Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kruss, Physical Chemistry II, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Sebastian Kruss

Research Programme:

Neurotransmitters are used by neurons to exchange and integrate information (chemical neurotransmission). However, up to date it is difficult to directly detect neurotransmitter release. We have recently pioneered near infrared fluorescent nanosensors to image neurotransmitter release from cells with extremely high spatial and temporal resolution. Using this method we were able to detect hotspots of dopamine release from primary dopaminergic neurons, which sheds light on exocytosis as well as plasticity and heterogeneity of release sites.

In a similar way immune cells process chemical information from their environment to identify foreign motifs. Therefore, for a long time there has been speculation about similarities between the neuronal and the immune system. Interestingly, there is increasing evidence that neurotransmitters such as dopamine play a crucial role in the immune system. However, so far it is difficult to resolve and prove neurotransmitter signalling between immune cells because release most likely happens fast and in complex spatiotemporal release patterns. In our research group we work on:

  • Novel imaging techniques and especially the development of novel near infrared nanosensors for the detection of neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonine,…)
  • High resolution imaging of neurotransmitter release from neurons, immune cells and platelets to understand how information is integrated in single cells and cell networks