Timo Zimmermann (EMBL)

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Welcome to the Microscopists,

a Bite-sized bio podcast hosted by Peter Oto,

sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy today on the Microscopists.

Hello. Today on the Microscopist, I'm joined by Timo Zimmerman,

a very special friend, the team leader at the EMBL.

And we talk about,

actually about how an embo microscopy course changed my entire career path,

thanks to teamwork,

An embo course some years before actually changed, uh,

changed my career path completely, I would say, changed my life, this aspect.

And, um, uh, that's why, that's why for me,

this was like coming full circle.

He's recent three d reconstructions from data collected in


Volume renderings. I think, uh, I read it recently.

So this is actually done with Fiji. Uh, they,

but basically the original dataset, it also three D renderings with shadings.

I did. Then I just read them once because the shading and the,

the color scheme is now a bit better.

And has Dar Trek helped him learn English?

I did my school English paper,

that was part of my final examination on Star Trek, and I got full grades.

All in this episode are the Microscopists.

Hi. Welcome to this episode of The Microscopist.

I'm Peter Oto from the University of York,

and today I'm joined by Team O Zimmerman from EMBL. And before it go to Timmo,

I'm gonna embarrass him just a little bit. Now he's panicking. Yeah.

One of my questions for the guests. So Timmo Prera here,

I'll ask her who are their inspirations or who's been their inspiration,

and if I was ever part a guest myself, and I'll ask who's my,

who's been my inspiration in my career. One of the first names,

if not the first name, that will pop into my head is Timo.

So it is a great honor, Timo, to have you here today as a guest. So,

Timo, how are you today?

Uh, great, and thanks for having me. And actually, yeah, thanks for,

thanks for the compliment. Ah, but, uh, I don't think it's deserved.

I No, it really is. I, I remember meeting you back in 2001.

Mm-Hmm. And at that meeting you were, so, actually,

you sent me a picture of this meeting. Uh,

so I'll bring this up while we're talking about it. I can't believe,

and this is the fact, I, I only saw this picture today. It was like,

oh my goodness, this is the crowd. It was an embo course.

I'm not even sure if everyone's on there, 'cause I'm sure there was more of us.

It felt like a big crowd. It's 10 days,

six days a week course. Mm-Hmm.

Were you were the lead demonstrator on the Leica, uh,

SP two at the time.


Uh, with spectral, with AOBS starting to do frap and everything else.

And it was the way you taught and showed that there as a career in,

in helping others do microscopy, uh, and,

and the way you trusted us naively to you,

to my, uh, you know, it was, you showed there was a different path,

not just post-doctoral research. It's academic, but not academic,

if that makes sense.

Yeah. I mean, I, I remember the course very well, and, uh,

actually, first of all, I remember our discussions during the course very well,

because you were just about, uh, or you already had accepted,

I think the position and we're just embarking on this. Therefore,

I saw a lot of, uh, of similar, uh, challenges for,

for both of us. And, uh,

so I think this was really very interesting and I really

enjoyed my time at this point. I mean, I, I, I think it was, uh,

I was exactly in the kind of place I wanted to be career-wise.

And, uh, actually, I think even to, even to this day, every now and then,

because I, for example, these days, I show a lot of people around, uh, in the,

in the imaging center where I'm working now.

And I realize I'm actually still really enthusiastic about certain things.

And I'm very much in line with that. And I think if that came across, then it's,

then that's it. Yeah. I felt like that then.

It was the, your enthusiasm that that was contained. Um,

and I dunno if you remember, uh, you know,

the sessions were quite long and you'd have to go for a,

a toilet break every now and then, and you'd leave us to carry on,

use the instruments to ourselves, which is very brave.

And I'm not sure you ever came back and we hadn't crashed the system whilst

you'd gone, we were constantly crashing, get in your absence.

I dunno if you recall that.

Not even as a bad memory,

But I remember your response going, oh, guys, how did you do it?

So you were taking it almost like a learning objective of what we were doing to,

so kind of mess it up in a way that hadn't been done before. And that was, I, I,

Oliver Rock was a part of my partner being crime, a lot of this,


and Claudia Lucas probably in hysterics as we're trying to push it to its limits

and finding the limits at the time. So that, that was super cool.

So was that the first course you taught you had been a tutor on?

Exactly. And, uh, that I think made it very important for me because, um,

an EMBA course some years before actually changed, uh,

changed my career path completely, I would say changed my life in this aspect.

And, um, uh, that's why, that's why for me,

that was like coming full circle to be instructor in this course. And,

uh, especially in the first one, because it was really, I kind of arrived. Yeah.

I mean this, that's also why I sent the picture. I mean,

this is an embo course from in Lisbon, uh, in,

from 1994, so seven years before. And I was,

I'm one of the circles in the back,

but there's a lot of other people that we know together. And I mean,

at the time when yeah, when hardly remembers. But this, uh,

course exposed me to convolt microscopy at the time when it was a really,

really rare, um, uh, modality.

And it moved me from electron microscopy where I was really enjoying myself to,

to convolt microscopy. And by this really changed my career path. And,

uh, so for me, this, this was fundamental and this was one course,

one course can really, uh,

my apologies for the very fancy, uh,

illumination system that now gives my less light effects. No, it's,

it was really, this changed, uh, a lot for me.

And therefore I was super enthusiastic to actually go and be an instructor in

these courses.

And so I, I think that's quite silly guy for me. The, the course, I would say,

I would say,

I would argue that the course did change the direction of my career, which did,

so therefore it has changed my life. Uh, 'cause I, I,

I don't think I would've gone into this position necessarily.

I don't think I'd have done what I've done within that position if I hadn't seen

what was possible. And so the Evo course and Evo courses,

both of us have been really inspirational.

And I noticed one of these circles over my shoulder just here is

Rhino Pepper c**k. Is that righter on that?

I think it, I mean, he was at this course,

and I think I spoke with him correctly. It's a very small picture,

but I think that was, and first time I met him and of course,

is a extremely important person in, in my career was, and

Yeah, because, uh, not only at that point,

but in that first picture that we had, that 2001 course of course ran again,

he is on here just sort of Mm-Hmm. Yeah,

they actually set up the course with Philip Bastians. So he, you know,

these courses and the legacy of people running them and taking them forward,

it does change people's trajectories. I,

I don't think we should underplay the importance of these embo courses and other

courses and events around it,

and just how big an influence that they can have with that.

Uh, that's, that's basically it. And, uh, yeah, it's, uh,

I mean, uh, I can, if you feel like I felt about my, about this initial course,

I, I basically understand it because that's, that's what's kind of,

that's what can happen.

I'm gonna take you back. You said you did em, but let, let me go back.

Way back when you were, I know, a small child.

What is the first job that you could remember ever wanting to do?


An astronaut. I really

Wanted to be an astronaut. And I think I gave up on that only very late,

even after studying. And even after, even after the PhD. I, at some point,

I didn't follow it up anymore.

