The research group "Technical Biology", headed by Prof. Dr. Janina Bahnemann, focuses on the fabrication and integration of 3D-printed microfluidic systems and the development of innovative biosensors for applications in the field of cell culture engineering and point-of-care diagnostics. A major focus here is on the development of new aptamer-based biosensors for the monitoring of cell culture processes as well as the design, production and integration of a new lab-on-a-chip system that enables continuous, transient gene transfer into host cells for the flexible production of recombinant proteins.
3D-PRINTED MICROFLUIDIC SYSTEMS
Within the Emmy Noether programme Development of integrated continuous flow systems for transient transfection, cultivation and monitoring of mammalian cells, novel microsystems are designed that are used in the field of cell culture technology.
- High-resolution 3D printing in the range of a few micrometers (15 - 50 μm)
- Rapid prototyping
- Microfluidic systems for cell culture technology
- Micromixers for gentle and rapid mixing of cells with reagents
- Transient transfection of mammalian cells for flexible production of recombinant proteins
- Integrated separation unit (e.g., spiral inertial microfluidics)
- Computer-aided design (CAD) and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations
CELL CULTURE TECHNOLOGY WITH MAMMALIAN CELLS
The research group uses 3D-printed microfluidic systems for the flexible production of recombinant proteins by enhanced transient transfection of mammalian cells. Furthermore, the group deals with biocompatibility studies to ensure an ideal environment for cell viability and recombinant protein production.
- CHO (chinese hamster ovary) cells,
- HEK (human embryonic kidney) cells,
- Biocompatibility studies of 3D printing material,
- Flow cytometry using Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS),
- 3D digital microscopy,
- Fluorescence microscopy
Aptamers are oligomeric, single-stranded nucleic acids that have highly affine and selective bonds to a target object via their three-dimensional structure. In comparison to antibodies, the in vitro selection of suitable nucleic acid sequences (SELEX) makes it possible to target non-immunogenic substances amongst others. Combined with appropriate sensing platforms, aptamers allow label-free and selective biosensors which we apploy for monitoring of bioprocesses to analyze target proteins and to detect microbial combinations (see Emmy Noether programme) as well as for the development of point of care diagnostics (funded by VolkswagenStiftung).
We achieved highly sensitive biosensors using
- Electromechanical quartz crystal microbalances (QCM),
- Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS),
- Optical porous silicon sensors.