Angiogenesis and Immunomechanics

Healing begins with the self-organisation of cells in the wound to reestablish structured tissue and restore the mechanical stability and intrinsic pretension of the injured matrix lost through the injury. Our aim is to decipher this independent organisation of fibroblasts, vascular precursors, immune cells and mechanical instability in the complex environment of the tissue. A better understanding of this interplay forms the basis for novel therapeutic approaches in musculoskeletal regeneration.

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Steering of Regeneration
Osmotic modulation to influence osteogenic differentiation of MSCs

The project aims at understanding the influence of varying osmotic environments on cell-matrix interactions. For this purpose, effect on cell and tissue level are investigated separately and combined.

How does osmotic modulation of the extracellular matrix affect the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs)?

Tissue hydration and water binding affects many processes in human physiology. On a cellular level, osmotic pressure influences cell fate decisions of mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs). However, such cell behavior was investigated mainly in 2D cell culture experiments so far. On tissue level, it was shown that hydration affects extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanics.

With focus on the tissue level, we investigate how hydration and water binding affect ECM biophysical properties. For this, we employ mechanical characterization methods and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) T1 and T2* mapping in collaboration with the Medical Physics Group at University Hospital Jena.

Bringing together cell and tissue level, we  furthermore want to unravel how cell-matrix interactions are influenced by changing osmotic environments. In collaboration with David Mooney, we therefore employ biomaterials as artificial cell microenvironments to study MSC function.