VPD Group

Reiner Bleher, PhD

Reiner BleherResearch Assistant Professor

Materials Science & Engineering

Northwestern University
Silverman Hall, Rm 4557
Chemistry of Life Processes Institute,
2170 Campus Drive
Evanston IL, 60208-3113

Tel: (847) 467-3540
Fax: (847) 467-6573

Email: r-bleher@northwestern.edu

Educational Background

2010 - Present
Research Assistant Professor at NUANCE/EPIC, Northwestern University, USA

2006 - 2010
Scientist at the International Center of Biotechnology of Minitube of America, USA. Focusing on the development of a method for identifying and labeling specific DNA sequences in biopsies, in embryos and in sperm cells with PNA-, LNA-, and TFO probe molecules.

2003 - 2006
Research Associate at UW Madison, USA. Development of a multiple labeling system using metal colloids and EFTEM for immuno-EM and for correlative microscopy.

2000 - 2003
Postdoc at the Central Facility of Electron Microscopy, Ulm University, Germany and at the University of Porto, Portugal. Research focusing onBiomineralization, and on protein synthesis in squid giant axons with TEM, EFTEM, and HRSEM.

1998 - 2000
Postdoc at the University of Ulm, Germany.Research on a Ca-channel protein with immuno-EM and immunofluorescence on human skeletal muscle and mouse retina, liver and kidney tissue.

1993 - 1998
Ph.D. thesis research at the Central Facility of Electron Microscopy, Ulm University, Germany. Title: “Immunocytochemical localization of phosphorylated and unphosphorylated histone-H1 in different cell-cycle phases of HeLa-cells”.

Research Objectives and Approach

  • Elemental mapping in cells and tissues

    • Development of sample preparation methods that retain the native distribution of the elements of interest
    • Microanalysis of biological samples applying EDS, EELS, and EFTEM
  • Development of a multiple labeling system for immuno-EM

    • Immunolabeling with markers that are distinguished based on their elemental composition

References and Publications

  • Hong BJ, Cho VY, Bleher R, Schatz GC, Nguyen ST. (2015) Enhancing DNA-Mediated Assemblies of Supramolecular Cage Dimers through Tuning Core Flexibility and DNA Length-A Combined Experimental-Modeling Study. J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Oct 21;137(41):13381-8. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b08678. Epub 2015 Oct 12. PubMed PMID: 26398097.
  • Wang X, Bleher R, Brown ME, Garcia JG, Dudek SM, Shekhawat GS, Dravid VP. (2015) Nano-Biomechanical Study of Spatio-Temporal Cytoskeleton Rearrangements that Determine Subcellular Mechanical Properties and Endothelial Permeability. Sci Rep. 2015 Jun 18;5:11097. doi: 10.1038/srep11097. PubMed PMID: 26086333.
  • Hong BJ, Eryazici I, Bleher R, Thaner RV, Mirkin CA, Nguyen ST. Directed Assembly of Nucleic Acid-Based Polymeric Nanoparticles from Molecular Tetravalent Cores. (2015) J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Jul 1;137(25):8184-91. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b03485. Epub 2015 Jun 19. PubMed PMID: 25980315.
  • Que EL, Bleher R, Duncan FE, Kong BY, Gleber SC, Vogt S, Chen S, Garwin SA, Bayer AR, Dravid VP, Woodruff TK, O'Halloran TV. (2015) Quantitative mapping of zinc fluxes in the mammalian egg reveals the origin of fertilization-induced zinc sparks. Nat Chem. 2015 Feb;7(2):130-9. doi: 10.1038/nchem.2133. Epub 2014 Dec 15. PubMed PMID: 25615666; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4315321.
  • Jaiswal MK, De M, Chou SS, Vasavada S, Bleher R, Prasad PV, Bahadur D, Dravid VP. Thermoresponsive magnetic hydrogels as theranostic nanoconstructs. (2014) ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 May 14;6(9):6237-47. doi: 10.1021/am501067j. Epub 2014 Apr 22. PubMed PMID: 24716547; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4025575.
  • Hong YP, Gleber SC, O'Halloran TV, Que EL, Bleher R, Vogt S, Woodruff TK, Jacobsen C. (2013) Alignment of low-dose X-ray fluorescence tomography images using differential phase contrast. J Synchrotron Radiat. 2014 Jan;21(Pt 1):229-34. doi: 10.1107/S1600577513029512. Epub 2013 Dec 12. PubMed PMID: 24365941; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3874022.
  • Young KL, Personick ML, Engel M, Damasceno PF, Barnaby SN, Bleher R, Li T, Glotzer SC, Lee B, Mirkin CA. (2013) A directional entropic force approach to assemble anisotropic nanoparticles into superlattices. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2013 Dec 23;52(52):13980-4. doi: 10.1002/ anie.201306009. Epub 2013 Nov 7. PubMed PMID: 24353226.
  • Raja MR, Waterman SR, Qiu J, Bleher R, Williamson PR, O'Halloran TV. (2013) A copper hyperaccumulation phenotype correlates with pathogenesis in Cryptococcus neoformans. Metallomics. 2013 Apr;5(4):363-71. doi: 10.1039/c3mt20220h. PubMed PMID: 23511945; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3658120.
  • Wu JS, Kim AM, Bleher R, Myers BD, Marvin RG, Inada H, Nakamura K, Zhang XF, Roth E, Li SY, Woodruff TK, O'Halloran TV, Dravid VP. Imaging and elemental mapping of biological specimens with a dual-EDS dedicated scanning transmission electron microscope. (2013) Ultramicroscopy. 2013 May;128:24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2013.01.004. Epub 2013 Feb 4. PubMed PMID: 23500508; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3658130.
  • Tang H, Duan C, Bleher R, Goldberg E. Human lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) rescues mouse Ldhc-null sperm function. (2013) Biol Reprod. 2013 Apr 18;88(4):96. doi:10.1095/biolreprod. 112.107011. Print 2013 Apr. PubMed PMID: 23467744; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4013880
  • Bleher R, Kandela IK, Meyer DA, and Albrecht RM (2008). Immuno-EM using colloidal metal nanoparticles and Electron Spectroscopic Imaging for colocalization at high spatial resolution. J. Microsc. 230(Pt 3):388-95. 
  • Kandela IK, Bleher R, Albrecht RM (2008). Immunolabeling for correlative light and electron microscopy on ultrathin   cryosections.Microsc, Microanal. Apr;14(2):159-65.
  • Narkar Y, Burnette R, Bleher R, Albrecht R, Kandela A, Robinson JR (2008). Evaluation of Mucosal Damage and Recovery in the Gastrointestinal Tract of Rats by a Penetration Enhancer.Pharm. Res. Jan. 25(1):25-38.
  • Lopez-Lima M, Bleher R, Forg T, Hafner M, Machado J (2008). Studies on a PMCA-like protein in the outer mantle epithelium of Anodonta cygnea: insights on calcium transcellular dynamics.J. Comp. Physiol. B. Jan.178(1):17-25.
  • Kandela IK, Bleher R, Albrecht RM (2007). Multiple Correlative Immunolabeling for Light and Electron Microscopy Using Fluorophores and Colloidal Metal Particles. J. Histochem. Cytochem., Oct; 55(10):983-90.
  • Ziegler A, Weihrauch D, Hagedorn M, Towle DW and Bleher R (2004). Expression and polarity reversal of V-type H+-ATPase during the mineralization-demineralization cycle in Porcellio scaber sternal epithelial cells.J. Exp. Biol., 207:1749-1756.
  • Bleher R and Machado J (2004). Paracellular pathway in the shell epithelium of Anodonta cygnea. J. Exp. Zoolog. Part A Comp. Exp. Biol., 301:419-27.
  • Soares-da-Silva I M, Ribeiro J, Valongo C, Pinto R., Vilanova M, Bleher R., and Machado J (2002). Cytometric, morphologic and enzymatic characterisation of hemocytes in Anodonta cygnea. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A Mol. Integr. Physiol., 132(3):541-53.
  • Bleher R and Martin R (2001). Ribosomes in the squid giant axon. Neuroscience, 107 (3), 527-534.
  • Ziegler A, Weihrauch D, and Bleher R (2000). A V-type H+ATPase in the calcium transporting anterior sternal epithelia cells of Porcellio scaber.Eur. J. Cell Biol, 79, 50.
  • Bleher R and Martin R (1999). Nucleo-cytoplasmic translocation of histone H1 during the HeLa cell cycle. Chromosoma, 108(5), 308-316. 
  • Martin R, Vaida B, Bleher R, Crispino M, Giuditta A (1998). Protein synthesizing units in presynaptic and postsynaptic domains of squid neurons.J. Cell Sci., 111(21), 3157-3166. 
  • Hopp U, Maier G, Bleher R (1997). Reproduction and adult longevity of five species of planktonic cyclopoid copepods reared on different diets: A comparative study. Freshwater Biology, 38(2), 289-300.


