Benjamin David Engel

Department of Molecular Structural Biology

Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

Am Klopferspitz 18, 82152 Martinsried, Germany

Phone: +49 (89) 8578-2653



ORCID Profile

Google Scholar Profile




                               Ph.D. Cell Biology



                               B.A. Molecular and Cell Biology with honors



2011 - present Postdoc (Project Leader since 2014), Wolfgang Baumeister, MPI of Biochemistry
We are using focused ion beam milling and cryo-electron tomography to study the in situ structural biology of macromolecules within native-state frozen cellular environments.
2010 Visiting Scientist, Ritsu Kamiya, University of Tokyo
I used electron microscopy to characterize a mutant strain isolated in my graduate studies.
Graduate Student, Wallace Marshall, UC San Francisco
I studied the relationship between intraflagellar transport and flagellar length control.
2001-2005 Research Associate, Carolyn Larabell, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
I studied cellular defense mechanisms during the early stages of breast cancer metastasis.
1998-2001 Student Intern, Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory



2017-2020 DFG Grant FOR2092, MPI of Biochemistry
2015 Junior Research Award, MPI of Biochemistry
2011-2013 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship, MPI of Biochemistry
2010 NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship, University of Tokyo
2008-2009 Genentech Graduate Fellowship, UC San Francisco
2003 Departmental Honors, Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley



2014-present Supervisor, graduate students Sahradha Albert, Tilak Gupta, Hugo van den Hoek, Luis Kuhn Cuellar, and Chia-Wei Lee; and post-docs Wojciech Wietrzynski and Anna Rast
May 2019 Instructor, Advanced Workshop on Cryo-Electron Tomography; Vienna, Austria
2005-2009 Research Mentor and Classroom TeacherUC San Francisco Science and Education Partnership



Jul 2019 SFB924 Colloquium; Freising, Germany
Jun 2019 Vrije Universiteit guest lecture; Amsterdam, the Netherlands
May 2019 Université Libre de Bruxelles guest lecture; Brussels, Belgium
Apr 2019 BiteSizeBio Webinar: Cryo-electron Tomography for Cell Biology
Mar 2019 Life Sciences Institute seminar series; Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Nov 2018 University of Vienna MFPL guest lecture; Vienna, Austria
Nov 2018 CNRS Aviesan meeting on How Cryo-EM meets Chemical Structure; Paris, France
Oct 2018 International Conference on Physics and Biological Systems; Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Oct 2018 Keynote speaker; Ohio State Cryo-EM for Cancer workshop, Columbus, OH, USA
Sep 2018 Molecular Horizons seminar; Wollongong, Australia
Sep 2018 International Microscopy Congress; Sydney, Australia
Sep 2018 NTU guest lecture; Singapore
Aug 2018 ETH guest lecture; Zurich, Switzerland
Aug 2018 Keynote speaker; ETH/PSI/Univ. Zurich BSM grad student retreat; Morschach, Switzerland
Jun 2018 International Chlamydomonas Conference; Washington, DC
Jun 2018 Princeton special seminar; Princeton, NJ
Jun 2018 Gordon Research Conference on 3D Electron Microscopy; Newport, RI
May 2018 MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology guest lecture; Marburg, Germany
Jan 2018 UCLA-DOE Institute guest lecture; Los Angeles, CA
Jan 2018 Western Photosynthesis Conference; Oracle, AZ
Nov 2017 CEA guest lecture; Grenoble, France
Aug 2017 German/Austrian/Swiss Microscopy Conference; Lausanne, Switzerland
Jul 2017 Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis; Newry, MN
Jul 2017 French Society of Microscopy; Bordeaux, France
Jun 2017 Symposium on Chloroplast Metabolism and Photosynthesis; Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Jun 2017 French Photosynthesis Society; Paris, France
Mar 2017 SFB 1208 Retreat; Schleiden, Germany
Nov 2016 Univ. Jena botanical colloquium; Jena, Germany
Oct 2016 Nordic Photosynthesis Congress; Copenhagen, Denmark
Aug 2016 International Congress of Photosynthesis; Maastricht, the Netherlands
Jun 2016 International Chlamydomonas Conference; Kyoto, Japan
Mar 2016 Michigan State Plant Research Laboratory seminar series; Lansing, MI
Dec 2015 American Society for Cell Biology minisymposium; San Diego, CA
Oct 2015 Univ. Sheffield molecular biology seminar series; Sheffield, United Kingdom
Jul 2015 Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis; Waltham, MA



