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Danzl Group

High-Resolution Optical Imaging for Biology

How can we decode the molecular architecture of biological systems? How can we analyze living cells and tissues at the required nanoscale spatial resolution? The central aim of the Danzl lab, an interdisciplinary team of physicists, biologist, and neuroscientists, is to shed light on problems of biological and ultimately also medical relevance by developing and using a set of advanced light microscopy tools.

In conventional light microscopy, spatial resolution is limited by diffraction of light waves to about half the wavelength of light, or 200 nm. The Danzl group thus explores and extends the possibilities of diffraction-unlimited methods. These enable resolution of tens of nanometers, allowing them to capture a wealth of details of biological specimens. Analyzing living cells and tissues at high spatial and temporal resolution in a minimally perturbative way poses additional challenges. To this end, the group works toward the development of novel imaging approaches, building on their expertise both in fundamental physics and in high-resolution imaging. They integrate the imaging with state-of-the-art technologies to manipulate cells and tissues, and also to label them.


Current Projects

Deep-tissue nanoscale imaging | Minimally perturbing high-resolution imaging | Decoding of synapse nano-architecture | High-content analysis of tissue microarchitecture


Dunajova Z, Prats Mateu B, Radler P, Lim K, Brandis D, Velicky P, Danzl JG, Wong RW, Elgeti J, Hannezo EB, Loose M. 2023. Chiral and nematic phases of flexible active filaments. Nature Physics. 19, 1916–1926. View

Michalska JM, Lyudchik J, Velicky P, Korinkova H, Watson J, Cenameri A, Sommer CM, Amberg N, Venturino A, Roessler K, Czech T, Höftberger R, Siegert S, Novarino G, Jonas PM, Danzl JG. 2023. Imaging brain tissue architecture across millimeter to nanometer scales. Nature Biotechnology. View

Velicky P, Miguel Villalba E, Michalska JM, Lyudchik J, Wei D, Lin Z, Watson J, Troidl J, Beyer J, Ben Simon Y, Sommer CM, Jahr W, Cenameri A, Broichhagen J, Grant SGN, Jonas PM, Novarino G, Pfister H, Bickel B, Danzl JG. 2023. Dense 4D nanoscale reconstruction of living brain tissue. Nature Methods. 20, 1256–1265. View

Danzl JG, Velicky P. 2023. LIONESS enables 4D nanoscale reconstruction of living brain tissue. Nature Methods. 20(8), 1141–1142. View

Ben Simon Y, Käfer K, Velicky P, Csicsvari JL, Danzl JG, Jonas PM. 2022. A direct excitatory projection from entorhinal layer 6b neurons to the hippocampus contributes to spatial coding and memory. Nature Communications. 13, 4826. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Johann Danzl


Since 2017 Assistant Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
2012 – 2016 Postdoc, Department of NanoBiophotonics, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany
2010 – 2011 Postdoc, Institute for Experimental Physics, University of Innsbruck, Austria
2010 PhD, University of Innsbruck, Austria
2005 MD, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria

Selected Distinctions

2018 Otto-Kraupp Prize for the best medical habilitation of 2017 in Austria, Society of Physicians in Vienna
2012 – 2014 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship
2011 PhD Thesis selected as one of the four best in the years 2009 and 2010 by the AMO (Atomic, Molecular, Optical) section of the German Physical Society
2009 Liechtenstein Prize
2006 Scholarship for Intellectually Highly Gifted Persons, Rotary Club Innsbruck

Additional Information

View group website
Physics & Beyond at ISTA

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