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About Our Group

Much insight into biological function has come from the development of new biophysical techniques and instrumentation development. Essential to the development of techniques with significant impact has been that the driving force is an important specific biological question.

After a formal training in physics, I directed my own interest towards biophysics and chose to study the function of the visual pigment rhodopsin. After light absorption intramolecular charge movements give rise to a major conformational change that allows activation of an enzymatic cascade inside the cell, eventually leading to a change in the rate of neurotransmitter release. I developed a new method to spread the native membranes containing rhodopsin on a filter (1) such that direction electrical measurements could be made and the charge movement could be characterized (3-5).

Fascinated by exploring cellular and molecular mechanisms in biology using biophysical methods, I had the privilege to work as a post-doc with Erwin Neher in 1984/85. In his lab I learned patch clamping and worked on secretory cells (6-10) to determine if ion channels play a role in stimulation of histamine release from mast cells, I developed a novel patch-clamp configuration which we named “slow whole cell” where electrical access to the cell was not by patch disruption but by creating small pores in the patch under the pipette such that the biochemistry inside was minimally disturbed (6). This was the basis of what is now called “permeabilized patch” recordings.

Example of patch amperometry developed by M. Lindau's research group to study the physical properties of hormonal releasing cells.