Rainer Pepperkok is a Senior Scientist and Director of Scientific Core Facilities and Scientific Services at EMBL. He was a founder and is currently the scientific coordinator of the European Light Microscopy Initiative (ELMI). He has been an active member of the Euro-BioImaging interim board.
Rainer has developed quantitative microscopy-based approaches for studying membrane traffic in the early secretory pathway, with a particular focus on high-content screening approaches. These make it possible to identify proteins and networks with a role in the secretory pathway by carrying out large-scale, genome-wide functional analyses. Rainer has applied the technologies developed as part of his research to disease-related questions, including molecular mechanisms of cholesterol homeostasis, and cystic fibrosis-relevant ion channel trafficking.
Following a degree in Physics at the University of Heidelberg, Rainer carried out his PhD work at EMBL under the supervision of Wilhelm Ansorge, developing a fully automated microinjection technology and applying it to applications of cell cycle regulation and signal transduction. He received his PhD in Cell Biology at the University of Kaiserslautern in 1992. During postdoctoral work at the University of Geneva, Rainer made contributions to the understanding of vesicular coat proteins in membrane trafficking. He was among the first to use GFP technology to image membrane traffic in living cells. Rainer later headed the light microscopy laboratory at the UK’s Imperial Cancer Research Fund; now part of Cancer Research UK.
He returned to EMBL Heidelberg in 1998 to develop and head the Advanced Light Microscopy Facility and as a team leader in the Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit. He became a Senior Scientist in 2012, has headed EMBL-Heidelberg’s Core Facilities since 2014 and became Director of Scientific Core Facilities and Scientific Services in 2019.