Scalable process for differentiating pluripotent stem cells into definitive endoderm


Definitive endoderm (DE) is a structure in the early embryo, which develops into the respiratory epithelium, liver, pancreas and intestine, among other cell types. These progenitor cells can be differentiated from pluripotent stem cells. Anais Sahabian from the Olmer group (DZL Young Investigators Group) has now developed a protocol with which these cells can be differentiated from pluripotent stem cells independently of the substrate in suspension cultures and under defined conditions. The DE cells can thus be produced in large quantities, further differentiated into different cell types or frozen for later use. Possible areas of application are high throughput screening methods, toxicology studies and cell therapy. You can find more about the fascination on stem cell research and the motivation of the researchers on the website of the BREATH Research Network of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL, here). The original article in the scientific journal “Nature Protocols” can be found here.


Anais, Lika, Maike and Maria Elena successfully completed their PhD theses despite restrictions and social distancing


At LEBAO, too, we had to adapt the laboratory work to the pandemic rules and we are all doing our best to deal with the situation. In the midst of this crisis, Anais Sahabian (AG Olmer), Lika Drakhlis (AG Zweigerdt), Maike Kosanke (AG Martin) and Maria Elena Ricci Signorini (AG Gruh) completed and successfully defended their doctoral theses with excellent results. The four were enrolled in the international PhD program ‘Regenerative Sciences’. We are proud of this great achievement and congratulate the graduates! While Lika, Maike and Maria Elena started a postdoctoral position at the LEBAO, Anais has returned to her home country, the USA, to develop further in the field of lung research. We wish everyone lots of success on their further career path!

Text: Julia Dahlmann

From left: Anais Sahabian, Lika Drakhlis, Maike Kosanke, Maria Elena Ricci Signorini; Copyright: Praeploy Pongpamorn, Alexandra Haase, Robert Zweigerdt / LEBAO

Interdisciplinary team finds new approaches for PCD research


Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) is a very rare hereditary systemic disease, which leads, amongst other things, to secretion retention and, as a result, to chronic inflammation and often also chronic respiratory tract infection. Until now, further investigation into this disease has been hampered by the limited amount of cell material available for research. Thanks to interdisciplinary cooperation, BREATH scientists have now succeeded in producing induced pluripotent stem cells, with which unlimited amounts of test material can be manufactured.


Read more here.

Modern high-throughput screening and stem cell technology support the search for CFTR modulators

Working gropup of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Martin (first on the right), Dr. Ruth Olmer (first from the left) und Dr. Sylvia Merkert (in the middle) Copyright: Karin Kaiser / MHH


The genetic lung disease cystic fibrosis has remained incurable up to now. Only for certain types of mutation has the first therapy for CFTR modulators (CFTR = cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) been approved in Germany, allowing an etiological therapy of the disease-promoting defective CFTR ion channel. Scientists in the team led by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Martin and Dr. Ruth Olmer at Hannover Medical School (MHH) have developed a method of identifying further CFTR modulators using disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in high-throughput screening.


Read more here.

BREATH scientist develops protocol for the generation of clinically relevant amounts of endothelial cells

Dr. Ruth Olmer, Researcher at BREATH and working group leader at the LEBAO of the MHH.


Endothelial cells (ECs) are involved in a variety of cellular processes, e.g. the immune response, inflammation and regulation of blood flow. They are used in cell therapies and are an important component in the production of tissue constructs as well as in in vitro disease models. Although the isolation of primary ECs from different sources has been shown, the generation of sufficient cell levels in stable quality still remains a challenge. Ruth Olmer has now developed a scalable protocol for the generation of ECs from human induced pluripotent stem cells.


Read more here.


Further reports can be found here.