Ellen Juel Pørtner is a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern Denmark, at the biophysics department known as PhyLife. Ellen is a physicist introduced to the world of biophysics via the method of atomic force microscopy (AFM), which allows the user to (among other things) create topography maps with nanometer-resolution, and probe interactions at the piconewton scale. She uses this technique, combined with fluorescence microscopy, to characterize the mechanics of cancer cell nuclei under various conditions. Nuclei, being the largest organelle in the animal cell, have a large impact on the overall mechanics of the cell. Thus, the mechanics of the nucleus, as well as any changes that might be induced, are of great interest. Ellen also uses AFM to study protein-membrane interactions on lipid bilayer model systems.