The 15th European Microscopy Congress

Manchester Central, United Kingdom

was held on 16th - 21st September 2012

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RMS Medal for Life Sciences

The RMS Medal for Life Sciences is a new award that will be presented for the first time during emc2012.

It goes to Professor Kurt Anderson of the Beatson Institute.

Further details of the timings of the award will be available nearer the time.

The award celebrates and marks outstanding scientific achievements applying microscopy in the field of cell biology. The award is open to researchers who have run their own research lab for less than 10 years and will be awarded once every two years.

The prize is open to applicants worldwide and will take the form of a certificate and medal.

Professor Anderson's nomination read -

Kurt has been an independent group leader at the Beaton Institute since 2005, during which time he established a world--‐class imaging facility, developed a successful independent research programme exploring tumor cell migration and participated in extensive collaborations that have allowed numerous different research groups to access his state of the art microscopy.

Kurt completed his PhD on actin dynamics in cell migration under Vic Small at the University of Salzburg, where he set up the live cell imaging systems. He then completed a short post--‐doc with Rob Cross, where he combined confocal fluorescence and interference reflection microscopy to characterize vinculin adhesion dynamics in fish keratocytes.

In 2001 he was invited to set up the Light Microscopy Facility in the new Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. There, he built from scratch a world--‐class imaging facility comprising multiple confocals, spinning disk, wide--‐field, TIRF, and multi--‐photon imaging systems. As facility leader he assisted research groups in the use of advanced fluorescence imaging and analysis. In collaboration with Gunter Gerisch he published several innovative TIRF studies on the dynamics of cortical actin in Dictyostelium and a novel TIRF study on the interaction between actin filaments and the plasma membrane at the leading edge.

On the basis of his impressive achievements in Dresden, we recruited Kurt to the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research (BICR) in May of 2005. I had become Director of the BICR in 2003 and refocused the strategy to concentrate on research aimed at understanding cell movement, migration and metastasis. Kurt was a key appointment; he assumed responsibility for two groups at the BICR: the Beatson Advanced Imaging Resource (BAIR) and his own independent Tumor Cell Migration lab. This joint appointment placed him at the junction between imaging technology and its application to investigate the molecular basis of disease.

Over the past few years Kurt has been responsible for setting up a world--‐class imaging facility, where he and his team have applied techniques such as photo--‐activation, FRAP, and SHG analysis of collagen density through many collaborations. He built custom systems for photo--‐activation in TIRF and spinning--‐disk FLIM, and published one of the first studies to use FLIM--‐TIRF. In his role as facility manager he has been active in the UK light microscopy community, sponsoring the 2009 ELMI meeting and engaging with Euro--‐BioImaging as a PCS site. Our imaging facility has been called the “jewel in the crown” of the BICR by numerous external reviewers, an accolade that reflects Kurt’s commitment and skills.

In his research, Kurt has pioneered the translation of advanced fluorescence techniques from cell culture into mouse models of disease. His lab has shown for the first time that techniques such as FRAP and FLIM--‐FRET, developed to study cells on coverslips, can be used to study the sub--‐cellular dynamics of proteins in living mouse tissue. His lab used FRAP to show that eCadherin is mobilized in migrating cells and that both eCadherin and plasma membrane dynamics are dramatically different in vitro and in vivo, especially in response to anti--‐invasive therapy. More recently, his lab used FLIM--‐ FRET to show polarized activation of Rho at the tips of pancreatic cancer cells in invasive tumors, and that therapeutic intervention selectively abolished activation within the cellular tips without affecting basal Rho activation within the cell body. These studies have established a new paradigm for quantitative, molecular cell biology in vivo and highlight Kurt’s growing reputation as a world leader.

In recognition of his research achievements, Kurt was promoted to Senior Group Leader with tenure at the BICR, and was made Professor of Cell Migration at the University of Glasgow in September of 2011. The success of Kurt’s contribution to cell biology is amply illustrated by the impressive number of papers in the highest impact factor journals that he has contributed to. Kurt is absolutely indispensable for this work, and is a truly fitting recipient of this prestigious award.