Dr. Fabian Kohler
Technische Universität München
Can you explain your research within Virofight in 2 sentences?
I acquire electron microscopy images and reconstruct 3D models of the DNA origami virus-traps and its building blocks. With this visual feedback we evaluate if they look and function as intended and further improve the designs.
What do your friends and family think of what you are doing in the lab?
Some of my friends think that I build nanites like in the Transcendence movie, some think that I just play around with liquid nitrogen.
What are you really doing? What’s your favourite/least task or method to do in the lab?
I use electron microscopy, my favorite imaging technique, to reconstruct 3D models of various types of samples, in particular DNA origami constructs, in order to investigate the shape and flexibility of the constructs. I very much enjoy sharing my knowledge, learn new techniques, and to engage in discussions with colleagues.
Which virus is the most interesting one and why?
I am fascinated by the T4 bacteriophage, a virus which infects E. coli bacteria, and its complicated very mechanical infection process. Simply put, T4 lands on the bacteria, walks around to find a suitable docking site, and pushes a syringe like needle into the host to injects its genome.
What is the major challenge in research for you?
In my opinion, sharing the knowledge and new insights with a broad and also non-scientific audience is very important. Hereby, a clear and easy to understand communication as well as acknowledging different educational backgrounds is challenging but crucial.
Cell or Nature? Nature
PC or Mac? Mac
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Why does your research matter to the general public?
In our daily life we all are affected by the current pandemic and viruses in general. We at Virofight aim to develop and provide new technologies and methods to fight these threats.
The must-follow science twitter account?
Virofight 😉 (@Virofight)
Which publication influenced you most?
Nakane, D. Kimanius, E. Lindahl, and S. H. Scheres, “Characterisation of molecular motions in cryo-EM single-particle data by multi-body refinement in RELION,” eLife, vol. 7, e36861, 2018.
What else do you like to read, except research articles?
What is your personal highlight in Virofight up to now?
In May 2022 the team was finally able to meet in person at a conference, where before only virtual meetings were possible. The presented progress, vivid discussions, and sessions on planing new projects were outstanding.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside the lab?
I love to go cycling, both single-day tours and longer trips, like cycling to a conference in Rome with some of my colleagues.
Best recent TV series or movie or novel depicting scientists?
Not novel, but still great: The Big Bang Theory