Photo of Prof Christian Soeller

Prof Christian Soeller

Chair in Physical Cell Biology


Telephone: 01392 726608

Extension: (Streatham) 6608

Vacant positions in the Biophysics and Biophotonics Laboratory
  • We are currently advertising a research fellow position (grade F) in super-resolution microscopy. The post will include optical design, computer programming, and construction of an improved imaging setup for state-of-the-art single-molecule based super-resolution microscopy. A key goal is to develop the use as a healthcare technology to screen pathology samples for nanoscale biomarkers and increase the compatibility of single molecule super-resolution imaging with thicker 3D samples. Further details and instructions how to apply are in the advertisement.
  • We offer a PhD scholarship starting in the 2015/16 academic year to work on the development of super-resolution microscopy in conjunction with microfluidics to develop new pathology technqiues for biological tissues. This scholarship is open to physics/biophysics graduates. Application is now open at this link.

Please feel free to contact Prof. Soeller via email for further information or discussion.

Research Themes

High resolution biomedical fluorescence imaging

My laboratory works in the areas of Biophotonics and Biophysics with a strong focus on imaging based methods. We use fluorescence microscopy, functional fluorescence imaging and quantitative three-dimensional image analysis and enhancement techniques. Optical super-resolution methods (STORM/PALM) play an increasingly important role in our work and we both develop new methodologies and apply super-resolution imaging to solve biological questions. Applications include the study of cellular and sub-cellular signaling in a variety of tissues with a particular emphasis on cardiac calcium handling, neuronal signaling and morphology as well as signaling and transport in other mammalian tissues.

Optical Super-resolution Imaging

Our research is strongly technology driven and adoption as well as further development of the latest imaging methods is a major thrust to enable qualitatively new insight. A current emphasis is on non-diffraction limited optical microscopy methods known as "super-resolution imaging" that promise resolution down to the nanometre level with the specificity and high contrast of fluorescent labelling. These nanometer resolution optical methods are motivated by the wish to clarify the structural and functional changes underlying biological signaling changes in various pathologies such as cardio-myopathies.

Quantiative Image Analysis and Mathematical Modelling

To investigate the quantitative biophysics of calcium signalling I also use quantiative image analysis and mathematical modeling. This work is primarily motivated by my interest in cardiac calcium dynamics and excitation-contraction coupling. The modeling studies that I conduct help elucidate sub-cellular signaling at the smallest (molecular) scales and complement the experimental research. A particular focus is placed on the calcium signaling in the cardiac dyad, a prototypical nano-domain where many proteins interact within tightly confined compartments.

Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Biophysics

All of our work is directly motivated by the goal to improve our knowledge of the biophysics and physiology of specific biological systems. The primary focus of our work is cardiac muscle with an additional interest in skeletal muscle. A unifying theme of our work is the relationship between nanoscale cell morphology and contractile function. Our staff therefore is experienced in handling cardiac and skeletal muscle tissues and cells in addition to their expertise in state-of-the-art imaging methods. We use fluorescence based techniques as described above with live and fixed muscle preparations. Our general goal is to improve our understanding of excitation-contraction coupling, i.e. the signalling and control cascades that begin with the electrical membrane excitation (action potential) and result in the calcium transient that ultimately activates the contractile machinery.