I even learned scuba diving because I thought it would be a good, uh,

let's say skill to have. So I never ruled it out. 'cause you know,

astronauts have a scientific training, so it was not, it was not impossible.


You still want to go up into space.

Um, no, I think that's, that's, that has passed. But, uh,

let's say, uh, an active research career, um, partially also, initially I was,

I very much like field work as well. Um,

but it's not the only thing. I mean,

I think I really enjoy the things I've done and keep doing now.

Um, so it's not, there's no regrets. But if you have to, if,

if you wonder what it was, I wanted to be an astronaut, it was a very,

very clear wish.


so actually my next follow up question is usually when you started your degree,

what did you want to be? And the A so I think you've answered it,

it's still an astronaut at that point. So what degree did you do?

What was your degree? What

Was your degree? Biology. Biology. Um,

but maybe again,

also saying about Lebanon or ho one can follow one's,

one's intuition or one's, one's likings.

I was involved in imaging right away. I started, and I really, uh, in, uh,

uh, I think I, it influenced me in many ways,

but from the first semester on, I, uh,

worked in the electron microscopy laboratory and, uh,

became a part of it basically at a time when nobody should be in this kind of


But I managed somehow with a very supportive professor to work

my way in. And I never left. And, uh, so I think this,

the way that I approached biology was very much influenced by,

by this all through. But in addition, of course,

I very much enjoyed some of the projects I did. Then I think by now I can, like,

I, I mean, I still can consider myself a trained biologist,

but I don't do biology anymore. I think I have to be realistic about that.

'cause it's a field that requires so much dedication and, uh,

learning continuously that this is not my field anymore. But,

No, that, that's very true, actually. And biology, yeah,

from our degree days has moved on significantly that to keep up. Oh,


But, so here's a question. You know, so you are a microscopist, I,

I think it's a good description of your skills.

You're a microscopist for life sciences predominantly.

How can you be helping users with a microscope if you don't understand their

cutting edge biological questions?

No, I think this should still be possible. Although even that's, I mean,

the fields have really moved on a lot and, um, for,

and are being transformed time and time again. I think we,

we witnessed some of these transformation,

green forest and protein polymerase chain reaction even, I mean,

I would say funda fundamentally changed the world, um,

CRISPR now. Uh,

but I think we do understand in us

to actually understand the challenge, at least the, the, the, the,

the outline of the challenge. And what then is the, I think part of my job,

part of your job is to be the interpreter between the biologist and the research

question and the instrumentation. That's how I always saw myself like to be,

to be there to connect these two parts.

I, I, I, no, totally agree. Uh,

it's always gotta be careful who's listing out the outta my user base.

But you'll get people coming. They'll tell you that your,

the whole protein pathway. And at the end of it, my question is,

so what colors have you got? And where, where, where we expecting to see them?

Because that's what we can enable you to do. And then, but then we tell them,

so what are you, you're looking for protein interactions.

You are looking at dynamics. You're looking at protein, protein.

So then you can start putting your dynamic studies, your frass, your frets,

your fcss and everything else into play. Uh, but it is,


True. Yeah. I mean, uh, this, we have to find, let's say, the common,

uh, the common level on which to exchange. And it's very often the case. I mean,


I think we have all had these project discussions where people basically give

you a lecture on their field, and it doesn't involve imaging at any point.

And then after 15, 20 minutes, you finally cut to the chase. But, uh, still,

I mean, important is to find that common ground and then to work on that.

So, so from your degree, you went into a PhD, where was your PhD done?

Uh, so both my initial studies as well as my PhD were done in Munich.

Uh, which was a bit of a surprise because I think, as I said, since in 1994,

more or less towards the end of my studies,

I was exposed to confocal microscopy.

And therefore one of the few people that had some practical knowledge, I,

I got the possibility to work with a confocal microscope. I actually had my,

my initial plan was to go to Canada to do functional neuro morphology.

That would've been very imaging based. That was actually my initial plan.

Um, and so I stayed, uh, in Munich for the first,

uh, for the installation of the first confocal microscope in the institute,

which I then also used on some of the first variants of fluorescent proteins in

a developmental biology setting. So using cellular slime mold,

both as a single cell organism,

so looking really at the single cells and also at the multicellular aggregation


And you, you sent another picture, uh,

with actually another guest that we've had. So this is, and it says PhD crew.

Was this junior your PhD, or was this after your PhD?

This is, these are the people I did my PhD was

So, okay, COTA.

Yes, yes.


Ys. It

Is Ys.

We are all from the same, we are from the same group, Munich.

Wow. And I, I, I dunno, the, the lady next to you,

Uh, yeah, she's not in imaging, uh, at, at least not in, uh,

not in microscopy. I think in the end she did a lot of remote sensing. So,

um, because, uh, our PhD supervisor, uh,

he, uh, was working in, uh, on cellular line mold,

but one of his contributions to the field was together. So his name is,

is Florian Zieger. And together with, uh, case wire,

they were some of the first that actually did image processing on these

developmental mechanisms in, in Dium.

And that's what attracted all of us, actually, the imaging aspect. And, uh,

Florian in his career later on changed to remote sensing, actually,

more or less already at that time, he had, um, a very strong interest in,

uh, remote sensing in Indonesia for deforestation.

And he applied the same kinds of methods. And of course, with truist, I mean,

you needed these, uh, his referencing systems and whatever. Um,

but he applied image processing to, uh, to ecology.

And that's where he in the end also got, uh, got, uh, his professorship. So, uh,

meaning he,

he changed fields because the tool is extremely variable as long as you are

applying it in a good way.

So I,

I'm just amazed that that's three in one group that are still in the imaging

community and still very influential and big names,

all of them in their own rights. And, and I quite like this picture as well. So,

so I've gotta ask, what was Cota like as a roommate?

Well, he was not my, oh, actually we did share an apartment together later on.

Um, no, uh, the thing is COTA just came from Japan, uh, when,

uh, when we started. So he here just arrived. I just came into the group.

So we basically met basically on day one. And

I mean, it was a really fun time, always. I mean, we, we overlapped at the PhD.

We had a long time together as well. Then in Heidelberg, DMBL.

So meaning this really helped, same with yz. I mean, this was basically yz,

me and kta, we all went to the AMF. And,

and this really influenced us for a long time.

And that also showed maybe what kind of profile was at this point needed for,

for these things. And this is what we had. I'd,

I'd like to say two things in this context. First of all,

Florian as our supervisor, I mean, he had set up a lot of imaging rigs,

and they were connected with a lot of cables. And we spent,

I would say half of our PhD under those tables. And, uh, he was saying,

this is the kind of skill that will really help you in your careers,

but basically this hands-on thing that really fixing like, uh, like, uh, the,

uh, the, the systems. And he was very much, he was very right.

