Within the Mercator Guest Professor programme, the German Research Council (DFG) has hosted a guest professor in Biosystems Technology at University of Rostock. The recipient of this prestigious award has been professor Mats-Olof Mattsson from the Life Science Center, Örebro University, Sweden. He has been working for more than one year at the Institute of Biological Sciences, specifically the Department of Cell Biology and Biosystems Technology since February 2006. His stay is now coming to an end, and he returns to his Swedish university during the summer. During his stay in Rostock, Professor Mattsson has together with the research groups of Associate Professor Myrtill Simkó and Professor Dieter G. Weiss established cooperation in novel areas of applied cell biology. The collaborations have focused on effects by chemical and physical environmental factors on cellular activities. Specifically, the researchers have investigated the influence of flame retardants and hormone analogues on real-time synaptic activity in nerve cells and on effects of electromagnetic fields on radical homeostasis in blood cells. According to Professor Mattsson: “The DFG-financed Mercator Professorship has been of great value for our collaborations. It gave me the possibility to focus on novel research, using state-of-the-art laboratory facilities at University of Rostock to investigate effects of environmental agents on the molecular biology of cells. By using the so-called neuro-chip technology, we are the first scientist to show a direct effect of flame retardants on nerve cell communication. In other studies we have significantly furthered the understanding about how weak magnetic fields can interact with living cells by influencing the levels of oxygen radicals within cells. Our work is leading to several scientific publications and also to continued cooperation between our research groups.” In addition to his research activities, Professor Mattsson has also taken part in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate students, and also presented Swedish curricula for the Bachelor and Master studies that are coming due to the so-called Bologna process. Especially within the new Master educations, he sees a great potential for future cooperation between the two universities.
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