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Cell Biology

The research group "Cell Biology" investigates the biology of adult stem cells, immune cells, endothelial precursors and fibroblasts as well as their possible role in musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. We are looking at the interaction between cells, mechanics and the extracellular matrix. Furthermore, we are concentrating on alterations of intrinsic cell functions in response to extrinsic stimuli, such as age or an altered immune response. Our long-term goal is to develop new therapeutic approaches to improve musculoskeletal tissue regeneration, especially for impaired healing cases.

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Metabolism In Fracture Healing

Within this project we aim to identify the impact local metabolic changes may have on regenerative cascades using bone repair as a model system.

Zusammenspiel von Stoffwechsel und Frakturheilung

Schematic overview of the different bone healing phases and the molecular processes present at the respective timepoints. From: Loeffler, J. et al. Trends Endocrin Metab

Bone healing is a well-orchestrated interplay of cellular and molecular processes. However, the cells involved face a variety of challenging situations in regards to oxygen, nutrient and energy supply. In fact, there is growing evidence that immune cells, mesenchymal stromal cells and other progenitor cells are sensitive to metabolic reprogramming and that the cells’ metabolic requirements affect additional cellular functions beyond the request for energy provision. While much research has focused on the impact of cellular metabolism on basic immune cell function or stem cell differentiation, it is widely unknown how local energetic changes or imbalances (e.g. patient comorbidities such as diabetes, inflammatory diseases or advanced age) and related cellular metabolic reprogramming affect cell signaling and function during tissue/bone regeneration. In this project, we investigate how the metabolic micro-milieu and alterations contribute to fracture healing and the how this is connected to development of bone non-union in compromised healing conditions. As a long-term goal, we want to use and apply the knowledge gained to develop new therapeutic concepts for the treatment of impaired bone healing.

Cooperation: BIMSB Berlin – Kempa lab, Dr. Stefan Kempa

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