PUBLICATIONS   *corresponding author

Schaffer M, Pfeffer S, Mahamid J, Kleindiek S, Laugks T, Albert S, Engel BD, Rummel A, Smith AJ, Baumeister W, Plitzko JM (2019). A cryo-FIB lift-out technique enables molecular-resolution cryo-ET within native Caenorhabditis elegans tissue. Nature Methods. 16: 757–762.

Theis J, Kumar Gupta T, Klingler J, Wan W, Albert S, Keller S, Engel BD*, Schroda M (2019). VIPP1 rods engulf membranes containing phosphatidylinositol phosphates. Scientific Reports. 9: 8725.

Rast A, Schaffer M, Albert S, Wan W, Pfeffer S, Beck F, Plitzko JM, Nickelsen J, Engel BD* (2019). Biogenic regions of cyanobacterial thylakoids form contact sites with the plasma membrane. Nature Plants. 5: 436-446.

Chicano A, Crosas E, Otón J, Melero R, Engel BD, Daban JR (2019). Frozen-hydrated chromatin from metaphase chromosomes has an interdigitated multilayer structure. The EMBO Journal. 38: e99769.

Schuller JM, Birrell JA, Tanaka H, Konuma T, Wulfhorst H, Cox N, Schuller SK, Thiemann J, Lubitz W, Sétif P, Ikegami T, Engel BD, Kurisu G, Nowaczyk MM (2019). Structural adaptations of photosynthetic complex I enable ferredoxin-dependent electron transfer. Science. 363:257-260.

Kovtun O, Leneva N, Bykov YS, Ariotti N, Teasdale RD, Schaffer M, Engel BD, Owen DJ, Briggs JAB, Collins BM (2018). Structure of the membrane-assembled retromer coat by cryo-electron tomography. Nature. 561:561–564.

Delarue M, Brittingham GP, Pfeffer S, Surovtsev IV, Pinglay S, Kennedy KJ, Schaffer M, Gutierrez JI, Sang D, Poterewicz G, Chung JK, Plitzko JM, Groves JT, Jacobs-Wagner C, Engel BD*, Holt LJ (2018). mTORC1 controls phase separation and the biophysical properties of the cytoplasm by tuning crowding. Cell. 174:338-349.e320.

Mosalaganti S, Kosinski J, Albert S, Schaffer M, Strenkert D, Salomé PA, Merchant SS, Plitzko JM, Baumeister W, Engel BD*, Beck M (2018). In situ architecture of the algal nuclear pore complex. Nature Communications. 9:2361.

Albert S, Schaffer M, Beck F, Mosalaganti S, Asano S, Thomas HF, Plitzko JM, Beck M, Baumeister W, Engel BD* (2017). Proteasomes tether to two distinct sites at the nuclear pore complex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 114: 13726-13731.

Bykov YS, Schaffer M, Dodonova SO, Albert S, Plitzko JM, Baumeister W, Engel BD*, Briggs JAG (2017). The structure of the COPI coat determined within the cell. eLife. 6:e32493.

Freeman Rosenzweig ES, Xu B, Kuhn Cuellar L, Martinez-Sanchez A, Schaffer M, Strauss M, Cartwright HN, Ronceray P, Plitzko JM, Förster F, Wingreen NS, Engel BD*, Mackinder LCM, Jonikas MC (2017). The Eukaryotic CO2-Concentrating Organelle Is Liquid-like and Exhibits Dynamic Reorganization. Cell. 171:148-162.e19.

