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Ehler Group

Research interests

We want to find out how the cytoarchitecture of heart cells is put together during embryonic development, how it is changed in heart disease and which signalling molecules play a role in this process. One of the main focus areas in the lab is confocal imaging.

From heart tissue...

1Embheart

Confocal micrograph of immunostained embryonic heart tissue


Embryonic heart tissue, where the myofibrils are stained in green, the microtubules are stained in red and the nuclei are stained in blue. Two dividing cardiomyocytes can be seen in the top right hand corner of the image, where the myofibrils have been disassembled.

...to freshly isolated heart cells...

2ARCReal

Confocal micrograph of immunostained freshly isolated heart cell


Freshly isolated adult heart cell showing the typical rod-like shape and the extremely ordered cytoskeleton, nuclei are shown in blue and cross-striated myofibrils in green (MyBP-C) and red (alpha-actinin).

...to heart cells in culture...

3NRCReal

Confocal micrograph of heart cells in culture


Heart cells in culture retain their regular cytoskeleton to a certain extent and continue to beat. The actin cytoskeleton was stained in red, the myofibrils in green (MyBP-C) and blue (sarcomeric myosin heavy chain).

...to the diseased heart!

4Ehlersection

Confocal micrograph of immunostained tissue from a dilated cardiomyopathy


The intercalated discs (specialised type of cell contacts) are altered in their composition and ultrastructure in dilated cardiomyopathy (i.e. a ballooned heart), while the myofibrils appear unchanged (intercalated discs shown in green, myofibrils shown in red).

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