REBIRTH Mitglieder

Zweigerdt, Robert

Zweigerdt, Robert, Dr. rer. nat.

Work Group Leader

REBIRTH Unit Mass Production of Pluripotent Stem Cells and Derivates Leibniz Forschungslaboratorien für Biotechnologie und künstliche Organe (LEBAO), Klinik für Herz-, Thorax-, Transplantations- und Gefäßchirurgie (HTTG), Hannover Medical School


R. Zweigerdt (*1967), PhD, is group leader at the Leibniz Research Laboratories for Biotech-nology and Artificial Organs (LEBAO) at MHH and current coordinator of the EU H2020 net-work grant TECHNOBEAT. His research focuses process development and upscaling of pluripotent stem cells cultures and their differentiation into cardiovascular lineages, development of iPSC-based cellular therapies, disease modelling, and drug development. He combines know how from project management in biotech companies and group leading in several internationally renowned institutes and has numerous collaborations with industry partners.

Biography / About

Date of Birth:March, 1967
Function:Principal Investigator / Group leader


1986 - 1992Study of Biology, Braunschweig University of Technology Carolo Wilhelmina (TU Braunschweig), Germany. Extension: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology
1993Diploma Thesis; Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA), Braunschweig, Germany. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Joachim Schiemann, Director of the Institute for Biosafety of Genetically Modified Plants
01/1994 - 07/1998Ph.D. Thesis in Developmental Biology; TU Braunschweig Germany, Department of Cell- and Molecular Biology, Institute for Biochemistry and Biotechnology Thesis title: “Transcriptional regulation of the bHLH factors Myf-5 and Myf-6”, Grade: Excellent, 1.0. Supervisor and Director of Institute: Prof. Dr. H.H. Arnold

Academic appointments and Research posts:

09/1998 - 03/1999Postdoctoral fellow; TU Braunschweig, Germany. Facility for the generation and analysis of transgenic mice, Department of Cell- and Molecular Biology, Institute for Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Braun
04/1999 - 12/2003Program Manager; Cardion AG, Erkrath, Germany. Biopharmaceutical product discovery & company development
01/2004 - 09/2005Senior Scientist; Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany; Institute of Transplant Diagnostic & Cell Therapy. Director: Prof. Dr. Peter Wernet
10/2005 - 06/2007Program Manager; ES Cell International Pte Ltd, Singapore. Biotechnology product discovery & company development; CEO: Dr. Alan Colman
07/2007 - 02/2009Principle Investigator; Institute of Medical Biology (IMB), Singapore, Executive Director: Prof. Dr. E. Brigitte Lane
Since 03/2009Principle Investigator; Hannover Medical School, Germany, Directors: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Martin (LEBAO), Prof. Dr. Axel Haverich (HTTG)

Other professional activities:

Since 2006International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)
2006 - 2009Singapore Stem Cell Society (SSCS)
Since 2010Review Board des PhD Programs “Regenerative Science” of the clusters of excellence REBIRTH
2010 - 2013Advisory Board Member of: “Hamburg Center for Experimental Therapy Research” (HEXT)
Since 2013Member of: Deutscher Hochschulverband (DHV)
Since 2013Member of: German Stem Cell Network (GSCN); active partner of the working group “hiPSC Core Facilities” in GSCN
Since 2016Coordinator of the EU H2020 Projekts TECHNOBEAT

Major research interests:

  • Human pluripotent stem (hPSC) cell culture
  • GMP-complient process development and scale-up in controlled bioreactors
  • Scale-up of cardiomyogenic differentiation
  • Basic mechanisms of hPSC mesendodermal specification / differentiation
  • Human heart development


Besides the therapeutic application of hPSC-derived progenies for heart repair, the group is working on the development of cardiogenic organoids to investigate cardiac physiology and pathophysiologie in vitro. We are also working on bioreactor-based up-scaling of controlled processes for the mass production of haematopoitic lineages.

