Research Groups


DFG approves new research training group for image analysis in the life sciences

8 July 2020. Modern microscopy techniques provide fascinating insights into tissues, cells and even large molecules. However, the data sets are now so large that advanced knowledge in image analysis is needed to interpret them. This will now be provided by an interdisciplinary research training group at Goethe University, located at the interface of life sciences and computer science. The project will be funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the next 4.5 years.

"Today, high-resolution images are so complex that it is becoming increasingly difficult to effectively evaluate the information hidden in them," explains Achilleas Frangakis, an expert in electron microscopy at the BMLS and the Institute of Biophysics. Together with Ernst Stelzer, who established light-sheet microscopy at the BMLS and the Institute of Physical Biology, he now hopes to offer doctoral students from biology, physics and computer science a targeted research training that will provide them with knowledge in both microscopy and computer science.

Currently, computer scientists and physicists who develop algorithms for image analysis only acquire knowledge in the life sciences towards the end of their training. Frangakis and Stelzer, who are both physicists, have taken this path themselves. "Biologists, on the other hand, lack data processing skills," said Stelzer. "They are not aware of relevant developments and cannot use advanced technologies independently."

In the "Interfacing image analysis and molecular life sciences" graduate college, the doctoral students will learn how to optimise the design, construction and automated application of modern microscopy techniques in multidisciplinary work. Goethe University has numerous techniques at its disposal with which it covers a wide range of temporal and spatial resolutions: cryo-electron tomography, high-resolution and light-disc-based fluorescence microscopy, Raman microscopy and multiphoton microscopy. In the graduate college, the doctoral students will learn to examine the large data sets with modern algorithms. It is also planned to implement algorithms for semi-autonomous image analysis and interpretation on supercomputers.


Achilleas Frangakis, Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences and Institute of Biophysics, Goethe University Frankfurt, achilleas.frangakis(at)

Ernst Stelzer, Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences and Institute of Physical Biology, Goethe University Frankfurt ernst.stelzer(at)

Riedberg Campus, Frankfurt/Main, Germany