Cell differentiation


With human stem cells from sweat glands, the Cell Differentiation working group was able to open up a new cell source for regenerative medicine. The particular advantage of sweat gland-derived stem cells is their easy accessibility and ethical harmlessness. Animal experiments have already shown a positive effect on wound healing. In particular, the formation of new blood vessels (revascularisation) could be accelerated with stem cell treatment in animal experiments. Studies have shown that the effect of the stem cells is largely due to soluble (paracrine) factors which are released by the stem cells in the wound environment. Coculture studies have also shown that stem cells have a positive effect on the regeneration of peripheral nerves. The stem cells thus enhance natural wound healing many times over. In future, stem cells from sweat glands are to be made available for clinical applications. Another research area of the cell differentiation working group is the development of new in vitro test systems. Due to the EU-wide ban on animal testing for applications in the cosmetics industry as well as the strong demand for aluminium-free deodorants, the need for new in vitro skin test systems has risen sharply in recent years. Due to the long-standing and globally unique expertise in the field of stem cell isolation from glands and the production of organoids, cell technological know-how is available that can be used for the development of new test systems.

Fields of research

Cell-based therapy

Human adult stem cells from sweat glands (SGSCs) have great potential for regenerative therapies. In animal studies, SGSCs have already been shown to promote skin wound healing, resulting in increased revascularisation and faster wound closure. In the future, SGSCs are to be made available for clinical use. This will require an adaptation of the manufacturing and cultivation process according to GMP guidelines. In addition, further areas of application (e.g. biologisation of implants) are to be developed.

Physiological microtissues

In the future, the need for alternative methods to animal testing will increase strongly. Organotypic test systems represent an attractive alternative. In the WG, production and culture conditions for spheroids, organoids and organotypic ex-vivo models of different tissues were established. These enable the recording of functional tissue-specific parameters with the help of adapted measurement methods. In addition to image-based methods (e.g. calcium imaging), electrophysiological derivations of field potentials or biochemical assays are used. 

Cell-micament interaction

Effects and side effects of drugs on organs and organ systems are based on effects at the cellular level. The stem cells used and examined for cell therapy are therefore also subject to drug effects. In order to exclude undesired effects or even to detect positive effects of drugs on stem cells, drug interactions on cells cultivated in vitro are analysed.


  • Establishment of procedures for the isolation and differentiation of functional cells.
  • Establishment of procedures for the generation and cultivation of physiological microtissues.
  • Development of functional read-out systems


  • Cell culture and cell analysis
  • Time-lapse microscopy
  • Molecular biology research laboratory
  • Histological research laboratory
  • Laser scanning microscopy
  • Electrophysiological measuring station (MEA)