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Nikon Imaging Center: The First Five Years at Universit├Ąt Heidelberg

Press Release No. 241/2010
26 October 2010
Scientific symposium presents research findings on high-resolution light microscopy

The Nikon Imaging Center (NIC), an institution of Heidelberg University in collaboration with the Nikon company and a pilot project of the university’s Industry on Campus initiative, is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. A scientific symposium has been organised to mark the occasion. It will take place on Friday, 29 October 2010 at Heidelberg University’s BioQuant research centre. The focus will be on pioneering research findings in the biosciences and medicine based on investigations conducted with the NIC’s microscopy systems. In addition, guest speakers will be discussing the future of high-resolution light microscopy. The symposium will be opened by Prof. Dr. Thomas Rausch, Heidelberg University’s Vice Rector for Research and Structure.

The Nikon Imaging Center at Heidelberg University first opened its doors in September 2005. It was initiated by Prof. Dr. Thomas Holstein (Institute of Zoology) and Dr. Jörg Kukulies (Nikon) along the lines of a like institution at Harvard Medical School in Boston (USA). The mission of the NIC under the directorship of Dr. Ulrike Engel is to give Heidelberg researchers access to outstanding imaging procedures in the field of microscopy. For this purpose the NIC is equipped by Nikon with leading-edge microscopy systems and digital analysis technology, supported by additional equipment from renowned partners. The NIC receives funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and support from Heidelberg University’s “Cellular Networks” Cluster of Excellence. In the last five years, the NIC has become an integral part of the research infrastructure for the biosciences and medicine in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg University’s Industry on Campus initiative explores new avenues in scientific collaboration with industry. The focus is on long-term, strategically oriented projects in basic research. Situated at the university’s BioQuant research centre, the Nikon Imaging Center has over 500 users and is one of the university’s most successful public-private partnerships. According to Prof. Holstein and Dr. Kukulies, the secret of the NIC’s success is based on “an outstanding strategy, meticulous planning and unflagging commitment”. The latest development is the installation of a so-called SIM system. “Structured Illumination Microscopy” (SIM) is a technology that can delineate structures below the conventional diffraction limit for light microscopy of 200 nanometres i.e., one five-thousandth of a millimetre. “This is another logical stage in the pioneering development of the Nikon Imaging Center,” says Prof. Holstein. Seven other institutions of this kind all over the world have been established along the lines of the Heidelberg NIC.

In the framework of the symposium marking the fifth anniversary of the Nikon Imaging Center at Heidelberg University, there will be guest lectures by Prof. Dr. Heinrich Leonhardt from the Epigenetics Working Group of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and Dr. Mike Heilemann from the Institute for Biophysics and Nanosciences at Bielefeld University. They will be speaking on the latest developments in light microscopy. For more information, go to .


Prof. Dr. Thomas Holstein
Institute of Zoology
phone: +49 6221 545679

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