And the other thing is, I mean, many people in the field,

that process may also see the, the, the this, uh, this, uh, discussion.

They know kta in,

in different forms and they realize he's an outstanding image analyst and a very

inspired one, and a very interesting person. Um,

I think what very few people know or can remember is that he actually,

kta is the best experimentalist I ever met,

but he stopped doing experiments. And again, a person like,

like Florian changed the field. Uh, but I mean,

he did outstanding TTE experiments even before that in Japan.

He made a single ameba crawl through tunnels. So I mean, he,

he has this extremely systematic,

well designed experimental approach that, that I actually don't have.

So that was funny, that COTA is actually an outstanding experimentalist.

I didn't know that. And, and I take it, this is,

I might as well stay with your PhD just briefly.

This is your original workstation junior PhD.

Um, actually even before I used this for E em reconstruction, mainly it's a,

it's a risk workstation that was running on the Unix. And at this point, uh,

the, you, the, the tools were still very limited. I used data Explorer,

and actually also I think even on that one interactive data language,

which I then used for everything afterwards, I did most of my, uh,

rendering in, uh, in analysis also for the PhD in,

in interactive data language.

So IDL So, you know, I have only just realized.

So you, you sense, yeah, when you look at em, image restoration,

reconstruction rendering, most importantly, you know, you,

you get some stunning images. Now if you watch it on YouTube, you,

you'll see some of the rendered images, uh mm-hmm.

A a new to electron microscopy, and you're looking at looking at the image,

and we're thinking, that's a bit clunky, but oh my goodness,

I didn't realize that this was 1996,

that you read images, which is unbelievable.

Yeah, I mean, I must say that's may, maybe one disclaimer here. The, uh, the,

uh, the volume renderings, I think, uh, I read it recently,

so this is actually done with pg uh, they, but the,

basically the original dataset and also three D renderings with shadings, I did,

then I just redid them once because the shading and the,

the color scheme is now a, a bit better. But the work is based on, on, uh,

I didn't, I didn't do any more reconstructions.

I just used the reconstructions ahead and re-render them once.

Okay. Yeah. Wait, wait a minute. I, I'm catching up now.

You've re-render data from 1996.

What was the data stored on that enabled you to still be able to access it?

Because in 96 you were talking floppy disks,

CDs, CDs are still good only, just

Only just on CDs.

Yeah, no, no, I mean, I, I basically backed up on CD and, uh, the,

the reason why I revisited the data is that I think maybe biologically,

this was my, this was the thing that inspired me most.

This was functional neuro morphology, and it is about how to connect or,

or how individual system of insects,

the neural cells that are underlying the facets are actually connecting.

And the, the, this was an evolutionary, uh,

riddle that really wanted to crack together with my colleagues. And, um,

it's such an interesting story that was only half told.

So I never could really show all the morphological data that we had,

all the synology. So many years later,

I realized whenever I was talking to people that are having an evolutionary

interest, that this is an interesting evolutionary story. So every now and then,

every few years since 25, 30 years, I'm retelling that story.

And that's also why I rewritten the data at some point,

because they looked dated, even though what they were,

this was very much aligned with research interest in jania at the time.

So meaning this was interesting data that I wanted to share in a bit more

fashionable way. So every, every five, six years,

I give a talk about this just because it's an interesting biological question.

I'm amazed to CD still worked as well, uh,

that that's quite something. So what countries have you,

how many different countries you just Germany and Spain that you've worked in

because you, from your PhD, you then went to the LMF, is that right?

To line microscopy facility?

Well, after the PhD, I went to the, to, to the, uh,

advanced microscopy facility in Heidelberg. The Embol. Yeah.

And then after that, 'cause embol, you can only work so many years,

is that correct? Mm-Hmm.

Yeah. So, uh, you'd have in principle a time limit.

And I was aware of that. And I mean this, I,

I was having a specialist position in the AMFI had no intention

to, to remain because simply for the reason that it's ideally

helps you to qualify. And I think this, I really enjoyed my time there. I mean,

I was in the end there for six years. Um,

instead of the maximum that would've been, uh, possible would've been nine.

But I know that my, um, my motivation was basically to,

to go on my own terms, not, uh, at, at the last moment. I mean,

I really would've enjoyed, enjoyed another three years. There was, this is,

I mean the, the projects that I was involved in really, I really, uh,

liked them, like working on malaria movement, working on, uh,

initially also on, on motors of vaccinia virus. Uh,

there was always something that the massive development, I mean,

there was working a lot on spectral imaging at that time. Uh,

the exposure to all the new technologies, I mean, this was ideal,

but also at some point, of course, it qualifies you for maybe, uh,

further steps. And so when an opportunity came along to start a unit in, in,

in Barcelona, uh, I, yeah, I,

I went for that under this feeling. Okay, I should not, I mean,

you have to go on at some point, go where you want to go, and I think I did.

And your CRG team ru and grew and grew once

you went there. And, and you, again, for those,

I would encourage people and have a look at some pictures off the YouTube,

at the very least, uh, you started with just the two of you and then that,

that obviously grew to quite a sizable team. Yeah,

It grew and shrank a little bit, uh,

because I think what's also very important was sustainability. And, um,

I did not manage to fully establish image processing as a, as a,

as a backup. Others I think succeeded more. But in this was really also,

um, I didn't want, uh, I mean,

I had a really good colleagues all the time. I mean, these are very,

very dear to my heart, and they know it. And I mean, one, see it over the,

the years. I mean, it's, um, but it was also very important to look out for,

of course, for career planning. And I just realized that, uh,

like in the middle, we had one position more, which was time limited.

And there was, uh, it was not, I didn't want to risk to ex to, to promise,

okay, this will be self-sustaining, and then it isn't, because that's,

of course, you're messing with other people's career. Um, but I think I had a,

we had a well staffed facility that was very much grown to the,

to the size of the needs that we had. I mean, maybe whatever,

13, 14, 15 systems, uh, 250 users.

So this kind of thing, I think this was very well matched and still is, I hope.

And the team themselves, I know some of the team, they, they're, they,

they get out there, the conferences, you obviously were helping develop them,

develop their own careers within the core facility as well, which is,

which is super cool.

I asked you earlier about what your dream job was when you were young and it was

an astronaut Mm-Hmm. Uh, today,

I'm gonna guess if you could ch choose any job in the world today,

what would you choose?

Okay. Since astronaut is off, uh, is off the table. Actually, I'm, I mean, this,

this may sound, uh, weird actually. No, I'm, I'm,

I'm really Okay.

That is the right answer. If

You, if you could just maybe take this, uh,

imaging center and transplant it to the beach, I'm good. But that's it.


That would really work for, for technical reasons. So therefore I'm really good.

No, that's a good answer. So, so here's a slightly different question.

If you could try sample any job, any different type of job,

and I'm not gonna let you choose an astronaut for today. Mm-Hmm.

