Stefan W. Hell (born in 1962) received his doctorate in physics from the University of Heidelberg in 1990, followed by a research stay at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg. From 1993 to 1996, he worked as a senior researcher at the University of Turku, Finland, where he developed the principle of STED microscopy. In 1997, he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen (Germany), where he set up his current research group dedicated to sub-diffraction-resolution microscopy. He was appointed a Max Planck Director in 2002 and currently leads the Department of NanoBiophotonics at the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry and the Department of Optical Nanoscopy at the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg (Germany).
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