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ILM – Cell biology, molecular biology, histology

The ILM uses cell biology, molecular biology and histological methods to investigate the effects of photosensitisers and laser irradiation on cells and tissues.

Fluorescence images of breast cancer cells (stably transfected with EYPF-Mem; reflected light (left) and total reflection microscopy (right)). © ILM

At the ILM, four laboratories containing state-of-the-art equipment (including S1 approval that allows work with genetically modified cell lines) are available for carrying out cell-, molecular biology and histological investigations. The ILM scientists have long-standing experience in the handling of established cell lines and primary cultures as well as in the application of many molecular biology methods and a broad range of histological staining techniques.

Phototoxicity of a photosensitiser in a human glioblastoma cell line in dependence from the irradiation wave length (quantification using a neutral red assay) © ILM
Cell biology

The ILM's major cell biology investigations involve the quantification of the phototoxicity of different substances (primarily photosensitisers, dyes) used in photodynamic therapy, as well as the investigation of cellular mechanisms of action such as those that trigger cell death following light irradiation.

Another major priority of the ILM's cell biology investigations is the selection, establishment and validation of suitable test systems for a broad range of issues that are dealt with at the ILM as part of publicly funded projects or contract research on behalf of industry. One example of this work is the establishment of stable transfectants for the validation of an innovative screening method for cellular surfaces.

Molecular biology

The molecular biology methods were established in order to enable the ILM to investigate the mechanisms of action and the mechanisms of damage of photosensitisers and laser irradiation on the DNA, RNA and protein level. Besides investigations into the expression of different proteins using RT-PCR and Western blot to elucidate specific questions, the ILM also undertakes the cloning of the vectors (plasmids) required for these purposes.


Histological investigations can be used to visualise and semi-quantitatively detect damage that is/can be caused through the energy impact of laser irradiation in tissue. The spectrum of established histological methods comprises:

  • Soft tissue histology (paraffin- and frozen sections)
  • Hard tissue histology (thin sections)
  • Immunohistology


Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/ilm-cell-biology-molecular-biology-histology