Area A: Basic Sciences of Regeneration

Area A is covering the basic science research activities of the REBIRTH Cluster of Excellence, and uses a broad experimental repertoire to elucidate molecular mechanisms relevant to the endeavours of regenerative medicine. In particular, we are studying various aspects of murine, non-human primate, porcine and human stem cell biology, as well as mouse and zebrafish models of development, regeneration or immune regulation. 9 REBIRTH units are integrated in Area A. They are organized into two collaborative research units (CRU), 'Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Programming' and 'Organogenesis'.

CRU 1: Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Programming

With respect to stem cell biology our main research activities are related to exploring fundamental principles in stem cell self-renewal, to basic mechanisms of epigenetic reprogramming, and to regulatory mechanisms of stem cell maintenance and differentiation in cells of various origins. Animal models are used to unravel molecular mechanisms underlying organogenesis, cell differentiation, proliferation and senescence

The ultimate aim of our projects is to deepen our knowledge of mechanisms that underlie normal differentiation and regenerative processes as a basis for translating these into novel therapeutic solutions.

More specifically, research in the field of stem cell biology focuses on the generation of safe and therapeutically applicable induced pluripotent stem cells and their use in disease modelling, pharmacotoxicological screenings or cell/tissue replacement therapies of cardiac, pulmonary, hepatic or haematopoietic diseases. In this context innovative gene therapy approaches are developed that allow for the permanent correction of mutated genes. Additionally, the glycan recognition potential and the glycomics of stem cells are investigated in normal development and diseases.

CRU 2: Organogenesis

Projects in the field of developmental biology and organogenesis investigate the function and mechanistic aspects of fundamental pathways involved in cell fate decisions, such as Notch signalling. Investigating principles of organogenesis, we will perform further research on ciliogenesis to characterize novel proteins that are important for cilia/basal body function.

Furthermore, with respect to the transcriptional control of organogenesis, we intend to elucidate the role of T-box genes during the regionalization and morphogenesis of the heart as well as during development of other organs. Our work on regenerative immunology aims to understand fundamental processes of lymphoid cell development in order to develop targeted therapies for immune regeneration.