Peeking Beneath the Surface for a Fresh Look at Nature

In two new papers, Prof. Bernd Kuhn and collaborators use novel techniques to visualize very different things: pH within protein crystals, and neurons in the cerebellum of the brain.

Though the papers were published at nearly the same time, they cover completely different projects. The protein crystal work was a rare foray into physical chemistry for Kuhn that began in 1996, when he was doing his PhD research at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany. He and his colleagues couldn’t get sufficiently high-quality data at the time, but last year they took up the project again and finally accomplished their goal of measuring the pH within a crystal.

The neuron visualization project came about later, when Kuhn was doing a postdoc at Princeton University. Some of its striking results can be seen at right.