Albanese P, Melero R, Engel BD, Grinzato A, Berto P, Manfredi M, Chiodoni A, Vargas J, Sorzano CÓS, Marengo E, Saracco G, Zanotti G, Carazo JM, Pagliano C (2017). Pea PSII-LHCII supercomplexes form pairs by making connections across the stromal gap. Scientific Reports. 7:10067

Pfeffer S, Dudek J, Schaffer M, Ng BG, Albert S, Plitzko JM, Baumeister W, Zimmermann R, Freeze HH, Engel BD*, Förster F (2017). Dissecting the molecular organization of the translocon-associated protein complex. Nature Communications. 8:14516.

Schaffer M, Mahamid J, Engel BD, Laugks T, Baumeister W, Plitzko J (2017). Optimized cryo-focused ion beam sample preparation aimed at in situ structural studies of membrane proteins. Journal of Structural Biology. 197:73-82.

Asano S, Engel BD, Baumeister W (2016). In situ cryo-electron tomography: a post-reductionist approach to structural biology. Journal of Molecular Biology. 428: 332–343.

Engel BD*, Schaffer M, Albert S, Asano S, Plitzko JM, Baumeister W (2015). In situ structural analysis of Golgi intracisternal protein arrays. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 112: 11264-11269. 

Schaffer M, Engel BD, Laugks T, Mahamid J, Plitzko JM, Baumeister W (2015). Cryo-focused ion beam sample preparation for imaging vitreous cells by cryo-electron tomography. Bio-protocol. 5: e1575.

Engel BD*, Schaffer M, Cuellar LK, Villa E, Plitzko JM, Baumeister W (2015). Native architecture of the Chlamydomonas chloroplast revealed by in situ cryo-electron tomography. eLife. 4: e04889.

Bhogaraju S, Weber K, Engel BD, Lechtreck KF, Lorentzen E (2014). Getting tubulin to the tip of the cilium: one IFT train, many different tubulin cargo‐binding sites? Bioessays. 36: 463-467.

Bhogaraju S, Engel BD, Lorentzen E (2013). Intraflagellar transport complex structure and cargo interactions. Cilia. 2:10.

Shih SM, Engel BD, Kocabas F, Bilyard T, Gennerich A, Marshall WF, Yildiz A (2013). Intraflagellar transport drives flagellar surface motility. eLife. 2: e00744.

Engel BD, Ishikawa H, Wemmer KA, Geimer S, Wakabayashi K, Hirono M, Craige B, Pazour GJ, Witman GB, Kamiya R, Marshall WF (2012). The role of retrograde intraflagellar transport in flagellar assembly, maintenance, and function. The Journal of Cell Biology. 199: 151-167.

Rigort A, Villa E, Bäuerlein FJ, Engel BD, Plitzko JM (2012). Integrative approaches for cellular cryo-electron tomography: correlative imaging and focused ion beam micromachining. Methods in Cell Biology. 111: 259-281.

Mizuno N, Taschner M, Engel BD, Lorentzen E (2012). Structural studies of ciliary components. Journal of Molecular Biology. 422: 163-180.

Engel BD, Ishikawa H, Feldman JL, Wilson CW, Chuang PT, Snedecor J, Williams J, Sun Z, Marshall WF (2011). A cell-based screen for inhibitors of flagella-driven motility in Chlamydomonas reveals a novel modulator of ciliary length and retrograde actin flow. Cytoskeleton. 68: 188-203.

Engel BD, Ludington WB, Marshall WF (2009). Intraflagellar transport particle size scales inversely with flagellar length: revisiting the balance-point length control model. The Journal of Cell Biology. 187: 81-89.

Engel BD, Lechtreck KF, Sakai T, Ikebe M, Witman GB, Marshall WF (2009). Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy of Chlamydomonas flagella. Methods in Cell Biology. 93: 155-176.



Prof. Wolfgang Baumeister

Postdoc Supervisor

Dept. of Molecular Structural Biology

Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

Am Klopferspitz 18

82152 Martinsried, Germany

Phone: +49 (89) 8578-2642

Fax: +49 (89) 8578-2641



Prof. Wallace Marshall

Ph.D. Supervisor

Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics

University of California, San Francisco

600 16th Street

San Francisco, CA 94158

Phone: 415-514-4304

Fax: 415-502-4315



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