2:743-9. (pdf)
      9. Giepmans BN, Verlaan I, Hengeveld T, Janssen H, Calafat J, Falk MM, Moolenaar WH (2001) Gap junction protein connexin-43 interacts directly with microtubules. Curr Biol 11:1364-8. (pdf)
      10. Giepmans BN, Moolenaar WH (1998) The gap junction protein connexin43 interacts with the second PDZ domain of the zona occludens-1 protein. Curr Biol 8:931-4. (pdf)
  • PhD students:
    Tjakko van Ham
    Ulrike Schnell
    Ena Sokol

  • 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.

  • 2018

    de Boer, P. (2018). Correlative microscopy reveals abnormalities in type 1 diabetes[Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


    Sokol, E. (2016). Pemphigus pathogenesis: Insights from light and electron microscopy studies [Groningen]: University of Groningen


    Schnell, U. (2012). Finding the balance: EpCaM signaling in health and disease Groningen: s.n.

  • (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.

  • Student projects:


    You can apply via this application form.

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