Any other type of job, what type of job have you ever thought, gosh, you know,

I'd love to know what it's like to be in that position just to feel it and see

for whatever reason. What sort of job would you like to just sample?

Not to do as a career, but just to

I, Hmm.

I don't think I'm qualified for that. So basically I, I wouldn't,

I couldn't do it, but, um, I, I mean,

maybe one dream I would have is at some point, some kind of time out, uh,

to really think deep about the problem. Maybe the way that, uh,

theoretical physicists are sometimes doing, are doing or have done.

I think that's, that's maybe, uh, and I, I have to, of course,

the disclaimer is I'm not a theoretical physicist. I don't have the,

the tool set to do this. But, um,

I'm just reading a book by Heisenberg, for example. And I mean, uh, I,

I just think this, this focus on, on, uh, on, on a singular problem,

uh, I would like that,

but it would've would need to be in an environment where you can really focus on

this. I had moments like that. I mean, I, uh,

have a side of, a finished side of my fam of my family.

So I have connections to Finland.

I spent these days fairly little and maybe more limited time, uh, on the, yeah,

this is the view from the estate of my family, like with their little houses.

Uh, um, uh, and this is the view. And of course,

this can allow you to really think deep about the problem.

And I did it maybe twice in my life.

I did it once for this neural connection problem.

I remember I was really sitting there and was, had, I had the time,

especially in finished summer, where the days also infinitely long,

but you have the feeling you have all the time in the world.

I was really making progress. Then. I understood the problem and the solution.

And similarly with, uh,

elimination regimes for single and multigene accounting systems. I mean,

these are fairly basic equations,

but I could bas I could calculate the whole thing through in such a


So basically this kind of reclusion and working on a theoretical problem,

I think that's, that's really it. That would be what I would like to sample.

Okay. And so, so you wouldn't want to be a, a rock star or, you know,

a, a, a class artist or anything else?

Not really. This is

Do, do you still,

This is only to attract girls, actually.

So I'll put a picture up, which is throwing team, a bit of him playing a guitar,

uh, on a co on a marine biology course.

Yeah, yeah. Which was very important for me. No, I mean, first of all,

I play very bad and I can only memorize, uh, temperature, like, uh,

small pieces, maybe four minutes tops. And, um,

and that's used to be a long time ago. Um,

but it was a very nice surrounding and it was actually really inviting to, to,

to maybe also take a guitar along and, and enjoy the scenery.

This wasn't Croatia.

I did these marine biology courses with the group where I was initially working,

uh, for many years.

And this was always a very special moment or an experience because it's exactly

this connection to the field.

And maybe it was something also to appreciate when you're snorkeling,

for example, the density of, of organisms, which,

if you are looking at how the questions are posed in a lab is always

reduced to a single mechanism, to a single specific question.

But seeing these things in, in context, uh, was always very,

very important. So whenever I think about a biological issue, or even about, uh,

probes tools, I mean,

we are basically using fluorescent proteins coming out of Arians.

Very few people that use them as a tool.

Very few people that develop them as a tool actually take the ecology into

account. And I mean, the, the guy that found the living fossil frier,

frika, I mean, he is, he, he, he went around with a,

with a self-built submarine. And we found like this living fossil,

this solar can that's, uh, like a transition to the, to the, uh, to the land,

uh, animals, uh, in like in, in the depths in front of India.

Uh, but he also, for example, in the nineties or in the eighties,

was already like, as a side comment, commenting on deep,

deep sea reefs and that they have, um, deep, deep sea corals,

people water the corals that have, uh,

blue fluorescence to probably support the Zambians. First of all,

ecologists always knew that it's not the algae that are, um, that are colorful,

but that it's actually the, the animals and all of these things that,

that let's say, uh, lab, uh,

biologists very often even quote wrongly when they talk about corals or

whatever. It's all known. And if these groups could talk more,

they would understand better also how to optimize some of these,

of where to find the next class of, of, of compounds. Communication is key,

but it's always missing between the fields.

So 94 was quite something. So if you had the,

the Embo course and the marine course as well. So that was quite a year for you.

Uh, when, when did you first meet your wife

At Amble? Actually at, uh, many years later. Um,

and she's from Croatia, but, uh, I, uh, so,

and I know the area where she's from very well from the marine biology courses,

but we, we met in Germany.

Okay. And I, I I'm gonna ask how, how many two children? Yes.

Two children. Yeah.

And either of them following in your footsteps, scientifically?

I don't think so. I mean, it's way too early. And, uh,

that's maybe the other thing. We already touched on it twice,

how you can completely transform your career. Um,

and I wouldn't expect them to know for, I mean,

one is 40 and the other one is 12. I mean, even the older one,

I would say has at least 10 years time before they have to get really serious

about, um, I mean, they should not idle away the time. That's not the point.

But, um, their choices.

But they still want to be footballers,

Honestly, these days. I, I wouldn't know. It keeps changing.

We are hoping one of them will be a basketball player,

because that will bring in money. But, you know, these things never work out.

Talking of sports, uh, a couple of things,

uh, firstly, uh, I, I, so I,

I quite often when we meet at different conferences such as Elmi, we,

we will go for a run in the morning,

and I've got multiple selfies of us running. Yeah. And my panic for today,

I could only find one, which is really poor. It's not even the best one.

I can look, I can put myself in my hat on naked, won't it?

I can just wear my hat. So this is us in San Francisco? San

Francisco, yeah.

In San Francisco. Uh, but I do, you know, we, I should have pictures from, uh,

Portugal. Mm-Hmm. We went out on the,

I think that was the first time you possibly went running to Oh, no.

First time we went running. I don't remember where that was. Oh, no.

Can you remember the first time we went running together?

I mean, I would've also said Portugal,

because I have a specific memory about Portugal. Um, yeah. Um, but let's see.

If you, if you think about, must have been meetings. Um,

the one before would've been in Sweden, and then the one before in, in Spain. I,

I think it was Portugal.

I think it was Summering, Austria.

Yeah. But this was Of course, of course, of course. It was. That's the one. Oh,

yeah. Downhill.

Because, because I, I dunno, there were a, there was a,

a bigger group of us that went running, and we went,

We went to several people and, uh, oh,

that was the ultimate hangover cure for, for some, for others.

It was basically maybe just pointing out that they should stay in bed. Oh, yeah.

That was a good one. But it was a really good running area. I mean, with,

with the elevation and the downhill.

I can't remember one of the, uh, I, I remember us running,

I can't remember all the other runners with us,

but there was two female runners, and one of the, my goodness,

she was a monster. I, she, we were going round the hill and she said,

I'll meet you. And she just turned vertically up it and just ran up. It,

it's like she was

Puts us Oh, please.

Yeah. Yeah. Really, she was just quite an incredible runner. I I,

I I think she was actually properly competi nationally or internationally

competitive as well. Um, that was, yeah, I, I remember that.

