Individual cells, complex cell systems and cell-matrix constructs are increasingly important in both the diagnostic and therapeutic areas of biomedical research. In the pure cluster or on functionalized surfaces, human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) with their extensive differentiation potential, as well as highly specialized cells (e. g., cardiomyocytes or neurons) are used, among other things, as disease models in basic research or as model systems for the development of active substances.
The working group Cryobiotechnology is concerned with the development of innovative concepts for integration of the required cell cultivation and processing sequences in automation technologies in terms of miniaturization and parallelization, particularly in the field of stem cell research. All of the necessary steps, from the cultivation of the original cells and their preparation (differentiation/tissue engineering), their long-term storage at cryogenic temperatures as well as the application of the biological products, for example in toxicological screenings, are covered.
In order to secure the constant availability of sufficient quantities of high-quality biological material, the working group Cryobiotechnology is particularly concerned to develop new protocols for cryopreservation with chemically defined, serum-free media. Innovative cryopreservation technologies are being developed with the aid of substrates and surfaces tailored to the respective application. The unique requirements of different cell types are taken into consideration here (e. g. preservation of the cell-cell contacts in retina cell monolayer) in order to preserve their respective functionality. Through the use of functionalized biopolymers it is thus possible to realize, for example, the rapid freezing of hiPSCs without the formation of ice crystals (vitrification) with highly preserved adhesion contacts.
The focus areas of the working group Cryobiotechnology can be summarized as follows:
- establishment of cell and tissue-specific cryopreservation protocols
- development of innovative vitrification technologies for adherent cell systems
- conception and development of innovative laboratory processes and products with respect to their automation potential