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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB

28 USA – Cardiac stem cell research Successful project completion The collaborative BMBF/CIRM funded (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and California Institute for Regenerative Medicine) project “Characterization and Engi- neering of the Cardiac Stem Cell Niche” between Fraunhofer IGB and the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and San Diego (UCSD) was successfully completed in 2015. For the past three years, the groups led by Prof. Katja Schenke- Layland (IGB), Prof. Ali Nsair M.D. (UCLA) and Prof. Shu Chien M.D. (UCSD) have focused on elucidating the composition and function of islet-1 positive microenvironments in the develop- ing human heart Islet- has been described as an identifier of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) in the heart. CPCs are of extreme interest for researchers seeking to dis- cover new therapies for heart attack (myocardial infarction) survivors as these cells have been shown to regenerate the damaged heart post-infarction. Major hurdles in the use of P s as a cardiac therapy are the definition of the proper cardiac cell type and the proliferation of these cells in enough number for human therapies. The overall goal of the project was to mimic the microenvironments of islet-1 clusters in a dynamic bioreactor system in order to derive the required amount of P s for human therapies The groups identified different islet- clusters within the heart and defined their transcriptional, morphological and protein characteristics, which were then translated into a bioreactor system to differ- entiate and mature pluripotent-derived cardiac cells. In future studies, the group plans to perform large animals myocardial infarct studies in preparation for phase 1 clinical trials. China – Semi-decentralized water management Guest scientist at Fraunhofer IGB Cooperation with China has been strongly strengthened by the internship of Dr. Liangfei Dong from Changzhou. He stayed and worked at Fraunhofer IGB from October 2014 to September 2015 supporting the Fraunhofer IGB semi- decentralized water management research team. In addition, he represented the IGB at the Congress BAU China 2015 in Bejing and organized the visit of delegates from the Chang- zhou Science & Technology Bureau September 14th, 2015. On his return visit to Changzhou, in November 2015, IGB scientist Dr.-Ing. Marius Mohr gave a lecture at the university on semi-decentralized water management. Together with Dr. Liangfei Dong, he also visited several companies showing interest in future cooperation. Both Marius Mohr and Liangfei Dong participated in the Water Expo Fair in Bejing, supporting the Baden-Württemberg International booth in cooperation with representatives from the European Network Architecture (e.n.a). He returned with several good contacts and interesting new approaches which will help intensify and strengthen the cooperation with China. Australia – Heart valve replacement Scientific exchange For her doctoral thesis “Electrospinning – a suitable method to generate scaffolds for regenerative medicine applications”, Dr. Svenja Hinderer was given the German Students Award by the Körber Foundation for her work on a cell-free heart valve replacement, which was performed at Fraunhofer IGB in the Department of Cell and Tissue Engineering. The stable yet elastic scaffold can be sterilized and is biocompatible – making it perfectly suitable for medical applications. The future goal is to develop a cell-free medical device that binds cells after implantation into the patient. The new material will besides other positive effects allow natural remodeling and growth of the valve making it a perfect material for pediatric patients. HIGHLIGHTS 2015 21 1 + 2 3