MIRA University of Twente


3D Engineered heart tissue for vitro testing and cardiac repair

Professor Thomas Eschenhagen
Department of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, Germany

Dr. Eschenhagen has concentrated his research efforts on understanding molecular mechanisms of heart failure with a focus on b-adrenergic signaling, its adaptation in heart failure and consequences on contractile function. He is best known for his pioneering work on 3-dimensional engineered heart tissue (EHT) from primary cardiac cells, starting 1994 in collaboration with Elliot Elson, St. Louis, USA. Originally designed as an improved in vitro model for drug testing and target validation, the EHT technology has been expanded to an automated 24-well screening platform. In combination with human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte, this technique opens new perspectives in biomedicine, e.g. medium throughput drug screening, LQT and cardiotoxicity testing, disease modeling and cardiac regeneration. Dr. Eschenhagen and his group have recently shown that EHTs survive after implantation on injured guinea-pig hearts, can couple to host myocardium and improve cardiac function.

For his contributions to science, he received the Fraenkel Award of the German Society of Cardiology (1997) and the Outstanding Investigator Award of the ISHR (2012). He is member of the German Academy of Science Leopoldina (2008) and received an ERC Advanced Grant (2013).

He is also chairman of board of directors of the German Centre of Cardiovascular Research (DZHK).