Field of Investigations

Stem Cell Biology

Embryonic stem (ES) cells are pluripotent. Pluripotency describes the capacity to differentiate into cell types of all three primary germ layers and into germ cells. In vivo, ES cells can be used for genetargeting to establish genetically altered mice. In vitro, they differentiate spontaneously into many cell types when cultivated as embryoid bodies (EBs). This process closely recapitulates embryogenesis. Using this model system of EB differentiation molecular mechanisms of cell differentiation can be studied in vitro.

Somatic cells can be reprogrammed to the pluripotent state. Such induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be diffentiated in vitro via EBs, in the same way as ES cells. When such somatic cells are derived from patients with genetically caused diseases they can, after repromming, be used for disease modeling by in vitro cell differentiation.