ProjectsEngineering 3D tissue models for high-throughput drug imaging
Organoids are 3D cell culture models that can be established from biopsies of several kinds of human tissues and cancers. They closely resemble healthy or diseased epithelium by conserving the morphological and molecular characteristics of their tissue of origin in culture, making healthy and tumor tissues available for functional experiments. We are highly interested in the interplay of genes in oncogenic signaling pathways and finding novel targets for therapeutic interventions. By engineering specific mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes using genome-engineering technologies in organoids, we aim to assess their contribution to the cancerous state and to dysregulated cancer signaling pathways. Furthermore, organoid cultures allow us to dive into intra-tumor heterogeneity and drug response. To this end, we establish novel experimental platforms for high throughput drug screening and high-content image based screening to explore drug response, drug mode-of-action and biological mechanisms behind response and resistance. We are also interested in how the interplay of signaling, cell-cell interactions and environmental cues influence cell identity and self-organization of multicellular systems.