Dr Donald Guu works at Caesar in the group of Prof. Kaupp but also spends a lot of time at the LIMES institute collaborating with Thomas Quast from AG Kolanus. Here, he answered some of our questions.
In short, what is your research project about?
Our goal is to decouple the mechanisms used by immune cells to sense chemokine gradients. We analyze this question by means of optical microscopy and microfluidics.
Where did you work before joining the ImmunoSensation Cluster?
After studying Physics at the University of Leipzig and completing my Master’s in Biomedical Engineering in Aachen, I went to the Helmholtz Research Center in Juelich for my PhD. At the Institute of Complex Systems I worked on Soft-Matter Physics and studied the phase behavior of colloidal particles under equilibrium and the influence of shear flow.
What made you come to Bonn and what do you like about it?
I was part of an interdisciplinary Graduate School at the research center in Juelich; called Biosoft. The program exposed all graduate students to the different methods and fundamentals of the whole range of natural sciences (Biology, Physical Chemistry and Physics). This inspired me to apply my physics training to biological questions.
The ImmunoSensation Cluster is a thriving center where interdisciplinary groups work together. As a physicist working in a biological lab I first had to get used to simple things like cell culture. I realized how different working in biology can be from working in physics. For example, in physics you would typically simplify problems by use of approximations and dimensionless numbers. But biological systems are very complex and there are many variables you simply cannot control. That can be a bit frustrating sometimes but it’s still exciting and I really enjoy it.
What do you do when you are not in the lab?
I read a lot, take part in voluntary teaching in my local community and do a bit of social work with the asylum seekers in my neighborhood.