How does Physics help Life Sciences?

International students studied in the LARI and the MPI for Multidisciplinary Science.

[Translate to English:]

Nine participants in the International Science Camp explored the physics behind important research methods in the life sciences. The students learned first-hand from Dr. Jan Muhr at LARI, the University of Göttingen's Laboratory for Radioisotopes, how radioactive isotopes can be used to study the life processes of plants, such as the uptake of fertilizers. Biological structures can also be labeled with fluorescent dyes and detected with lasers; for example, changes in the cytoskeleton of neurons in Alzheimer's patients can be studied in detail. Another important imaging technique is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is being further developed by Professor Jens Frahm at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen. The students were amazed at the power of the algorithms that let them see real-time videos from the MRI scanner. The number is gigantic: In medical diagnostics, about 100 million examinations are carried out with magnetic resonance imaging every year – and every scanner worldwide uses the technology developed by Jens Frahm and his team. In her scientific career, physics lecturer Dr. Christina Lumme has herself used her knowledge of physics to answer biological questions. Now she convinces the participants: Physicists are indispensable in the life sciences.