How microscopy can unlock the key to disease

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A leading international scientist will reveal how the latest techniques in microscopy - including time-lapse imaging of living cells - are leading to breakthroughs in understanding genetic and acquired diseases.

In a public lecture next Tuesday to launch the Electron Microscope Unit’s Golden Jubilee Symposium, Professor Hans Tanke, the Head of the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, will discuss his work in developing advanced imaging techniques to study cells, molecules and DNA more closely.

According to Professor Tanke, recent advancements in microscopy have allowed scientists to see how thousands of “macromolecules” cause a cell to grow, divide and do its job. “It is now possible to demonstrate genes in chromosomes and to unravel the molecular mechanisms that they control,” he says.

Professor Tanke is a widely published expert in mapping the changes and make-up of DNA and proteins. He pioneered the development of the fluorescent staining of DNA, which allows researchers to study the make-up, deterioration and growth of living cells. His research into DNA and identifying proteins is aimed at working towards the early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases through stem cell or gene therapy.

Professor Tanke is the author or co-author of more than 300 scientific papers and the inventor or co-inventor of five patents. He is a Professor of Cell Biology (Analytical Cytology) at Leiden University, has worked as a visiting professor at the universities of Bologna and Urbino (Italy) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium).

Professor Tanke is in Australia to address the “Excellence in Microscopy” Commemorative Symposium marking the Golden Jubilee of the University of Sydney’s Electron Microscope Unit. His public talk is also held in association with the Macleay Museum exhibition Small Matters: Exploring the World of Microscopy. The lecture, to be held in the Old Geology Lecture Theatre at Sydney University, will be followed by a reception in the Macleay Museum.

Event details:

What: Public lecture: Professor Hans Tanke - “Microscopy to see DNA molecules at work”, followed by a reception at the Macleay Museum and the opportunity to see Small Matters: Exploring the World of Microscopy.

When: 6pm on Tuesday, 2 December, 2008.

Where: Old Geology Lecture Theatre, Science Road, the University of Sydney (entrance near Footbridge Theatre, Parramatta Road.) Macleay Museum, Gosper Lane, the University of Sydney.

Cost: Free.


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