And yeah. And of course, uh, Portugal for Elmi was on the beach.

I was on the beach. Yeah. I mean, for me, I have this memory that, uh,

since Portugal is already in the UK time zone,

I actually got up one hour too early. I mean, the, anyway, uh,

like we're setting, uh, out early, like around six was the plan.

So I was sitting in the lobby at five because I didn't realize that it was in

the wrong time zone.

Yeah. I also remember ringing you up when you missed your alarm once.

Yeah, that's could be, there was probably a reason for that,

Which would be the drinks the night before. Again, back, back to the same theme,

but it's not just, uh, that we also, uh, your football,

I mean, think about conferences, uh,

and I'll ask a question about this in a moment,

but you are part of an annual stormwater of the academic team

for the Elmi academic football team itself. Uh, with, with,

yeah. VO position. Go on. TiVo.

Yeah. No, I mean, uh, I think this,

this is actually one of the nicest activities, uh, that,

that now also is established, especially this photo,

I think shows it even better. Uh, so this is the,

since 2015, I think every year, the Army conference,

the European Light Microscopy Initiative Conference, um, has in the, on,

on the first day a game between the academics and the companies and, um,

uh, where normally we get slaughtered. Let's be honest about that. Um,

but I think it's such a great thing because I mean,

if people can see or recognize some of the faces in the back,

these are different companies. Uh, we of course from different institutes,

and we're all in the game together. And that's, I think,

symbolically that's exactly what's, what's happening. I mean,

we are all actually, we share this, this, this deep interest in the, in the,

in this technology field. And we have so much that, uh, that,

that connects us. And this is actually shown in this,

in this moment of good spirit. So for me, these football games, they're,

they're really fun. They're, they're not fun to watch, I think,

because we're not really good, I guess. But, uh, but they are,

they are really, they're, they're a nice, they're nice gesture.

Yeah. The, the next, Joe, it's ours, but

actually to Florian who, uh,

I think really got this off the ground and Bullon who's carried on people

torture for Olympus stroke evidence.

And it's great seeing the likes ofs and like,

and other Nick on actually turning up and playing as colleagues.


Which is, you know, you, you think this great rivalry between these companies.

And actually, you know, they're just like academics.

So I guess academically we compete against each other,

but we also collaborating. It's maybe less on the company side,

but in this point yet they'll all play together.

They'll have a drink of water together and, and ice cream and Mm-Hmm. And then

That's, that's really what's what makes it nice. I, I, I mean this idea that,

that came up, like, uh, for this army meeting in, in, in Spain at the time, in,

in, in Cis, yeah. It came basically, I mean, it was Florian, very much so.

Florian, uh, I mean, at that point, at Olympus now at, at Leica, um,

and many, yeah. And, and it just, just, just caught on. It was such a good idea.

I, and just one other exercise. So during lockdown


What, what exercises did you pick? Because obviously you were in Spain,

so very limited in what you could do outside. How were you,

how did you try and keep fit at home? You know, where

I basically, I, I mean, I tried to, uh, to work out in, in the house and, uh,

in the apartment. And, uh, because lockdown in, in, in Spain was harsh. I mean,

if I just think at the level of the children. Uh, but I,

I tried to, to run in the, in the apartment, I,

I tried to actually then do chin ups,

and this is when I fell out of the doorframe and completely smashed my elbow.

Actually, I should have added for, for the,

but then your discretion would be advised, I should have added the X-ray of the,

of the fracture, which was really massive. Like, it,

the elbow just came off and I didn't realize for another two months.

So you, so you're doing a chin up. Yeah.

I guess you had some contraption on the doorframe too. Yeah.

Which was unfortunate. Permanently fixed.

So when actually I went up to energetically and I just unhinged it,

and it came down with me on the full tension. So actually, um, on the, uh,

those ones still see the scar. Yep.

Big stuff on there.

Basically, it makes me look like wolverine and, uh, uh, I mean,

inside it's just, it's just titanium.

Thanks for, you're not that much like wolverine.

Thanks for shaving. You're not that much like wolverine. Yeah, yeah.

No, but, uh, it's, uh, it was a massive injury, uh, by trying to stay fit.

So I basically, I achieved the opposite. It took me, I think, a long time,

a long time afterwards, and now I'm more or less back in, in, in, in good shape.


So you came down, yeah. You hurt yourself. Mm-Hmm.

It took two months before you went and got it X-rayed,

and realized that your elbow was completely in pieces.

Well, I think we realized before that there was a fracture,

but they saw that he was on its own because I, I mean,

for some reason I didn't have major pain. I mean, I had a, I mean,

it was swollen. I took, um, I tried to treat it, uh, so to,

to not have any kind of, uh, uh, like thrombosis or whatever. I,

I did all of that at home. I mean, even going to the hospital was, uh, like, it,

it wasn't worth the bother somehow.

And I could fully move it because I had an extra joint.

So I thought everything is fine. But, um, uh,

and I could even lift things with it. So ba basically the,

the injury didn't feel as critical as it as it was. And then when the,

the doctors told me, okay, I can maybe start doing some spots again.

I fell off a skateboard. And then the thing just really went, uh, like, uh, uh,

like it pulled itself through the, through the joint. And, uh,

then it need really needed a fixing. And then the, the,

the surgeon was actually quite shocked,

and he's normally not easily shocked 'cause he's working with motorcyclists.

Sorry, I

Should, it was not my best hour.

Just, uh, that, that must have been really frustrating though,

because as you say, keep keeping fit is very important to me. Yeah.

And keeping fit ended up actually,

meaning not being able to keep fit for,

for significant amount of time.

I was the best, the best part of it that I actually,

of course also like telling, and I'm sure I told it to you, uh,

actually about running, I remember in Toku, um, is, uh, that of course it, uh,

it was very weird that I didn't have pain or that,

or that I was fully functional for two months before actually really having to

treat the fracture, which kind of like, also gave myself, uh,

I gave myself some kind of tus guy image. And then after, uh,

after the cast came off, after they had fixed the elbow,

and I couldn't even touch my chin, I couldn't shave, I couldn't reach.

So I went to physio and I told the guy, because I was, at this point,

I was really scared because I've had no, uh, no threat by, by, by this injury.

So I just thought, okay,

that's really bad if your body doesn't tell you that something's wrong.

So told the guy that he's to watch out because I don't feel any pain.

And then I cried like a, like a child because it was extremely painful.

I feel all the pain that it need, that one needs to feel. I was just,

for some reason, lucky that, that the, the fracture itself wasn't painful,

but it was the re the, the, the rehab was really, really hard.

So, and I shouldn't laugh, just I thought you, yeah, don't worry.

I laugh about it. It's not gonna hurt. You can't hurt it. And then in tears,

moments, physios, don't you hate them? Sometimes. Oh, okay.

It's a, some, some quick fire questions for you. Mm. Oh,

Finland or Germany?

