New Community Manager for FocalPlane

Posted by , on 25 January 2023

Hi all,

My name is Helen Zenner and I am delighted to introduce myself as the new Community Manager of FocalPlane. Microscopy, along with membrane trafficking, has been a strong theme throughout my scientific career, starting during my PhD with Dan Cutler at the LMCB in London. During this time, I was introduced to the beauty of electron microscopy by Lucy Collinson and Jemima Burden, and we published our results in Journal of Cell Science! From the Cutler lab, I moved on to applying my membrane trafficking background to infectious disease research, where I maintained my interest in both electron and confocal microscopy.

Electron micrographs showing cross sections of Weibel Palade bodies from Zenner and Collinson, et al.
How could you not fall in love with EM when you get images like these!
Cross sections of Weibel-Palade bodies from Zenner, Collinson, et al.

My development as a microscopist took a huge leap forward when I joined the St Johnston lab. I joined the team aiming to develop new methods to image and extract data from deep within tissues, which was part of a global collaboration between Cambridge, Oxford and Yale. Along with Jenny Richens, my colleague in the St Johnston lab, I worked closely with optical engineers George Sirinakis and Ed Allgeyer, who joined us in Cambridge, and Mariia Dmitrieva, a computer scientist in Jens Rittscher’s lab in Oxford. I also benefitted from joint lab meetings with the Bewersdorf, Booth, Rothman, Schepartz and Toomre labs.  These meetings were an amazing opportunity to meet and interact with scientists from a diverse range of backgrounds and showed me the advantage of bringing all the different field in microscopy together (and the importance of clear communication…)

Community building drew me to my previous job at the Node, the community site for developmental and stem cell biologists, and the sister site of FocalPlane. I’m hoping to bring my knowledge from the Node, along with my microscopy background, to continue the fantastic work of Esperanza Agullo-Pascual and Christos Kyprianou in making FocalPlane a useful resource for the microscopy community.

I’m looking forward to reaching out to the community, including all the fantastic societies and groups that already exist within the microscopy field, to find out what you want to see on FocalPlane. And remember, FocalPlane is your site, once registered anyone is free to post, comment, add events and jobs. You contact me at or with any suggestions, feedback, requests for help, or just to say hello. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Helen Zenner

Helen Zenner

FocalPlane Community Manager

Journal of Cell Science

The Company of Biologists, Cambridge, UK

1 Star (1 votes, average: 1.00 out of 1)

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