Quantitative microscopy and systems biology: seeing the whole picture.
Understanding cellular function requires studying the spatially resolved dynamics of protein networks. From the isolated proteins we can only learn about their individual properties, but by investigating their behavior in their natural environment, the cell, we obtain information about the overall response properties of the network module in which they operate. Fluorescence microscopy methods provide currently the only tools to study the dynamics of molecular processes in living cells with high temporal and spatial resolution. Combined with computational approaches they allow us to obtain insights in the reaction-diffusion processes that determine biological function on the scale of cells.