Finland. Uh, no, no, no, no. Germany.

Oh gosh. You get kicked outta Germany in that quick five answer.

Sp Spain or Finland?

Both. If I have to choose.

No, Finland has a, has a drawback,

I would say just because windows are very harsh. I never experienced them.

Just picking the good part is not enough to,

to I think Spain, it would be Spain.

Spain is a good all year country and Germany.

Okay. Uh, as a budding astronaut. The moon or Mars


Oh, okay. Let's

Get, I mean, in science, two things by steps,

Star Trek or Star Wars.

This should be a long answer. I, first of all,

I would've to say both because I was a huge fan. Um,

now in retrospect, I would say Star Trek.

It's the right answer. There's

More. Actually did my, uh, I did my school English paper.

That was part of my final examination on Star Trek,

and I got full grades.

So, so we can thank your top grades to Star Trek. Uh,

what's your favorite film of all time?

This I cannot answer because I, uh, it's, it's hard for me to rank easily,

uh, to, to rank quickly. Uh, it's not quite the right answer,

but I would say anything from James Cameron I find normally deeply fascinating

because of the level of craftsmanship that goes into it and the way that he can

reinvent stories. So meaning whenever something new comes out,

I really appreciate the craftsmanship. Okay.

It's maybe the closest that I can come.

So what's your favorite Christmas film? 'cause he hasn't done a Christmas film.

It was Christmas film,

maybe in Germany, when, when, uh,

when I was a kid. They showed classics. Could and could have been.

I think I saw Ben Hua actually around that time.

This was used to be a Christmas film in Germany. Maybe it's an association.

I think the better Christmas movies. I actually saw you ask the,

this question to Jean Eve. And, uh, diehard is not my answer.

I, I like die hard as well. Me,

I do. But actually that's okay. That's a Christmas movie.

Let's agree. Yeah.

Uh, are you an early bird or night owl?

I used to be a night owl. Um, absolutely.

Like during the marine biology courses, during my studies, um,

basically while working with quota, I mean night owl,

but I am transforming to an earlier bird because it's, uh,

it's giving you more out of, uh, yeah, it's giving you more of the day.

PC or Mac?


McDonald's or Burger King?

McDonald's, because I was growing up next to one of the first,

I think maybe the first McDonald's in, in, uh, in Germany. And, uh,

so it's a childhood memory.

Okay. Coffee or tea?


And what do you drink? You, you got a coffee before this,

so what sort of coffee did you get?

Uh, these days I drink like in a special with milk. So, um, I used, I used to,

I drink it in any form. That's the thing you learn when you work. I mean,

I used to work in the hospital and doing night shifts. So I normally drink,

just drink, filter coffee, straight and without sugar, because then, you know,

all you need is you find, have to find the filters in the coffee.

You don't need anything else. No milk, no sugar. Um, I,

when I moved to Spain, I actually started drinking, uh, cortado. So cut,

cut milk shots. And, um, uh, ever since then, I tend,

when I find it with milk in it.

Okay. Beer or


Oh, see, that wouldn't have been the answer. 10, 15 years ago.

So red or white wine?


God. What has Spain done to you? No, it's a good answer.

Uh, yeah, well, it's not the Spanish wine. I actually was really suffering from.

So the, I I started to appreciate wine while I was still in Germany.

Partially it was quota, partially with, uh, people we met at, uh, uh, like at,

um, and I really got into Italian wine.

And then you go to Spain where of course, uh,

countries are quite protective of their own, uh, produce.

So the only thing that you could find every now and then was lamb boco.

So meaning it, that didn't work at all. It got better. And now in Germany,

of course, you, since they don't have this, that kind of steak in the,

in the red wines, you find any kind of wine. And I, I appreciate the,

the complexity of the wines.

Okay. Chocolate or cheese?


Milk or dark?

Dark. Actually, that's my brain speaking actually. My,

I think my, my, my, my, the inner child says Nick Chocolate.

Yeah. I, I, my, my work bag, I'm just reaching down to my work bag is, uh,

always has,

always has different chocolates in it. I,

I'll stop there before I embarra myself too much too.

It's getting ready to go off to, uh, bena and lab. So I've just,

I've loaded my chocolate and just hope it doesn't melt when I fly over or when

I, when I land, actually, it's less, oh, yeah, when you get back to it. Uh,

where, what is your favorite food? If you could choose anything?

So if you were to be taken out, what is your,

what is your favorite food to choose?

I, huh?

This again, I, I have trouble with ranking.

If I think about the things I cannot easily get,

I would say maybe some Japanese food in Japan,

because there are some things you would just not

be able to experience otherwise. And I think I had some very,

very nice different dishes there. Yeah. Maybe that.

And is there any food that you dislike?

Yeah, I have a very, I have very strong, uh, uh, no, the thing is,

I'm not allergic against anything, so I can eat everything and, uh,

in family context to be polite, to be a good guest. I eat everything,

uh, and really everything. But, uh, I don't like cucumbers and tomatoes.

So the classical summer vegetables that people find refreshing, uh,

somehow it's probably even physiological. There's,

there's some connection between those. And it's saying something,

I think about the way that you, um, yeah. That your digestion works.

If you don't like them, I don't, I can eat them.

I don't break out in rashes or anything. I just don't like them.

Okay. And who cooks at home?

Um, mainly my wife. And she's doing a great job because she's also diversifying,

she's cooking, cooking different styles.

I do some dishes well including, um,

you know, some, some pastas. I mean, I do some basic dishes as well,

and that people like me doing them. And then I can be useful. Okay. Or meat.

I can do, I can do a good roast, roast or roast or, or some pasta variations.

I'm good with those other things. I leave to the experts.

What's your favorite color?

Actually blue.

Looking at you in a slightly blue top.

And you've got a blue filing cabinet behind you. Yeah. That,

that didn't surprise me too much, by the way. Did you actually deliver,

you've got a whiteboard.

People always got Timo sitting there in his office with a whiteboard with lots

of equations on it.

Did you put those on it just so it looked really smart for the,

for the interview?

Uh, Sheldon put them on. Um, I, I really enjoy the light.

Well actually should press it in front of that because I think there's an,

there's an arrow there and some of the questions are really very naive questions

that I wrote down many years ago that maybe a physicist would be not

really, uh, impressed with, but not it's, it actually, it's, it,

it shows my interest in physical chemistry. That is,

I think now my driving, if I,

if I think about the things that I'm interested in, on the development side,

I would say, um,

I have for a long time been interested in physical chemistry,

and I'm starting to approach the, the,

the language that is needed to understand it more and more.

And that is not where I started out with because it was always, uh,

like studying biology, it's definitely not a focus.

And after immersing myself in optics,

I realized I gravitate over the last years towards, for instance,

and physical chemistry.

