Applied Stem Cell Technologies


What we do

Every day we are pushing the boundaries of the stem cell research field. With one goal: bridging the gap between engineering and medicine. That's where we make our impact.

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Our research topics

Cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-CMs) hold great potential as human in vitro models for studying heart disease and for drug safety screening. Over the last decades, 3D in vitro models from hPSC-CMs have become a promising and highly advanced model for studying cardiac disease. The heart team is working towards more physiological novel human cell-based in vitro models of the human heart using hPSC-CMs. 


Visual impairment and blindness are a great threat to the life quality of an estimated 280 million people and a great burden for healthcare all over the world. Besides many retinal diseases, macular diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the main cause of visual impairment in elderly people. Even though millions of people are affected little is known of the underlying disease mechanisms and therefore the treatment provided is not effective and no cure is in reach. To better understand retinal diseases more suitable human in vitro models are needed. The Eye-on-chip team is working towards more physiological novel human cell-based in vitro models of the human retina. 


The gut-brain axis (GBA) is a bi-directional communication system that connects the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. The functioning of the GBA is also significantly affected by the bacteria in the intestine, which form the gut microbiome. Dysregulation of the gut-brain axis is implicated in a large number of neurodegenerative diseases and conditions. For an improved fundamental understanding of the microbiome-gut-brain axis and its functioning in health and disease, we are recreating the GBA using pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). To model the microbiome, we will introduce intestine-specific bacterial strains to the multi-organ culture on-chip.  

Stem cells
With induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, it is possible to produce stem cells from any person. By culturing the iPSCs in the lab, we can differentiate them into many different types of human tissues, including those of the heart, vessels, and nerves.

At AST, we use tools like CRISPR/Cas technology to genetically modify stem cells and produce stem cell-derived tissues that express fluorescent reporter proteins or carry specific disease-related genetic mutations. Moreover, we analyze the stem cells and the stem cells-derived tissues both by high-throughput/high-content imaging and by single cells analysis.

Our technology
hPSC differentiation

Human Pluripotent Stem Cells (hPSC) can generate all cell types of the body.
At AST, we can efficiently differentiate hPSC to multiple cell types to investigate both the pathways regulating their differentiation and model mechanisms of disease.
We differentiate towards: Cardiac Endothelial cells, Cardiac Epicardial cells, Cardiomyocytes, Cardiac Smooth muscle cells, Human intestinal organoids, Astrocytes, Brain organoids and Vagus nerve.

CRISPR/CAS genome editing

CRISPR/Cas is a state-of-the-art genome editing technology.
At AST, we use CRISPR to generate fluorescent reporter lines and disease lines harboring mutations associated with inherited disease.


Organ-on-chip models to recapitulate human (patho)-physiology.
At AST, we develop and apply organ-on-chip technology to study the structure and function of a variety of human organs.

3D Tissue engineering

3D Tissue engineering allows us to more closely mimic the in vivo situation.
At AST, we use different models for generating surrogates of human tissues for drug testing or disease modeling.


Organs-on-chips are realistic laboratory models of human tissues and organs, based on the culture of human cell material in microfluidic devices. Nanosensors and microactuators are integrated in the devices and generate a dynamic and realistic cell culture microenvironment. As a result of this technical-biological integration, organs-on-chips exhibit specific functions that are similar to those found in human organs. At AST, we develop and apply organ-on-chip technology to study the structure and function of the human heart and other organs.

Applied Stem Cell Technologies team

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