I have recently taken up my new post as a group leader at EMBL Heidelberg – and I have been welcomed here very nicely by everyone. The institute’s internal news website also conducted a short interview with me about my current and future research. I think it turned out quite well – read the short version below and the full article here!
Welcome to EMBL: Robert Prevedel
Optical telescopes allow us to see stars and galaxies many light years away, yet we struggle to see within matter right here at our fingertips. Our atmosphere is almost transparent, but when light interacts with thick biological tissue, light scattering leads to blurry, low-resolution images. New group leader Robert Prevedel and his group use a range of techniques to try to overcome this problem, including multi-photon microscopy, adaptive optics, computational imaging and optical engineering – technologies that can enable us to see deep inside living tissue without the blur.
Recently our latest paper was published online in Nature Methods, and we are quite proud of this one! In our manuscript, entitled “Fast volumetric calcium imaging across multiple cortical layers using sculpted light” we demonstrate increased volumetric imaging speed of neuronal activity by tailoring the excitation volume via light sculpting. By doing so, we further extended the method of light-sculpting to the domain of scattering tissue, such as the mouse brain, and were able to simultaneously capture and analyze the dynamic activity of thousands of neurons within the majority of a so-called cortical column. Read our paper online here.
The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is one of the highest ranked scientific research organisations in the world. The Headquarters Laboratory is located in Heidelberg (Germany), with additional sites in Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Hinxton (UK) and Monterotondo (Italy).
The Application Engineer / Research Scientist will join the Prevedel group. The goal of the lab is to develop next generation, innovative optical imaging techniques to push the frontier of deep tissue microscopy. The research is geared towards direct applications in biology and neuroscience. The major task of the Application Engineer / Research Scientist will be to support the group by contributing to its research projects and laboratory management. This involves:
- Design of mechanical, optical as well as electronic components of cutting-edge, novel light microscopes to collect three-dimensional datasets inside scattering tissue.
- Construction and adaptation of custom microscopy setups for specific life science applications and imaging conditions.
- Programming and customizing computational data analysis packages including three-dimensional visualization of imaging data and analysis methods.
- Improving image acquisition workflows (e.g. hardware automation, image post-processing and analysis) and ensuring a technology watch to keep the microscopes at a cutting edge level (at the hardware and software levels).
- Working in close collaboration with biologists and neuroscientists to ensure practicality of the microscopes (e.g. custom sample mounts, sample environment control)
The Application Engineer / Research Scientist will directly participate in the group’s research projects and will be responsible for training and providing technical assistance for students and postdoctoral fellows in the group. In addition, the Application Engineer / Research Scientist will be in charge of the general lab organization that includes ordering of supplies and equipment as well as the maintenance of databases.
Qualifications and Experience
The ideal candidate should be an optical engineer or physicist (master degree or equivalent, a PhD would be an advantage) possessing advanced computer skills. The candidate should ideally have an expertise in advanced optics, imaging/spectroscopy or light microscopy, must be comfortable with complex technical equipment (including pulsed lasers) and preferably possess programming (Matlab, Python, LabView, or similar) and/or simulation skills (CAD, ZEMAX, or similar). A keen interest in biological applications of new optical technologies as well as experience in supervising students and laboratory organization would be an advantage.
The successful candidate should be able to work independently, be very well organized, reliable and enjoy working in an international team within a highly collaborative atmosphere. Excellent communication and presentation skills and fluency in English are required.
Please apply online through
We are now seeking highly motivated and talented PhD students as well as postdocs to join our interdisciplinary research team. The goal of the lab is to develop next generation, innovative optical imaging techniques to push the frontier of deep tissue microscopy. The research is geared towards direct applications in biology and neuroscience. Projects will be developed together with the candidates in the following fields depending on background and interest:
- High-speed multi-photon microscopy for functional imaging
- Hybrid optical and photoacoustic microscopy for deep tissue imaging
- Adaptive optics for high-resolution imaging inside scattering tissue
These new tools will be specifically developed for and applied to cutting-edge biomedical research question in cell biology, developmental biology and neuroscience. Our lab closely collaborates with fellow groups in the Cell Biology and Biophysics and Developmental Biology units in Heidelberg, as well as with EMBL’s Monterotondo location (Rome, Italy). More information on the research interests of the lab can be found here.
The successful candidate should have:
- A degree in physics, engineering (or a related field)
- Good background in optics, lasers and/or optical engineering
- Programming skills in MATLAB / LabView for device control and synchronization
- Expertise in microscopy and imaging is desired but not a requirement
- Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team, willingness to work outside core expertise
- An interest in biological applications of new optical technologies
- Good communication and presentation skills (Scientific English, Powerpoint)
Interested candidates should get in touch via email in order to discuss projects and the application process.
PhD candidates are required to apply to the EMBL International PhD Programme. Deadline for registration is October 19, 2015 and deadline for submission is October 26, 2015. For more information please visit: http://www.embl.de/training/eipp/application/index.html.
The past year has been quite busy, not only on the research front but also on trying to land an independent academic job. After about 5 years of postdoctoral work and successfully switching research fields I felt ready to hit the job market. So a dozen applications were sent, almost as many job talks and interviews were navigated. Fortunately, I eventually received a few offers that I then had to carefully examine and discuss with my scientific mentors and within my family. Finally, I accepted a group leader position at EMBL Heidelberg, a position I am truly excited about! I will be starting as of August 2016 and my research will focus on deep tissue microscopy and other advanced bio-imaging methods. My lab will be hosted by the Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit, with joint appointments in the Developmental Biology Unit in Heidelberg as well as the Mouse Biology Unit in Monterotondo near Rome, Italy.
I am very much looking forward to this new and challenging position. If you’re interested in more detail about my future research, check out my new group webpage.
Our recent light-field deconvolution microscopy technique was featured today on the Andor News webpage. Andor is the manufacturer of high-quality scientific (sCMOS) cameras, which we routinely use in our imaging experiment. Click here to visit the press release by Andor or read more about the LFDM technique on our group’s website. This is actually the second time our work was featured in Andor News. The press release about our previous wide-field temporal focusing method (WF-TeFo) can be found here.
A few months ago, Böhringer Ingelheim, the main sponsor of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), has announced the decision to build a new, state-of-the-art research building for the IMP over the next two years, investing over 50 million Euros in basic research (read the press release here).
Recently, the ground breaking ceremony took place at the Vienna BioCenter. During this event, as is often practice, a time-capsule was embedded into the foundation. For this time-capsule, three recent and ‘high-impact’ IMP papers were chosen by the Scientific Directorate, exemplifying the excellent and diverse research undertaken at the IMP. It is therefore a great honor that our recent light-field deconvolution microscopy (LFDM) paper was chosen for this purpose! A press release about the ceremony can be found here, and let’s hope the time-capsule will fulfill its purpose and future generations will chuckle at the state-of-the-art microscopes of our time.