Petra Schwille studied Physics and Philosophy at the universities of Stuttgart and Göttingen. She completed her PhD research at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, and spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Cornell University. In 1999 she returned to the MPI in Göttingen as a group leader in Experimental Biophysics, before becoming a Professor of Biophysics at Dresden University of Technology in 2002. She relocated to Munich in 2012 to take up the role of Director at the MPI of Biochemistry. She has received numerous prizes, including the Philip Morris Research Award in 2004 and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2010. Petra’s research seeks to understand living systems at their most fundamental scale of interacting molecules. Her work has significantly advanced the development of Fluorescence Cross Correlation Spectroscopy (FCCS), a method of recording molecular processes within biological systems that provides new insight into the biochemical intricacies of living cells.