Here we give you an insight into the current research topics of our team. You can get an overview of our already completed research projects in the research portal of the Universität Leipzig.
Current research projects
Neoteric Biomaterials for hiPSCs Monitorized Differentiation to RGCs: Creation, Microfabrication & Microfluidics
Microfluidic platforms for hiPSCs differentiation
To date, simple static 2D cultivation systems have generally been used for stem cell cultivation and stem cell differentiation. In order to be able to produce the resource, which is becoming increasingly important for applications such as the cell-therapeutic use of e.g Cell culture systems urgently needed. Within the framework of bioMAT4EYE, it is therefore the goal to develop optimal and novel strategies for the production of polysaccharide hydrogels, enzymatic and environmentally friendly chemical processes for modifying the surfaces of materials/structures and formulations of these materials with chitosan as a basis for novel bio-inks for use to be implemented in bioreactors. Along with the development of complex 2D+ and 3D cultivation systems, continuous, non-invasive functional monitoring and active control of the cell environment is useful and necessary, especially for differentiation and maturation processes lasting weeks and months (e.g. neuronal cell cultures). Dynamic, i.e. (micro)fluidic forms of cultivation are particularly suitable for this purpose. Cultivation under microfluidic conditions has shown how important this is for axon formation in the process of differentiation into neurons, including RGCs. In this context, novel microbioreactors with integrated chemical and physical sensors to be used under both inert and biologically relevant conditions (when working with hiPSCs and RGCs and during the differentiation process) are of crucial importance. The sub-project of the University of Leipzig is in charge of achieving the project goals "Implementation of advanced microelectrode array-based sensors in static and dynamic culture systems" to facilitate the differentiation of hiPSCs to RGCs and to be able to track label-free in real time Sub-project of the University of Leipzig important partner in the implementation of modelling, simulation and physicochemical tests of the developed structures and cultivation systems under microfluidic conditions.
- Impedimetric monitoring in microfluidic reaction systems for the detection of low-molecular active substances in flow
- Microfluidic positioning of 3D spheroids in microfluidic reaction systems for real-time biosensing flow chemistry derived drugs
- Advanced Technologies for Microsystems - Novel 3D_Microfluidic systems using selective laser etching on glass substrates
Our sub-projects within the framework of the DFG research group 2177 InCheM use impedance-based bioanalytics on vital cell models under microfluidic conditions on lab-on-a-chip systems. On such a microfluidic chip, low-molecular compounds can be detected in flow in real-time mode. Such microfluidic chips contain microreactors, micro free-flow electrophoresis areas, microchannel and mixer structures as well as microelectrode arrays for cell-based analytics. The overall system is capable of continuously separating low-molecular reaction products, separating organic solvents and testing the synthesis products directly in the cell-based microelectrode array. It is therefore a miniaturized laboratory in which chemical synthesis, protein purification and the detection of biological functions are integrated in a very small space for the first time. Researchers who develop active ingredients and want to test the effectiveness of bioactive lead substances quickly and reliably will benefit from the overall system.
The projekt ist founded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation).
Activatable and switchable polymers for hybrid organic electronics
Novel energy carriers, sensors and (dye) materials
In the joint project "Bio-Hybrid Organic Electronics", new conductive, electrically switchable, optically stimulable or mechanically activatable polymers are to be developed and tested. These polymer-chemical compounds should have new optoelectronic properties, especially through the implementation of bioorganic structures.
In sub-project 1, the identification, development and characterization of novel optoelectrically switchable polymers with various wavelength-dependent light emissions, e.g. on optically transparent thin-film semiconductor electrodes, is addressed. Activation of these functional polymers in a wavelength-dependent emissivity mode allows the development of innovative biosensors for the deployment, stimulation or detection of light-activatable molecules and chemical compounds as well as optogenetic cells. This project will focus on aspects such as investigating the mechanisms relating to the durability of light emission and translucency of these organic (polymer) electronics. The mechanism of coupled electrochromism is to be applied to new or to be developed electroactive polymers that can change their optical properties or their color code. This approach of bifunctional organic electronics with new electrical and optical properties has the potential to complement the portfolio of conventional silicon or conductor/semiconductor chips in (bio)sensor technology. The goal should be a chip based on this polymer electronics in order to be able to use electrochemical measurement methods to detect markers (biomolecules) or cells in medical diagnostics or in food technology and environmental monitoring and to be able to detect them online in live mode.
Individualized therapy using stem cell-based in vitro phenotyping in patients with heart disease
The aim of the joint project "PhenoCor - Individualized therapy through stem cell-based in vitro phenotyping in patients with heart diseases" is to develop an innovative high-density microelectrode array-based bioelectronic screening system. This system offers the opportunity for patients with genetic heart diseases to enable more precise and effective in vitro stratification, model-based therapy planning and clinical safety pharmacology. The device to be developed offers a combination of real-time measurement methods such as electrochemical (bio)impedance spectroscopy (EIS), impedance tomography (EIT) and electrophysiological derivation in connection with optical readout methods. This makes it possible to record the complex in-vitro electrophysiological phenotype (field potential and rotor-shaped excitation propagation) of the heart muscle cell cultures and the effects of the available active substances on this phenotype. In addition, parameters such as vitality, differentiation status, cell size (hypertrophy) and contraction or biomechanics are recorded.
Subproject 2 focuses on the development of the high-density microelectrode array. In order to achieve high spatial resolution, a novel array of high-density microelectrodes is being developed. In order to enable parallel, trouble-free data acquisition from all microelectrodes, finite element method (FEM)-based simulations are used for the developments in order to achieve the optimal configuration and geometry of the microelectrodes and conductor tracks. A fluidic cultivation attachment is being developed and coupled to the high-density microelectrode array for a continuous and stable supply of the cells to be analyzed.