Cell Biology

Prof. Dr. Martin Zenke  
Universitätsklinikum Aachen
Pauwelsstrasse 30
52074 Aachen  

Helmholtz-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik
Pauwelsstrasse 20
52074 Aachen  
Phone.: +49 (0)241 80-80760 (Office), -80759 (Secretary)
Fax: +49 (0)241 80-82008

Division of Stem Cell Biology and Cellular Engineering
Prof. Dr. Dr. Wolfgang Wagner
Tel.:  +49 (0)241 80-88611

Division of Computational Biology
Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF) Aachen
Dr. Ivan Gesteira Costa Filho
Tel.:  +49 (0)241 80-80270


Research Focus

Cell identity and developmental potential are determined by genetic programs that integrate a myriad of external and internal signals. The focus of our research are stem cells, since they exhibit an exceptionally high growth and developmental potential. Stem cells are functionally defined by two unique attributes: their high self-renewal capacity and their multilineage differentiation potential. The presence of both characteristics in one cell is rare and sets these highly specialized cells aside from the majority of the somatic cell populations. Stem cells occur in almost all organs and are required for organ development and maintenance of organ integrity.

The laboratory has a along standing interest in hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and embryonic stem cells (ES cells), and their differentiated progeny, such as dendritic cells (DC). Additionally, efforts are directed towards enlarging the developmental potential of somatic cells by employing induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology. HSC and MSC reside in bone marrow in a highly specialized area, referred to as stem cell niche, and in this context we study HSC/MSC interactions in homeostasis, pathology and aging.

Biomedical engineering entails the development of biohybrid systems, comprising cells and engineered materials. Thus, the laboratory investigates the impact of natural and synthetic biomaterials on cell growth, differentiation and function. Furthermore, nanoparticle formulations are developed and used for cell tracking in vivo by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These studies are expected to provide valuable information for cell and tissue replacement therapy in regenerative medicine.