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Fluorescence is a physical phenomenon in which a compound absorbs light and re-emits this as light of a usually higher wavelength. Since the excitation light source and the emitted fluorescence can be separated very well, we can detect fluorescence with very high sensitivity, making it even possible to visualize single molecules. Many different fluorescent probes for cellular components have been developed, including purely genetically encoded ones like the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). For these reasons, fluorescence microscopy is a very powerful tool in Cell Biology research.
Nico Stuurman grew up in the Netherlands and studied Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam. He obtained a Ph.D. in Cell Biology at the same University in 1991, based on his studies of the nuclear matrix with Dr. Roel van Driel.
He then studied the structure and function of nuclear lamins in Drosophila as a post-doc, first with Paul Fisher at SUNY Stony Brook, and then with Ueli Aebi at the BioZentrum in Basel, Switzerland.
Nico was a staff scientist at the University of Leiden from 1997-2001 and then joined the laboratory of Ron Vale at the University of California San Francisco where he combines his interest in computer programming and microscopy in various projects including the Open Source software Micro-Manager http://micro-manager.org .
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