Okay. Uh, last quick fire question. I think favorite conference,


Again, or

Simply for the, I mean, we, I think we've been, uh,

we've been on board for a long, long time. Um,

actually I've been there from the beginning on, and, um, it's,

I like the, the,

that it takes the companies on board so much because we all, I mean, as,

as as persons,

we are all coming from the same place and we share a deep interest.

And I think this is the place where it was the best realized that you just

really do this. It's not just one side and the other. Um,

yeah, only in all its forms.

And thinking of bringing the companies along your current role, uh,

in 30 seconds, what is the sort of strap line? What is your current role?

Because it's a bit different to other facilities.

Yeah, very, uh, okay. 30 seconds is hard, but no, it's,

it's actually true. So I worked in facility for a long time. I mean, I, I,

I was in Spain and Barcelona for whatever, in the end,

almost 15 years. So I think I understand how to run, uh, uh, um,

a core facility.

And the core facility has the main purpose must be to,

to work well inside the own institute. Anything outside is an, is a bonus.

Uh, the imaging center has, uh, that,

where I'm working now at amel is not the ALMF,

it's not the advanced Oscopy facility. I mean,

the ALMF will have its 25th anniversary this month.

So next month this will be a major celebration.

I will be very happy to be part of it.

And it's still needed as in the first day. I mean, this is not,

this is core facilities absolutely essential.

The imaging Center reflects this additional role of EMBL to

open, to be open for external visits when this is a different business model,

as you know. I mean, you also have external visitors,

but the logistical effort is not something you do on the site side.

And this is very much dedicated.

And also what we are aiming for is to connect earlier on, um,

to the technologies by also going into the pre-commercial field,

which is something as a facility that I never could manage. I mean, in Spain,

I just didn't have the possibility to support the access to such a system.

Here we are basically building them up.

So it's a very different role and I saw it as a interesting progression

out of something that I think I understand,

and we also appreciate why it has to be different. That's,

that's why I was actually interested come here.

And your team's quite big over the

Actually well, no teams.

Yeah. Joint team.

So, uh, and that's a bit dated, so there's no more people. It has been,

it has grown. Um, um, uh,

so these are two pe uh, so actually most of the people that you see,

they're actually from the Cryo EM team of, of my colleague Simona. He's, uh,

the be at Italian and front, um, with a blue, uh, pullover.

Exactly. So he's, he's basically my counterpart on the Cry EM side.

But the imaging center has two sides, light microscopy and cry em.

And of course,

what we want to meet in and where we are basically now meeting is in correlative

approaches. So many of the people, um, are for example, also cry specialists,

but there's also my application specialists on the picture.

I cannot point to them. Of course, right now, um, there's, uh,

one of the two optical engineers, uh,

the other one had not started at this point. Uh, there's a data analyst.

So I have a team of five for the service side. So two application specialists,

uh, two optical engineers and, uh, data analysts.

And then similar on the EM side. And there's also, uh, research, uh,

on both sides. There also some research positions from s in this case, uh,

mine are not on the picture. They started, uh,

this year because I now also really want to go into massive development.

This a team

Beyond this,

you have quite a lot of interactions with commercial companies as well. Mm-Hmm.

Which means your job is, it's not just being a scientist, is it? Anymore?

It it, the, the role is more than just being a scientist. You have to be a,

a manager. You have to be a sort of semi businessman as well. Uh,

would that be fair to say,

To be a businessman of what sir?

Uh, to, to be, to have a business aspect to you? Looking at the finance,

you've got the, the company engagements, the legalities around that,

plus the science. Mm-hmm.

Quite a lot of skills that you're holding there.

Well, I, I think actually, and I, I mean,

I guess you wrote a book on that one yourself. Uh, or you could,

you could write a book on this one if you haven't written it already. Um,

you have to go beyond the technology itself if, uh, uh, in this,

or there's a lot of opportunities to, um,

to interact in forms that are very, very beneficial. But for this,

you have to also understand exactly these additional challenges.

But it's not only about where's the on button, uh, on the microscope,

or what do we have to optimize experimentally,

it's about how to embed technologies, how to play them to their strongest point.

How to actually interact with companies in a, in a, also in,

in the form of a mutual beneficial, uh, relationship.

So not trying to maybe just like sell, okay,

place it here and just looking maybe for a bargain,

but thinking about what does it actually take? And not only,

not only with companies, it's the same for any kind of, let's say,

networking activity. Where are the points where you both walk out as, uh, with,

with a benefit and try to, uh, to, uh, work for those.

But this goes beyond science. This is now becoming, of course,

partially management things, partially politics. I mean,

that's something I did for many years also in the context of trying to network

for bio imaging. Uh, and these things you pick up,

you ideally also take courses in. Courses are now more and more available.

And I think we do need, uh, but this is the point. I mean, what,

when we finished studies, this was just the beginning.

So anything picked up afterwards,

either you do it yourself or ideally you actually cut the corners and you,

you target you, you get target trainings in the things that you need.

Our tool set is much bigger than, than just the, the technology.

This is when you work with companies,

when you work with balancing different aspects in major undertakings,

that's if you want to work with multiple partners and respect all the interests,

this is what you need.

I think when we started out, those courses didn't exist,

but our roles didn't exist particularly. Mm-Hmm. We started that's

The point. I mean, 25 years of AMF, they were some of the first. And, uh, we,

this is, this is basically when we started.

So we are nearly up to the hour. And I have two questions I still want to ask.

Can I ask you what,

has there been any time in your career that you found particularly challenging

or difficult for whatever reason?

Everything at the moment sounds surreal, but there must have been bumps,

challenges, uncomfortable times.

I'm sure there were. Yes. I, I remember sometimes, but I would say these were,

uh, isolated incidents. Some in retro, in retrospect. Funny,

I mean like this one night of shock that I had when I was writing up my PhD

thesis, and when I was writing the message,

I thought I had to use the wrong plasmid. I mean,

like in the middle of the night at the time when after you already published two

papers on, on this thing, you kind of like just tried to cross the T's. And,

uh, you, you find something that you consider a fundamental error that was quite

shocking. But this is like this thing that throws you for a loop.

But it was done within the, within half a day. I came in the next morning,

we looked at it and we realized that the nomen nomenclature changed.

So meaning these things very often dissolve themselves.

You can still feel this initial shock later on. I think with some,

um, incidents, uh, yeah, maybe that's also where everyone can learn,

uh, soreness. I once had an incident with a system where I really thought, okay,

I, I mean it just broke in,

or the ceiling broke in front of my eyes more or less and damaged the system in

my eyes severely. And I thought, that's the end of me.

And I can only deeply appreciate that. Uh,

the persons I was working with on the, um,

on the institute side were actually very thorough,

had done all the right insurances and everything,

so everything was in the end fine.

But this moment when I realized that I possibly had not considered all the

options, and, uh, I saw my career ending at this point, and that took maybe

two or three days to walk off,

it actually also brought me in a very nice direction because I was so upset, uh,

with the incident. And that, first of all,

I think I learned for the future to be much more respecting the process.