Selected Publications:

  1. Jara-Avaca M, Kempf H, Rückert M, Robles-Diaz D, Franke A, de la Roche J, Fischer M, Malan D, Sasse P, Solodenko W, Dräger G, Kirschning A, Martin U, Zweigerdt R. EBIO Does Not Induce Cardiomyogenesis in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells but Modulates Cardiac Subtype Enrichment by Lineage-Selective Survival. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Feb 14;8(2):305-317.
  2. Kempf H, Olmer R, Haase A, Franke A, Bolesani E, Schwanke K, Robles-Diaz D, Coffee M, Göhring G, Dräger G, Pötz O, Joos T, Martinez-Hackert E, Haverich A, Buettner FF, Martin U, Zweigerdt R. Bulk cell density and Wnt/TGFbeta signalling regulate mesendodermal patterning of human pluripotent stem cells. Nat Commun. 2016 Dec 9;7:13602.
  3. Kropp C, Kempf H, Robles-Diaz D, Franke A, Scheper T, Kinast K, Knorpp T, Joos T, Haverich A., Martin U, Zweigerdt R*, Olmer R* (* equal contribution) Impact of feeding strategies on the scalable expansion of human pluripotent stem cells in single-use stirred tank bioreactors. Stem Cells Translational Medicine; 2016
  4. Viereck J, Kumarswamy R, Foinquinos A, Xiao K, Avramopoulos P, Kunz M, Dittrich M, Maetzig T, Zimmer K, Remke J, Just A, Fendrich J, Scherf K, Bolesani E, Schambach A, Weidemann F, Zweigerdt R, de Windt LJ, Engelhardt S, Dandekar T, Batkai S, Thum T Long noncoding RNA Chast promotes cardiac remodeling. Science Translational Medicine. 2016. Feb 17;8(326):326ra22.
  5. Kempf H, Kropp C, Olmer R, Martin U, Zweigerdt R. Cardiac differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells in scalable suspension culture. Nature Protocols. 2015 Sep;10(9):1345-61.
  6. Kempf H, Olmer R, Kropp C, Rückert M, Jara-Avaca M, Robles-Diaz D, Franke A, Elliott DA, Wojciechowski D, Fischer M, Roa Lara A, Kensah G, Gruh I, Haverich A, Martin U, Zweigerdt R. Controlling expansion and cardiomyogenic differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells in scalable suspension culture. Stem Cell Reports 2014.
  7. Templin C, Zweigerdt R, Schwanke K, Olmer R, Ghadri JR, Emmert MY, Müller E, Küest SM, Cohrs S, Schibli R, Kronen R, Hilbe M, Reinisch A, Strunk D, Haverich A, Hoerstrup S, Lüscher TF, Kaufmann PA, Landmesser U, Martin U. Transplantation and Tracking of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells in a Pig Model of Myocardial Infarction: Assessment of Cell Survival, Engraftment and Distribution by Hybrid SPECT-CT Imaging of Sodium Iodide Symporter Trangene Expression. Circulation. 2012 Jul 24;126(4):430-9.
  8. Zweigerdt R*, Olmer R*, Singh H, Haverich A, Martin U. Scalable expansion of human pluripotent stem cells in suspension culture. Nature Protocols. 2011, Nov;32(21):2634-41. (* equal contribution).
  9. Haase A, Olmer R, Schwanke K, Wunderlich S, Merkert S, Hess C, Zweigerdt R, Gruh I, Meyer J, Wagner S, Maier LS, Han DW, Glage S, Miller K, Fischer P, Schöler HR, Martin U. Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from human cord blood. Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Oct 2;5(4):434-41.
  10. Crook JM, Peura TT, Kravets L, Bosman A, Buzzard JJ, Horne R, Hentze H, Dunn NR, Zweigerdt R, Chua R, Upshall A, Colman A. The generation of six clinical-grade human embryonic stem cell lines. Cell Stem Cell. 2007 Nov;1(5):490-4.

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