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About David Grünwald

David Grünwald, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology & the RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

My biological research interests lie in the function of the cell nucleus and its communication with the cytoplasm of the cell. The interplay of nuclear structure with RNA and other nuclear products such as ribosomes, nuclear speckles or nucleoli is largely unknown today. However, several disease and viral latency are directly linked to nuclear structure and nucleocytoplasmic transport.

Walking a career path integrated between biomedical sciences, physical chemistry, physics and engineering, my ambition is to essentially reproduce the biochemical and physical reactions elucidated in the test tube directly in the cell. To do so I am pushing the envelope of fluorescent microscopy and labeling of cellular molecules. Single molecule live cell real time quantitative microscopy (SMRT) visualizes what, where, when and how fast a process is happening inside the cell. SMRT microscopy can be pushed to reproducibly detect weak fluorescent signals within a cell with sub-diffraction limited precision at high temporal acquisition frequencies. The images provided by SMRT microscopy contain ample information on the reaction kinetics, temporal dynamics and spatial location of molecular interactions that can be quantitatively measured.

In the past, using an early version of SMRT microscopy, we showed for the first time, the dynamics of mRNA transport through the nuclear pore providing the temporal and spatial binding profile of a mRNA during passage, a formerly inaccessible perspective on this fundamental process. We are now developing simultaneous 3D SMRT microscopy and related image analysis tools to eliminate a major barrier, i.e. the spatial inhomogeneity of nuclear structure, to access complex, transient molecular interactions in the cell.


Present Assistant Professor, RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI), University of Massachusetts Medical School Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • DFG Travel Award (German Research Foundation) (2008)
  • German Scholars Organization (GSO) Travel Award (2007)
  • Distinguished AECOM Travel Award (2007)
  • Poster Prize from the German Society for Cell Biology (2006)

Contact Information

UMass Medical School
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
RNA Therapeutics Institute
373 Plantation Street
Worcester, MA, 01605 USA


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