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RESEARCH IN A NUTSHELL

Research is complicated and difficult for non-scientists to understand? Wrong!
We want to make our students' research clear.
Whether thesis, research project or publication - we explain it in three sentences:

1. What is it basically about
2. What do we do in concrete terms
3. What is our goal

Find here - understandable and „in a nutshell“ - what our students are researching.

 

Christoph Mayr, Postdoctoral Fellow (Research Group Single Cell Circuits in Systems Medicine of Lung Disease)

Future personalized interceptive medicine wants to assess early onset of disease in a pre‐clinical stage when the patient is still feeling healthy. To work toward this goal, we must understand the changes to cellular circuits in patient organs early in disease.

We showed that data transfer between single‐cell transcriptomic and body fluid proteomic modalities is possible and identified specific gene expression and frequency changes on cell type level and used histopathologically staged data to infer early changes in lung fibrosis patients.

The work provides an integrated single‐cell atlas of human lung fibrosis and novel biomarker signatures for monitoring the disease progression in lung fibrosis.

Fibrotic lung tissue

Find the publication here:
Christoph Mayr et al., EMBO 2021: Integrative analysis of cell state changes in lungfibrosis with peripheral protein biomarkers

 

Meshal Ansari, PhD Student (Research Group Single Cell Circuits in Systems Medicine of Lung Disease)

Project/Publication: Single-cell meta-analysis of SARS-CoV-2 entry genes across tissues and demographics

It is scientifically proven that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can enter a host cell by binding to the receptor ACE2. But what researchers across the globe want to know: Why does the virus not effect everyone equally, why is there such a high degree of heterogeneity in the expression of these receptors?

In the scope of the Human Cell Atlas consortium, we performed a meta-analysis of 31 lung single-cell RNA-sequencing studies with 228 individuals, without known lung disease. We analysed how the cell-specific expression of especially ACE2 is influenced by age, gender and whether the individual is a smoker or not. These included 31 studies of the lung and airways, and 85 studies of other diverse tissues.

We aimed to explore not only which cells have a higher risk of infection, but also which individuals might be more susceptible to viral entry. Such cell-type-specific expression patterns may contribute to the understanding of pathogenesis of COVID-19. We found that expression of entry factors increased with age and in males, including in airway secretory cells and alveolar type 2 cells, corresponding to clinical observations of COVID-19 patients.

ct showing pneumonia caused by Covid-19

CT showing pneumonia, caused by Covid-19 (right) - © LMU clinic Munich

Find the whole publication here:
Single-cell meta-analysis of SARS-CoV-2 entry genes across tissues and demographics
Christoph Muus et al, Nat Med 2021

Ali Doryab, PhD Student (Research Group Pulmonary Aerosol Delivery)

A zoo of hidden figures - can you spot the rhino, fish, hedgehog and snail in this image?
“This month in pictures” featured by Advanced Science News (click on picture for the link)
© Helmholtz-Zentrum München

Project/Publication: A Biomimetic, Copolymeric Membrane for CellStretch Experiments with Pulmonary Epithelial Cells at the AirLiquid Interface

To find new therapies for chronic respiratory diseases, researchers in their in vitro experiments have to imitate the complex environment and physiology of the human lung, which is very difficult.

For these experiments, we developed a membrane that mimics the main characteristics of the basement membrane in the lung alveolar.

This membrane offers considerable advantages over currently used membranes in terms of supporting cell growth and following cell-stretch experiments that may lead to more biomimetic in vitro models for translation of in vitro response studies into clinical outcome.

Find the whole publication here:  

A Biomimetic, Copolymeric Membrane for Cell‐Stretch Experiments with Pulmonary Epithelial Cells at the Air‐Liquid Interface
Doryab A. et al., Advanced Functional Materials, 2020

 

Maria Camila Melo Narvaez, PhD Student (Research Group Lung Repair and Regeneration)

Project/Publication: Lung regeneration - implications of the diseased niche and ageing

Most chronic and acute lung diseases are prevalent in the elderly population and have no cure, leaving lung transplantation as the only option.

For this reason we summarize the current knowledge about the regenerative capacity of the aged and diseased lung. 

We further review the newest developments for relevant human preclinical models that are important for the development of potential therapeutic applications.

Find the whole publication here:

"Lung regeneration: implications of the diseased niche and ageing"
M. Camila Melo-Narváez et al., European Respiratory Review, 2020

 

Pushkar Ramesh, PhD Student (Research Group Cellular Therapeutics in Chronic Lung Disease)

Scar – formed „in a dish“

Project/Publication: Injury triggers fascia fibroblast collective cell migration to drive scar formation through N-cadherin

Large deep wounds in mammals caused due to surgical or traumatic wounds resolves with exuberant scars whereby the entire process of scar formation and the cellular mechanisms are incompletely understood.   

In our study, we establish a simple tissue culture based assay termed “Scar-like tissue in a dish“ to create and visualize scar development in real time and to identify the prime molecule that orchestrates this scarring process.

Our aim is to utilize this tissue culture model to identify and modulate relevant cellular pathways to eventually achieve scarless wound healing.

Find the whole publication here: „Injury triggers fascia fibroblast collective cell migration to drive scar formation through N-cadherin”.
Jiang D et al., Nature Communications, 2020