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“Electron microscopy and tomography open a molecular window for understanding disease”
Professor Achilleas Frangakis
Goethe University, Frankfurt
[Host: Prof Edward Sturrock]
Achilleas Frangakis is the Director of the Centre for Electron Microscopy at the Goethe University, Frankfurt. He obtained his PhD from the Technical University of Munich and went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at California Institute of Technology with Stephen Mayo. In 2004 he returned to Germany and took up a position at the EMBL, Heidelberg and in 2008 he was promoted to Professor of Electron Microscopy and Tomography at the Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS). He has received several honours and awards and has published his work in top international journals such as Nature, Science, Proceedings National Academy of Sciences U S A and Nature Cell Biology.
His research interests are largely focused on medically pertinent issues -also relevant for Africa- which can be successfully addressed by electron tomography. His work seeks to understand the macromolecular supra-organization in the nucleus; in particular the RNA biology of African trypanosomes. The adhesion/infection process of mycoplasma, infection of which causes fatality in HIV/AIDS patients, is also of particular interest to him. Since the beginning of his career he has been working on the development of cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET). This technology, which has undergone spectacular development recently, can capture 4D images at molecular resolution that contain an unprecedented wealth of information, providing a unique platform to answer the medical questions addressed in his research.