Research

In the Briegel lab, we are interested in understanding how microbes sense and respond to their environment. How are the cells able to actively seek out their preferred environmental niches, how can they effectively evade toxins and predators, and how can they adapt to thrive in changing environments?

In order to gain insight into the structure and function of the molecular complexes involved in these behaviors, we use electron cryotomography (ECT). This technique allows us to directly study microbes in their native state at resolutions capable of visualizing individual proteins. Research areas View publicationsCollaborators
research

People

Ariane Briegel

Professor

As part of Briegel’s masters studies in biology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, she received in-depth training in traditional electron microscopy techniques. For her doctoral thesis, Briegel joined the laboratory of Wolfgang Baumeister in Martinsried, Germany. As a PhD student she investigated the structure and function of prokaryotic macromolecular complexes in situ. After completing her PhD, Ariane Briegel joined the laboratory of Professor Grant Jensen at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA) as a postdoctoral fellow, where she continued her research in electron cryotomography as a tool for understanding microbial ultrastructure.

Wen Yang

Graduate Student

I have an interdisciplinary educational background including a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. Nevertheless,...

Wen Yang

Graduate Student

I have an interdisciplinary educational background including a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. Nevertheless, in recent years I have been involved in a series of research projects with a shared focus within life science and biology, from pharmacodynamics studies aiming for target drug release to revealing the molecular mechanism of functional amyloid polymerization in bacteria. In the past two years my primary research focus has been on the “structure and assembly of functional amyloids.” Through this research I have come to realize how exciting, yet challenging, it is to reveal the structure and function of proteins, because this can not be accomplished without a complex set of expertise and techniques and through extensive collaboration across various disciplines.

Eveline Ultee

Student

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Eveline Ultee

Student

Equipment

Electron Tomography (ECT) Cellular electron cryotomography allows the study of individual microbial cells in their native state and in three dimensions at macromolecular resolutions. Our experiments rely on highly sophisticated and specialised equipment. We have access to the electron microscopes at the NeCEN, the dutch cryo-electron microscopy center located in the Biology Institute of the Leiden University. The available instruments include 2 TITAN Krios microscopes with state-of-the-art equipment for highest quality data collection, as well as a fully equipped sample preparation laboratory.
microscope
location

Location

Leiden is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland. The municipality of Leiden has a population of 122,565, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with around 190,000 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Old Rhine, at a distance of some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from The Hague to its south and some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Amsterdam to its north. The recreational area of the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) lies just to the northeast of Leiden.