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Andy Sombke

Electron microscopy & functional ultrastructure

In the dynamic landscape of cell biology, understanding the complex details of functional ultrastructure is crucial for unraveling cellular processes. Our primary objective is to provide a comprehensive understanding of cellular dynamics by employing electron microscopic techniques to explore cells and tissues.

In addition to collaborative biomedical projects, our research explores various facets of arthropod anatomy, including the cellular organization and variability of epidermal and venom glands, the anatomy of the respiratory system, and the intricacies of sensory organs and primary processing centers within the arthropod nervous system. Centipedes (Chilopoda) exhibit venomous forcipules and evolutionarily innovative appendages, with the last pair of legs being particularly transformed in many species. In various centipede species, these ultimate legs exhibit distinctive morphologies and serve diverse functions like claw-like structures used for physical defense, sensory appendages resembling reverse antenna or aggregates of epidermal glands, transforming the leg into a predominantly glandular organ.

These insights not only contribute to our fundamental biological knowledge but also hold promising applications in the biomedical field. To analyze centipede anatomy, morphology, evolutionary transformations, and functional ultrastructures, we employ multimodal microscopic techniques, with a special emphasis on transmission electron microscopy.