Developmental Biology

Center for Advanced Regenerative Engineering (CARE) on the way

Professor Hans Schöler, Director of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, welcomes the clear commitment to CARE made by the state government of North-Rhine Westphalia: “We are delighted to report that a firm agreement has been reached on the development of this important institute.” The proposed translational research centre will jointly further develop insights from basic research together with the business community so that they can provide a real benefit for patients in the form of new treatment and diagnostic processes. CARE was initiated by the MPI in Münster and Max Planck Innovation, the Max Planck Society’s technology transfer organisation.

Picture: Neural stem cells can become pluripotent. They can then be differentiated into smooth muscular cells that are found, for example, in blood and lymph vessels (red: muscle cells, bleu: cell nuclei). © MPI for Molecular Biomedicine – Kinarm Ko

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MPI for for Molecular Biomedicine: Somatic stem cells obtained from skin cells for first time ever

Skipping pluripotency ‘detour,’ Max Planck researcher Prof. Schöler again takes lead in stem cell research: Breaking new ground, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany, have succeeded in obtaining somatic stem cells from fully differentiated somatic cells.  Stem cell researcher Hans Schöler and his team took skin cells from mice and, using a unique combination of growth factors while ensuring appropriate culturing conditions, have managed to induce the cells’ differentiation into neuronal somatic stem cells. “Our research shows that reprogramming somatic cells does not require passing through a pluripotent stage,” explains Schöler.  “Thanks to this new approach, tissue regeneration is becoming a more streamlined – and safer – process.”

Picture: Immunofluorescence microscopy image of the induced neural stem cells using antibodies against two neural stem cell markers SSEA1 (red colour) and Olig2 (green colour). © MPI for Molecular Biomedicine

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MPI of Immunobiology and Epigenetics: Observing the maturation and movement of immune cells

For the first time, scientists follow the development of individual immune cells in a living zebrafish embryo. Thanks to their translucent tissue the embryos can be observed live under the microscope. So the researchers could observe the real-time development of T-cells, starting with the formation of the thymic anlage, via the cells’ migration into the organ from the bone marrow, right up to the stage when the fully formed T-cells are released from the thymus. The new method could, amongst other things, help with the development of drugs to treat malfunctions of the thymus.

This image depicts a four-day-old zebrafish embryo. The immune cells are illmuniated in green; the thymus tissue in red. The eye is visible in the top part of the picture. © Isabel Hess/Immunity, 16 February 2012



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