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Prof Christian Soeller

Chair in Physical Cell Biology


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Current PhD Opportunities for 2020

We offer several exciting PhD projects, all are fully funded scholarships. Applications close in early December (and early January). The projects involve super-resolution imaging in various ways. Please have a look at the project descriptions which also have links to the online application process.

Living Systems Institute

I have recently joined the newly openend Living Systems Institute which focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to predictive biology in health and disease. I am also the academic lead of the Biomedical Physics Group at the School of Physics and Astronomy.

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.

Selected Publications (complete and up-to-date list at Google Scholar)
  • Christian Soeller. Ryanodine receptor cluster size sets the tone in cerebral smooth muscle (2018), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 278:201814207.
  • Stefan Sassmann, Cecilia Rodrigues, Stephen W Milne, Anja Nenninger, Ellen Allwood, George R Littlejohn, Nicholas J Talbot, Christian Soeller, Brendan Davies, Patrick J Hussey, Michael J Deeks. An Immune-Responsive Cytoskeletal-Plasma Membrane Feedback Loop in Plants. (2018), Current biology : CB, 28:2136-2144.e7.
  • Vijay Rajagopal, Gregory Bass, Shouryadipta Ghosh, Hilary Hunt, Cameron Walker, Eric Hanssen, Edmund Crampin, Christian Soeller. Creating a Structurally Realistic Finite Element Geometric Model of a Cardiomyocyte to Study the Role of Cellular Architecture in Cardiomyocyte Systems Biology (2018), Journal of Visualized Experiments.
  • Matthias Hofer, Christian Soeller, Sophie Brasselet, Jacopo Bertolotti. Wide field fluorescence epi-microscopy behind a scattering medium enabled by speckle correlations (2018), Optics Express, 26:9866.
  • Tobias Lutz, Alexander H Clowsley, Ruisheng Lin, Stefano Pagliara, Lorenzo Di Michele, Christian Soeller. Versatile multiplexed super-resolution imaging of nanostructures by Quencher-Exchange-PAINT (2018), Nano Research, 78:993.
  • Isuru Jayasinghe, Alexander H Clowsley, Ruisheng Lin, Tobias Lutz, Carl Harrison, Ellen Green, David Baddeley, Lorenzo Di Michele, Christian Soeller. True Molecular Scale Visualization of Variable Clustering Properties of Ryanodine Receptors. (2018), Cell Reports, 22:557-567.
  • J Charles G Jeynes, Kalotina Geraki, Christopher Jeynes, Mi Zhaohong, Andrew A Bettiol, Eva Latorre, Lorna Wendy Harries, Christian Soeller. Nanoscale Properties of Human Telomeres Measured with a Dual Purpose X-ray Fluorescence and Super Resolution Microscopy Gold Nanoparticle Probe. (2017), ACS nano, 11:12632-12640.
  • Ross A Jones, Carl Harrison, Samantha L Eaton, Maica Llavero Hurtado, Laura C Graham, Leena Alkhammash, Oladayo A Oladiran, Andy Gale, Douglas J Lamont, Hamish Simpson, Martin W Simmen, Christian Soeller, Thomas M Wishart, Thomas H Gillingwater. Cellular and Molecular Anatomy of the Human Neuromuscular Junction (2017), Cell Reports, 21:2348-2356.
  • David J Crossman, Xin Shen, Mia Jüllig, Michelle Munro, Yufeng Hou, Martin Middleditch, Darshan Shrestha, Amy Li, Sean Lal, Cristobal G dos Remedios, David Baddeley, Peter N Ruygrok, Christian Soeller. Increased collagen within the transverse tubules in human heart failure. (2017), Cardiovascular Research, 113:879-891.
  • Lucy Goodman, David Baddeley, Wojciech Ambroziak, Clarissa L Waites, Craig C Garner, Christian Soeller, Johanna M Montgomery. N-terminal SAP97 isoforms differentially regulate synaptic structure and postsynaptic surface pools of AMPA receptors (2017), Hippocampus, 48:977.
  • Christian Soeller, Yufeng Hou, Isuru D Jayasinghe, David Baddeley, David Crossman. Correlative Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy and Confocal Microscopy. (2017), Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, NJ), 1663:205-217.
  • Ruisheng Lin, Alexander H Clowsley, Isuru D Jayasinghe, David Baddeley, Christian Soeller. Algorithmic corrections for localization microscopy with sCMOS cameras - characterisation of a computationally efficient localization approach (2017), Optics Express, 25:11701.
  • Michelle L Munro, Isuru D Jayasinghe, Qiongling Wang, Ann Quick, Wei Wang, David Baddeley, Xander H T Wehrens, Christian Soeller. Junctophilin-2 in the nanoscale organisation and functional signalling of ryanodine receptor clusters in cardiomyocytes. (2016), Journal of Cell Science, 129:4388-4398.
  • Vijay Rajagopal, Gregory Bass, Cameron G Walker, David J Crossman, Amorita Petzer, Anthony Hickey, Ivo Siekmann, Masahiko Hoshijima, Mark H Ellisman, Edmund J Crampin, Christian Soeller. Examination of the Effects of Heterogeneous Organization of RyR Clusters, Myofibrils and Mitochondria on Ca2+ Release Patterns in Cardiomyocytes (2015), PLoS computational biology, 11:e1004417.
  • Markus Sauer, Christian Soeller, Orla Hanrahan. Single-molecule localization microscopy comes of age: From concepts to biological impact (2015), Science (New York, NY), 350:699-699.