150 years ago, Rudolf Virchow proposed the concept of "cellular pathology". This concept postulated that the cell is the smallest functional unit of a living organism and the origin of pathology: i.e. that malfunctions of cells lead to disease. Today, we are investigating factors causing disease on an even smaller scale, looking for culprits among the tens of thousands of different proteins encoded by the human genome. Some proteins are particularly important for cellular function, and thus disease, making them potential therapeutic targets.
These target proteins are the main research focus of the Rudolf Virchow Center and the RVZ Network. The Bio-Imaging Center, closely associated with the Rudolf Virchow Center, is developing and applying the latest imaging techniques to visualize and study these proteins. Scientists from biology, medicine, pharmacy and biophysics use a diverse array of techniques, from X-ray cristallography and single-molecule microscopy to whole-body imaging, to investigate the function of these proteins at macromolecular, cellular and systemic levels to determine their roles in causing or potentially treating diseases.