Funded Projects
  • "Developmental assembly and synthesis of membrane nano-domains for oscillating cardiac regulation", Human Frontier Science Program with Prof. Hoshijima (UCSD) and Prof. Takeshima (U Kyoto), 2013-2016, US$1,500,000
  • "The relationship of nano-structure and function of myocytes in heart failure" New Zealand Health Research Council, 2012-2015, $NZ1,090,000
  • "A new super-resolution fluorescence microscope with molecular resolution". NZ Lottery Health Research, 2011-2013, NZ$100,000
  • "Muscle fibre excitability and calcium regulation in skeletal muscle of amphibians and mammals", Australian Research Council, with Dr. Brad Launikonis (U Queensland), 2011-2013, A$340,000
  • "The structural basis of beta-adrenergic signalling in cardiac ventricular myocytes",  Auckland Medical Research Foundation, 2010-2012, NZ$100,000
  • "The new nanobiology: seeing signal transduction with greater clarity". NZ Marsden Fund 2009-2012 NZ$770,000
Invited Presentations (selected)
  • 2013. Nanoscale Biophysics of Intracellular Calcium Signalling, The Physics of Life Network. Sheffield, July 2013.
  • 2013. The sub-sarcolemmal architecture of heart failure. International Society for Heart Research Meeting, San Diego, July 2013.
  • 2012. Imaging cardiac ventricular myocytes. Combined AWBCR & QMB Symposium, Queenstown, 25 – 29 August 2012.
  • 2012. EC coupling in failure - an alignment problem. CSANZ. Brisbane, 16.-19. August 2012.
  • 2012. Localization of EC coupling proteins and local control of Ca2+. Gordon Research Conference on Cardiac Regulatory Mechanisms. New London, NH, June 10-15, 2012.
  • 2012. Cardiac E-C coupling structures and calcium handling proteins in health and disease. Gage Muscle Conference. Canberra, 18-20 April 2012.
  • 2011. “High resolution fluorescence imaging illuminates mechanisms of cardiac EC coupling”. Princesses' Lecture Symposium "Imaging - from cells to organisms". Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and St Vincent’s Hospital International Symposium, Sydney, December 2011.
  • 2011. “Understanding signalling at the nanoscale -- super-resolution fluorescence imaging of signalling domains in heart and brain cells”. Joint Taiwan - New Zealand Workshop on Nanotechnologies for bio-imaging, sensing, and diagnosis. Taipei, Taiwan, November 2011.
  • 2011. “Sub-cellular cardiac biophysics at the nanometer scale”. University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, November 2011.
  • 2011. “Practical Super-resolution imaging”. Workshop of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science. “Physicists and Biologists Working Together - Facilitating Imaging and Biophotonics”. Melbourne, October 2011.
  • 2011. “Getting the right thing in the right place in a tight space”. Symposium on ‘Ion transport targets for therapeutic leverage’. CSANZ/ISHR meeting in Perth, August 2011.
  • 2011. “Visualization of nanoscopic membrane signalling domains in ventricular myocytes”. UK Physiome Symposium, Cambridge, UK, July 2011.
  • 2011. “Illuminating subcellular calcium signalling - cardiac myocyte structure and function in health and disease”. University of Queensland, Brisbane, June 2011.
  • 2010. “Advanced imaging approaches to investigate cardiac structure and function at the nano-scale”, Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, November 2010.
  • 2010. ARPU Research Symposium on the Interface between Nano-Biology and Molecular Biology. “Visualization of nanoscopic membrane signalling domains by single molecule localization microscopy”, Kyoto, November 2010.
  • 2010. “New biomedical imaging modalities”, Queenstown Molecular Biology Meeting. Queenstown, September 2010.
  • 2010. “Obtaining insight into cardiac excitation-contraction coupling with quantitative imaging”, University of Queensland. Brisbane, August 2010.
  • 2010. “Multicolour 3D super-resolution microscopy reveals nanoscale features of cellular protein distributions”, NZ-Taiwan Symposium on Bio-nanotechnologies. Wellington, April 2010.
Industry Collaboration and Contacts

We have an ongoing relationship with Carl Zeiss Jena who bought some of our software and IP for incorporation into their commercial super-resolution microscopes. In 2011 I briefly consulted for Simula (Norway) on their planned future research programme.

Selected Publications (complete list at Google Scholar)
  • 2012. Soeller C, Baddeley D. Super-resolution imaging of EC coupling protein distribution in the heart. J Mol Cell Cardiol. doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2012.11.0042012.
  • 2012. Jayasinghe, I. D., Baddeley, D., Kong, C. H. T., Wehrens, X. H. T., Cannell, M. B., & Soeller, C. Nanoscale Organization of Junctophilin-2 and Ryanodine Receptors within Peripheral Couplings of Rat Ventricular Cardiomyocytes. Biophysical Journal, 102, L19–L21. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2012.01.034
  • 2011. D. Baddeley, D. Crossman, S. Rossberger, J. E. Cheyne, J. M. Montgomery, I. D. Jayasinghe, C. Cremer, M. B. Cannell, C. Soeller. 4D Super-Resolution Microscopy with Conventional Fluorophores and Single Wavelength Excitation in Optically Thick Cells and Tissues. PLoS ONE 6:e20645. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020645.
  • 2011. D. Baddeley, M. B. Cannell and C. Soeller. Three dimensional sub-100 nm super-resolution imaging of biological samples using a phase ramp in the objective pupil. Nano Research, 4:589–598. doi: 10.1007/s12274-12011-10115-z.
  • 2010. P. Li, W. Wei, X. Cai, C. Soeller, M.B. Cannell and A.V. Holden. Computational modelling of the initiation and development of spontaneous intracellular Ca2+ waves in ventricular myocytes. Philos Transact A, 368, 3953-65.
  • 2010. David Baddeley, Mark B. Cannell and C. Soeller. Visualisation of Localisation Microscopy Data. Microscopy & Microanalysis, 16, 64-72.
  • 2009. David Baddeley, Isuru D. Jayasinghe, Leo Lam, Sabrina Rossberger, Mark B. Cannell & Christian Soeller. Optical single channel resolution imaging of the ryanodine receptor distribution in rat cardiac myocytes. PNAS, 106, 22275-80.
  • 2009. I. D. Jayasinghe, M. B. Cannell, C. Soeller. Organization of ryanodine receptors, transverse tubules and sodium-calcium exchanger in rat myocytes. Biophysical Journal, 97, 2664-2673.
  • 2009. D. Baddeley, I. D. Jayasinghe, C. Cremer, M. B. Cannell, and C. Soeller. Light-induced dark states of organic fluochromes enable 30 nm resolution imaging in standard media. Biophysical Journal, 96, L22-24.
  • 2009. C. Soeller, Jayasinghe ID, Li P, Holden AV, Cannell MB. 3D high resolution imaging of cardiac proteins to construct models of intracellular Ca2+ signalling. Exp. Physiol. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2008.043976.
  • 2007. C. Soeller, R. Gilbert, D. Crossman, M. B. Cannell. Analysis of RyR clusters in Rat and Human Cardiac Myocytes. PNAS, 104, 14958-63.