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Tissue Engineering

Tissue Engineering comprises all investigations that aim at the optimization of the in vitro generation of cartilage and bone tissue from the technical point of view. In general, this work is primarily defined by the continuous variation of construction parameters and a subsequent comparison to native tissue with the intention to gradually improve the prerequisites for a successful application in regenerative medicine. Various aspects such as the choice between primary chondrocytes and mesenchymal stem cells for tissue construction, the selection of suitable scaffolds or the customization of culture protocols play a decisive role in this approach. Moreover, the application of mechanical stimuli and their effects on the physiological differentiation process is a focus. In order to enable a precise comparison of engineering an artificial tissue construct with the naturally occurring tissue development, additional focus is set on experiments that lead to a better understanding of how a pellet of aggregated cells gradually converts to a functional tissue in vitro. Techniques that allow for a space and time resolved analysis of the differentiation process are established for that purpose. The application of these methods will then be valuable to unravel if distinct cellular subpopulation exhibit beneficial or detrimental effects on tissue morphogenesis and if the enrichment of a specific cell type will lead to superior three-dimensional constructs. Since the majority of these approaches is characterized by considerable technical demands, the evaluation of novel analytical methods, the refinement of existing techniques as well as the development of customized devices also cover a substantial part of the work within the Tissue Engineering group.