  • Didion, Bradley; Erwin, Whitney; Bleher, Reiner. Methods for gender-specific separation of sperm cells and embryos using oligonucleotides binding to gender-specific tandem telomeric  repeats on mammalian X or Y chromosomes.  (Minitube of America, Inc., USA). PCT Int. Appl. (2009), 29pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2 WO 2009079456 A2 20090625.


Recent Posters:



  • Invited Talk at the inaugural Capstone Seminar at NEIU on 10-29-2015. EM of biological samples.
  • Invited Talk in the Biotechnology Training Program 08-24-2012, Northwestern University: Electron Microscopy of Biological Samples.
  • Invited Talk at Argonne National Lab, 01-17-2012: Electron microscopy and microanalysis of biological samples.
  • Presentation in Advances in Molecular Endocrinology & Cancer Research (AME), 11-09-2010 at Northwestern University: Electron microscopy in biology.
  • Bleher R and Albrecht RM (2007). Immuno EM using colloidal metal nanoparticles and electron spectroscopic imaging for co-localization at high spatial resolution. Annual Meeting of the Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis society. Invited speaker.
  • Bleher R, Meyer DA, and Albrecht RM (2005). High resolution multiple labeling for immuno-EM applying metal colloids and energy filtering transmission electron microscopy (EFTEM). Microsc. Microanal. 11 (Suppl. 2, Proceedings of Microscopy and Microanalysis). Invited speaker.
  • Bleher R, Meyer DA, and Albrecht RM (2004). Multiple labeling for EM using colloidal particles of gold, palladium and platinum as markers. Microsc. Microanal. 10 (Suppl. 2, Proceedings of Microscopy and Microanalysis). Invited speaker.
  • Bleher R and Martin R (1994). Structural aspects of the processes leading to postmitotic nucleocytoplasmic compartmentation. Cell Biol. Int., 18(5), 411. Submitted poster was selected for oral presentation.


  • MSA, Microscopy Society of America
  • MSA, Focused Interest Group: Cryo Electron Microscopy
  • M3S, Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis Society
  • Member of the Review Panel for the Office for Research's Fall 2015 Equipment Proposal competition


  • Microscopy & Microanalysis
  • Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods