Our project requires knowledge and infrastructure from diverse research fields and a particularly close collaboration and frequent exchange. FLOW FOR LIFE brings together experts and infrastructure from five engineering and natural science departments at the TU Darmstadt and forms a team of scientists working together and supporting each other. This is essential to tackle unforeseen challenges that interdisciplinary approaches typically entail.

Meet our researchers

Mariana Acedo Mestre, PhD student

My goal in Flow for Life is to place live cells around the artificial network using bioprinting. For this I face myself with the exiting task of developing new bioinks and biofabrication technologies that best fit the needs of both the cells and the in this project designed vasculature network. I am very excited of working in such an interdisciplinary team!

BioMedical Printing Technology

Markus Biesalski, Professor

With a creative team of researchers, we combine polymer science & paper chemistry, to develop innovative and sustainable materials, with fields of application progressing from coatings to construction materials and paper-based microfluidic devices.

Macromolecular and Paper Chemistry

Andreas Blaeser, Professor

Main focus areas of our group are modelling and experimental research of various mechanisms and phenomena for the transport of biomaterials and their interaction with living cells. We address major biofabrication challenges, such as the parallel printing of multifunctional material composites with different physical, chemical and biological properties.

BioMedical Printing Technology

Cristina Cardoso, Professor

Our group is interested in elucidating how the mammalian (epi)genome is maintained throughout cell divisions and how the epigenetic information is translated into spatial chromatin structure and activity during differentiation, reprogramming and disease. We make use of a variety of biochemical, molecular and cell biological methods with particular emphasis on advanced live-cell and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy.

Cell biology and epigenetics

Bastian Etzold, Professor

The research in the Etzold Lab aims to deepen the understanding of the activity transport nexus in heterogeneously catalysed and electrochemical reactions. The knowledge on gas transport in multiphase systems will be employed to design a dynamic oxygen saturator. Furthermore, the possibility to produce oxygen electrochemically directly within the nutrient solution will be studied.

Etzold Lab

Anna Fritschen, PhD student

My goal in FFL is to fabricate a porous artificial vessel network with a state-of-the-art, highly resolved 3D-print system (2-photon-polymerisation), aiming to provide the tissue models with sufficient oxygen and nutrients during cell culture. By taking fluid mechanics, optical analysis, cell culture needs and 3D-printing together, I aim to provide highly biomimetic vessel networks for the project.

BioMedical Printing Technology

Picture: Katrin Binner

Steffen Hardt, Professor

We deal with transport phenomena in fluids on the nano- and micrometer scale. Breaking new scientific ground fascinates us, but we keep applications in mind. These can be in different fields such as sustainability, energy conversion, process engineering or (bio)chemical analytics.

Nano- and Microfluidics

Sascha Hauck, PhD student

My work focuses on using neural networks and complex cell models to analyze our cell aggregates to give my colleagues an understanding of what is going on within the structure in question. This work in particular is extremely exciting because it gives me the opportunity to combine my interests in artificial intelligence and self-organization principles within an interesting interdisciplinary project.

Bioinspired Communication Systems

Jeanette Hussong, Professor (scientific coordinator)

We investigate and teach in the area of unsteady, multiphase or aerodynamic flows. The aim is to improve the fundamental understanding of technically relevant flow processes with the help of current experimental, numerical or analytical methods and to derive predictive models from generic investigations.

Institute for Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics

Regine von Klitzing, Professor

We work in the area of phases and interfaces and examine the interactions in thin liquid films and at the air/water interface. Another main focus is responsive soft matter such as polyelectrolyte multilayers, polymer brushes, and hydrogels.

Soft Matter at Interfaces

Heinz Koeppl, Professor

We perform research on self-organisation principles and address the question of how those principles can be put to use in artificial, engineering systems. We look at different domains with our main focus being molecular biology, in particular synthetic biology.

Bioinspired Communication Systems

Souraj Mandal, PhD student

Within this exciting project, my focus is to line the interior surface of the artificial network with microgel as coupling agents for endothelial cells. The unique characteristics of microgels can also provide the necessary microenvironment for the migration of endothelial cells. For this, I will synthesize and characterize functional microgels that are mechanically stable to flows of nutrient solutions. I am very excited to work on this multidisciplinary project where I can collaborate with scientists from various exciting fields.

Soft Matter at Interfaces

Lukas Neuenfeld, PhD student

My goal in Flow for Life is to cultivate a 3D cell culture in a paper-based hollow fiber network. An automated, long-term and optimal supply of the cell network should be made possible. I am faced with the exciting task of developing a special paper-based microfluidic device. I am very happy to work in such an interdisciplinary team.

Macromolecular and Paper Chemistry

Ulrike Nuber, Professor (scientific coordinator)

We aim to understand and control the fate and spatial arrangement of developing cells, focusing on neural cell types. For this purpose, we employ various methods, including genome engineering to generate human induced pluripotent stem cell reporter lines, prospective isolation of defined cell types by multicolor flow cytometry, and development and application of fluidic devices to control 3D patterning of cell aggregates.

Stem cell and developmental biology

Mareike Schmidt, PhD student

My goal in Flow for Life is to control the oxygen level in the nutrient solution, for which I will build a dynamic oxygen saturator. Furthermore, I will investigate the direct electrochemical production of oxygen within the nutrient solution.

Etzold Lab

Behnaz Shamsizadeh, PhD student

My work is to focus on simulation and design and optimisation of a microfluidic network with considering the transportion and spatial distribution of oxygen and nutrients in cell aggregates. Furthermore, we ensure that the oxygen and nutrient supply can be determined and controlled. Lastly, we characterise their influence on the development and long-term maintenance of organ-like human cell aggregates. By combining engineering with biological principles, and synthetic with biological materials, we aim to create three-dimensional hybrid tissues ex vivo.

Nano- and Microfluidics

Till Werner, PhD student

My goal is to experimentally characterize the fluid flow and oxygen supply in the artificial network, taking into account all real-world effects. The resulting data will serve as the basis for an empirically supported network design and its validation. Moreover, it will allow us to investigate the influence of different flow conditions on the endothelialization of the artificial network.

Institute for Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics

Darius Leon Zibulski, PhD student

Within the FLOW FOR LIFE project, I generate vascularized and non-vascularized spheroids with an embryonic brain cell identity, from which the brain tissue around the artificial vascular network will be built.

Stem cell and developmental biology


Dipl. Biol. Michaela Becker-Röck


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