Tissue technology

  • 3D printing to repair damage in the human body

    Dr. Ivan Minev in front of his 3D printer © BIOTEC

    Freigeist Fellowship supports Dr. Ivan Minev in using 3D printing to find ways to repair damage in the human body.
    Dr. Ivan Minev, research group leader at the BIOTEC/CRTD, has been awarded a Freigeist Fellowship from the VolkswagenStiftung. This five-year, 920.000 EUR grant will enable him to establish his own research team. The ‘Freigeist’ initiative is directed toward enthusiastic scientists and scholars with an outstanding record that are given the opportunity to enjoy maximum freedom in their early scientific career.

  • COPD – what causes the lungs to lose their ability to heal?

    The molecule Wnt5a prevents the repair of structures in the lung of COPD patients. Shown here are the alveolar epithelium (green) and immune cells (red). Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the patients’ lungs lose their ability to repair damages on their own. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) now have a new idea as to why this might be so. In the ‘Journal of Experimental Medicine’, they blame the molecule Wnt5a for this problem. The first indication of COPD is usually a chronic cough. As the disease progresses, the airways narrow and often pulmonary emphysema develops. This indicates irreversible expansion and damage to the alveoli, or air sacks. "The body is no longer able to repair the destroyed structures," explains Dr. Dr. Melanie Königshoff, head of the Research Unit Lung Repair and Regeneration (LRR) at the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC) of Helmholtz Zentrum München. She and her team have made it their job to understand how this happens.

  • Guards of the human immune system unraveled

    Dendritic cells in lymphatic tissues are mainly influenced by their genetic identity, while in lungs and skin dendritic cells are predominantly affected by tissue-specific factors. © Carla Schaffer / AAAS

    Dendritic cells represent an important component of the immune system: they recognize and engulf invaders, which subsequently triggers a pathogen-specific immune response. Scientists of the University Hospital Erlangen of the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and the LIMES (Life and Medical Sciences) Institute of the University of Bonn gained substantial knowledge of human dendritic cells, which might contribute to the development of immune therapies in the future. The results were recently published in the Journal “Science Immunology”.

  • Manufacturing Live Tissue with a 3D Printer

    Among the 300 finalist teams this year there were twelve from Germany, including this joint team from TUM and LMU of Munich. (Photo: TUM/ A. Heddergott)

    At the international iGEM academic competition in the field of synthetic biology, the joint team of students from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) won the first rank (Grand Prize) in the “Overgraduate” category. The team from Munich developed an innovative process which allows intact tissue to be built with the use of a 3D printer.

  • Research team at the CRTD identifies cells that form new bone during Axolotl finger regeneration

    Joshua Currie and Elly Tanaka. © CRTD

    At the DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) - Cluster of Excellence at the TU Dresden, a team of researchers lead by Joshua Currie, PhD, and Elly Tanaka, PhD, used live imaging during axolotl regeneration to identify the unique migration kinetics of various connective tissue cell types which choreograph their fate and tissue contribution during regeneration. The results were published in the scientific journal Developmental Cell on November 21, 2016.

  • Second research flight into zero gravity

    The team of UZH in zero gravity. UZH

    Tomorrow, a parabolic flight is set to take off from Swiss soil for the second time. It will be carrying experiments from various Swiss universities on board to research the effects of zero gravity on biological and physical processes, and test technologies. With this flight, the second from the air force base in Dübendorf within one year, the Swiss Research Station for Zero Gravity initiated by the University of Zurich has got off to a flying start.

  • Successes with heart tissue patches from the lab

    Engineered heart tissue grown in the lab is sewn on to the heart like a patch. Photo: DZHK/Weinberger

    Myocardial patches generated in the lab can be grafted on to damaged guinea pig hearts to improve heart function. That is what a team of researchers from Germany, Norway, Scotland and the USA found out and reported now in Science Translational Medicine. Zebra fish and a few amphibian species can do it, mammals and humans cannot: that is replace dead myocardial cells with new ones. In humans a scar is left in the myocardium following an infarction and heart function usually permanently deteriorates.

  • Virtual Reality in Medicine: New Opportunities for Diagnostics and Surgical Planning

    With SpectoVive, doctors can interact in a three-dimensional space with a part of the body that requires surgery. Screenshot: University of Basel

    Before an operation, surgeons have to obtain the most precise image possible of the anatomical structures of the part of the body undergoing surgery. University of Basel researchers have now developed a technology that uses computed tomography data to generate a three-dimensional image in real time for use in a virtual environment. The planning of a surgical procedure is an essential part of successful treatment. To determine how best to carry out procedures and where to make an incision, surgeons need to obtain as realistic an image as possible of anatomical structures such as bones, blood vessels, and tissues.

  • When fat cells change their colour

    The Freiburg researchers selectively ablated Lsd1 and inactivated its catalytic activity in brown adipocytes, which triggered a profound whitening of brown adipose tissue.

    The epigenetic enzyme Lsd1 plays an important role in maintaining brown fat tissue. In mammals, three types of adipose tissues exist. White adipocytes are mainly located in the abdominal and subcutaneous areas of the body and highly adapted to store excess energy. Conversely, beige and brown adipocytes are highly energy-expending by generating heat. A team with the Freiburg researchers Prof. Dr. Roland Schuele and Dr. Delphine Duteil has now shown that the epigenetic enzyme lysine-specific demethylase 1 (Lsd1) plays a key role in maintaining the metabolic properties of brown fat.