So it's not only about getting, uh, or, uh, what you can get,

but also getting it in a way that, that everybody's protected.

But also I just realized I have to move my facility into a new location.

I was really fed up. And, um, and that gave me the drive to then develop.

It took still more time, but to develop, let's say,

a relocation of the facility, which I, at this point really wanted.

So meaning something good can come out of it, but of course I felt like, yeah,

I I, I was not, I was not in a good, in a, in a good place. Then these,

these things. I remember very few of those

That, that that last one's a good point. You know, when you look at the cost,

certainly in the uk we had a postdoc has a cost associated,

it's not just their salary, it's the overhead, which is the estates and the,

the infrastructure around them. And what you just said,

it was the infrastructure that's being put around Mm-Hmm.

That someone was there, they sorted the insurance,

they're there to help with it. You know, the people that,

for a lot of scientists,

they're the hidden people that we don't see 'cause they're not in our

departments, but my goodness,

we need that infrastructure behind us to enable us to do our work with that

layer of protection as well.

Yes. And, um, one can also see this maybe as a restriction. I mean, of course,

I, I think I maybe also you, uh,

are also of course sometimes bad mouthing some things that, I mean,

and not everything that's coming out of a structure is actually helpful. I mean,

we, we also are faced with the flip side, but no, I mean,

the point is we are maybe in, maybe in public research,

at least from sometimes forget the kind of amounts of money that, I mean,

you actually, you, you're making calculations for what a running cost is.

I make calculations for what a running cost is. These things are massive.

This is not what a person sees that comes on the confocal microscope.

But behind all of that are incredible amount or cost of a postdoc,

cost of any position. These are massive amounts of money that need to be, uh,

properly handled. And sometimes it'll not be in your interest. But I mean,

the thing is,

imagine a word without this management and you will basically have no research.



I still want them to get better, but yeah,

I got go, go. I think I've said it before,

but York Touch Wood

has never got in the way. Usually the system is there to help and when,

where there's not a system in place, they tend to help us put it in place to,

to help us move forward. I, I,

Yeah, I mean, I can only, I can only also,

I can agree basically with this. I, um,

most of my experiences have been good. I mean,

I remember maybe the most frustrating aspects I've experienced was still at

university where maybe really grown structures sometimes are quite noticeable.

Um, but I've otherwise always been in, in,

in places with very flat, uh, hierarchies. And I have never encountered,

maybe I'm lucky in this,

never encountered anybody that just didn't want to go along for whatever,

whatever reason.

I mean that they were all reasonable people and there are reasonable people I'm

dealing with.

Yeah, I think the same, this side. Uh, and the final question.

What's been the most fun? Well, when, when,

if you could relive a year of your career, when was the most fun time to relive?

The most fun time? Probably like,

I mean, oh, I can say I deeply enjoyed my PhD and, and also time at,

um, just, but I mean, this is,

if I hope everybody does honestly, I, I, because that's the time when,

of course you experience new, many new things.

I learned many things late in life.

Like I only started scuba diving when I was in my thirties.

I learned snowboarding basically when I started my PhD together with quota.

We started on the same day with different results. He broke his hand. Um,

that's actually why on the picture, the next year he's actually trying out, uh,

hand supports because when learns from one's mistakes. Um, but, uh,

and then also the time at Endo was really, really nice. Everything afterwards,

everything before was also great, but in, in different ways. I mean,

your only young ones. And, uh, I think I enjoyed that.

And, and I, I I said that was one last thing,

but you sent me one more picture and I'm intrigued because I have no idea what's

going on here. This apic. Please describe the picture for those listening.

'cause I dunno what we have here.

Yeah. Uh, that's also, I included it actually, maybe not the most. Uh,

so this is actually just a, um, this was a,

a test shot taken with a Polaroid for an interview for a German magazine,

um, in where they want, where they asked somebody from the studentship in, in,

in, in Munich,

and I was their representative to explain what a biologist would like to be.

So to explain the, the job of our biologist, I mean,

this is of course ridiculous. I mean, there's so many different things.

And for some reason, they wanted to connect this to paleontology.

And this was also around the time of Jurassic Park. So, uh,

all of a sudden dinosaurs, so you see some dinosaur skull in the back,

and you actually see some mammoths or masteron, uh, like tasks even in the back.

So this is the collecting, uh,

or the cellar of the paleontology collection where we had an interview about one

possible job, uh, uh, field for, for biologists.

The way that it came out was like me saying that I want to be a dinosaur

researcher, which is a bit naive, but yeah, maybe the other thing, if not,

if not an astronaut, what do you want to be, you want to work with dinosaurs.

That was a bit of a,

I was representing more present the students per se in this.

But this was a very strange, oh,

And, and I had to show this one because this is Timbo sitting in front of a,

a microscope, very famous in a, in Japan

and all Japanese, I have no idea what the Japanese writing says. I,

I didn't get Google translate on it. But see, fame,

fame everywhere from,

from the paleontology dinosaur days through to being a top scientist. Seems

Like I'm putting myself in the picture. Now. If you, Alexis,

now this was a funny, um, when I was visiting Japan,

I was also visiting like a headquarters. And since I just worked, uh,

a lot on this, this is ASP two, AOBS system for spectral mixing.

Actually, this was something I was working on then. Um, yeah, they,

they took that photo in a very professional setting, but actually the, the,

the lab coat was way too small. I mean, a Japanese lab coat.

And so I had to really angle my arm so that it looks convincing, and they,

it was a professional shoot. But yeah, it's, it's funny when I found that, that,

uh, that magazine again, so yeah.

And SP two that you taught me on to start with.

Exactly. It's, uh, I mean,

it's a very similar system to the one we were working on. Yeah,

it all comes back,

Oh, background, full second. On that note, we are just over the hour.

I have say, Timo, thank you for my career. Thank you.

Guest scaring under Microscopies as well. Uh, please, uh,

those who are watching listening, please subscribe to whichever channel it is.

There's lots on the back catalog you to go watch and listen to,

but this one's been a, a personal indulgence, uh,

to have Timo as a very special guest. It was very special to me. Timo,

thank you.

Thanks so much, Pete. This was a real pleasure and honor. I, I mean,

I've been following your career and, um, I'm deeply impressed,

and therefore, it was really an absolute joy right now to, to actually yeah.

Take, take stock a little bit for both of us and, uh, yeah,

and continue doing this in the future

Wonder. See you soon. Thank you everyone. Thank


Thank you for listening to the Microscopists,

A Bite-sized bio podcast sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy.

To view all audio and video recordings from this series,

please visit bite-size bio.com/the-microscopists.

Creators and Guests

Timo Zimmermann
Timo Zimmermann
Team Leader in Light and Microscopy Service and Development, EMBL Imaging Centre
Timo Zimmermann (EMBL)