Current Lab Members

Name Position Email Phone
Franz, Antje Assistant to Anne Grapin-Botton +49 351 210-2730
Grapin-Botton, Anne Managing Director +49 351 210-2500
Hewitt, Louis Alexander Noble Predoc
Hilbig, Katharina Predoc
Keshara, Rashmiparvathi Predoc +49 351 210-2605
Kim, Yung Hae Staff Scientist +49 351 210-2671
Lee, Byung Ho Postdoc +49 351 210-2983
Leuschner, Marit Technician +49 351 210-2736
Lewis, Allison Predoc +49 351 210-2857
Liu, Jifeng Postdoc +49 351 210-2766
Petzold, Heike Technician +49 351 210-2743
Schewin, Coline Predoc +49 351 210-2676
Seijo Barandiaran, Irene Postdoc +49 351 210-2984
Tsang, Longhin David Predoc +49 351 210-2485
Yu, Xinren Guest Scientist

Louis Hewitt

Organoids serve as an excellent model for investigating the underlying principles of development. However, our current understanding of how cells self-organise into these complex structures remains limited. My aim is to improve our understanding of pancreatic organoid formation by investigating the role of cell-to-cell signalling in organoid formation, with a specific emphasis on Notch signalling. To accomplish this, I employ a diverse range of techniques, including in-vitro culturing of pancreatic progenitors, microfluidics, and live imaging. These methodologies enable me to track the formation, growth, and differentiation dynamics of pancreatic organoids, from dissociated cells to fully developed spheres.

Katharina Hilbig

Pancreatic development can be followed using 3D cell culture of pancreatic organoids and by interfering with the development of pancreatic progenitor cells. To date, small molecules, i.e. inhibitors of individual proteins that disrupt signaling pathways, have been used for this purpose to study their effect on pancreatic development. However, alternative methods need to be explored because inhibition alone has drawbacks such as the occupancy effect. I am a chemist co-supervised by André Nadler and my plan is to use small molecules called PROTACs to target specific proteins for degradation and use the cell's degradation machinery to study the response of the corresponding signaling pathways and evaluate the resulting consequences for pancreatic organoid development. This method offers the possibility to intervene in cellular signaling pathways at the post-translational level with spatiotemporal control.

Selcen Beydag-Tasöz

Although there is a considerable body of work on pancreatic endocrine cells due to their importance in regulation of blood glucose levels and consequently their link to wide-spread diseases such as diabetes mellitus, the development and fate choices these cells undergo in human have not been understood in detail yet. My project focuses on characterizing human pancreatic endocrine progenitors better, and trying to understand how they choose their subsequent endocrine fates. I mainly use in vitro pancreatic differentiation systems to characterize these cells via live imaging, analyzing their endocrine subtype commitment, transcriptional profile and thus the heterogeneity within the population.

Rashmiparvathi Keshara

I’m investigating self-organisation and cell fate decisions during pancreas development using hES cell-derived pancreatic organoids. I’m using two approaches; naturally occurring mutations causing permanent neonatal diabetes and biochemical screening.

Yung Hae Kim
Staff Scientist

I'm working on differentiation dynamics of pancreatic progenitors to endocrine lineage during pancreas development by observing pancreatic progenitors' behaviors at single-cell resolution from mouse embryonic pancreas and human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived pancreatic cells. I use 2-D and 3-D live imaging, lineage tracing, single-cell transcription analysis, hPSC differentiation, and hPSC-derived pancreatic organoids. I'm also collaborating with mathematicians/physicists to model our data and test the model experimentally. The ultimate goal is to be able to control progenitor expansion and/or endocrine differentiation to boost production of beta-cells in vitro as a mean of beta-cell replacement therapy for type 1 diabetes.

Byung Ho Lee

Byung Ho is studying the influence of biophysical stimuli on the growing pancreas and pancreatic organoids. He is particularly interested in how mechanical deformations influence branching and differentiation of the pancreas and pancreatic organoids.

Heike Petzold

In Spring 2018 I was responsible primarily for the relocation of Anne’s research laboratory from Copenhagen and establishment of a functioning lab in Dresden.
I am a very enthusiastic Senior Research Technician who has worked in a number of remarkable research laboratories. I have gained extensive experience and useful working skills throughout my career in a variety of research projects.
Today I use this knowledge as I support ongoing experiments and establish new methodologies within our group, advise incoming lab members and keep the lab business running smoothly.
My research project focuses on the role of apicobasal polarity in 3D pancreatic organoid cultures. Specifically, we are currently investigating what controls cell polarity in 3D organoids compared to sphere formation.
Our state-of-the-art microscopes will help to answer these and other open questions in the future.

Marit Leuschner

I work with human pluripotent stem cells, differentiate them into pancreatic cells and make pancreatic organoids. I characterize cells by flow cytometry, qPCR and immunofluorescent staining. I also take care of lab organization.

Allison Lewis

Progenitor cells are important during development to ensure there are sufficient cells to generate an organ of appropriate size and cell diversity; therefore, impairment of progenitor production, maintenance, or differentiation can result in organs of decreased size and functionality. Progenitors remain important during adulthood to ensure that as cells die they can be replenished by a cell of the correct identity. I am interested in understanding how cellular gene expression interacts with the tissue niche to control progenitor maintenance and differentiation during pancreas development, and use human organoid models to investigate this question.

Jifeng Liu

The pancreas is a crucial heterocrine gland organ of the human body, which secretes enzymes to digest food and hormones to control blood sugar levels. Dysfunctions of the pancreas can lead to many human diseases, such as the metabolic disease of diabetes. My research interest is to construct advanced 3D cell culture models by combining cells, material scaffolds, growth factors, and engineering methods to recapitulate individual or multiple structural and functional traits of the real human pancreas and use them to study how genetic mutations cause pancreatic diseases.

Coline Schewin

It was recently shown in our lab that during development, the early secretion of fluid in the pancreas likely shapes the structure of the ductal network that deliver enzymes digesting food from their production site, in acini, to the intestine (Dahl-Jensen et al., 2018). In my project I study the influence of exocrine secretion flow on the morphogenesis of this ductal network. I am particularly interested in how the flow is generated, how it is sensed and its influence on the remodeling of the ducts.

Irene Seijo

I am studying planar cell polarity during pancreas development. I am particularly interested in understanding how tissue asymmetry is established and to analyze its role on cell differentiation.