In October 2021, Michael Rosbash, the 2017 Nobel laureate, visited Leica Microsystems’ second largest German site in Mannheim. In a short interview, he shares his thoughts on technology and research, but also reveals why there are Leica products being used in his lab.
Mr. Rosbash, you won the Nobel Prize in 2017 for your discoveries. Can you give us some insights on what you are currently working on?
We are working on sleep, how and why fruit flies sleep. We know that similar to the history of circadian rhythms, fruit fly sleep resembles human sleep. So, studying the problem in this model organism should give us insights into this important and vexing issue for humans. We are also interested in general gene expression issues in the brain, including how it changes with age.
For your research lab in Boston, you just ordered the STELLARIS 8 DIVE multiphoton microscope. What are your expectations in terms of how the Leica microscope can support your research in the upcoming years and what influenced your decision?
The white light laser and also Leica Microsystems' responsive sales and service team.
Talking about medical research on a higher level: What challenges do you see in the future – how will innovation and technology change the way how we need to approach things?
I am fond of a saying by the late, great Sidney Brenner: Something like "Advances in science are driven by technical innovations, accidental findings, and ideas in that order." So new methods are key and the advances in microscopy over the past decade or so are excellent examples of this.
One last question. What is your personal vision? What would you like to achieve?
Well this keeps changing. I still really like running a lab, interacting with young people, and (hopefully) acting as a role model. It is always hard to guarantee, so I just try to work hard and tell the truth. In short -- and in the words of the Spike Lee film title -- "Do the right thing."
Michael Rosbash visited Germany together with his brother in October. He was a guest in Baden-Baden for the laying of the so-called "Stolpersteine" (stumbling blocks/stones). The stones symbolize the lives of Jewish citizens in Germany. Rosbash's parents had fled from Baden-Württemberg to the USA in 1939. The Nobel Prize winner was also able to visit the Leica Mannheim site during his travel in Germany.