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An ocean of droplets

Small dots. Some in bright yellow.
Bacterial cells embedded in microfluidic droplets in oil. The fluorescence indicates the presence of the targeted bacterial strain with the help of a characteristic DNA sequence. Credit: Tobias Wenzel/EMBL

The aim of EMBL’s research is to achieve a fundamental understanding of biological processes. Tobias Wenzel, a postdoc in the Merten Group at EMBL Heidelberg, is trying to solve some of these fundamental questions. He’s studying single bacterial cells from a gut microbiome sample, which are shown in this Picture of the Week.

The bacterial cells are embedded in microfluidic droplets in oil. The fluorescence indicates the presence of the targeted bacterial strain with the help of a characteristic DNA sequence.

The Merten group is continuously developing new microfluidic chips – palm-sized devices that are used to carry out experiments by manipulating extremely small quantities of liquid. The group also develops detection systems and software for the discovery of new drugs and antibodies. They use microfluidic technology to identify personalised drug cocktails for cancer therapies.

The images were captured on a Nikon Microscope Ti-E.

Credit: Tobias Wenzel/EMBL

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Tags: DNA, Merten, microbiome, microfluidics

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Picture of the week

The nucleus of this cell fluoresces in bright green thanks to GFP-labelled nucleoporin proteins. EMBL scientists use engineered nucleoporins as 3D reference standards to improve super-resolution microscopy.

By  Ivy Kupec

Microscopic image of a cell, nucleus visible in bright green, cell membrane stained with a purple dye against black background.

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