Visualisation of regeneration
The aim of this focus area is to unravel the kinetics and cell-cell interactions of regenerative cascades using sophisticated imaging technologies.
It has become evident that the key to complex processes such as regenerative cascades is the timing of the events. Functional insights into cellular and tissue matrix aspects are essential to gain an understanding of the 3D processes over time. Inflammatory cascades of healing will be visualised using specific markers developed (Bier’s lab) and visualised (Haag’s labs) in various clinically relevant animal models of regeneration (Perka’s, Radbruch’s, Reinke’s, Tschöpe’s, Volk’s labs). Once critical phases of healing have been identified, the underlying processes of spatial and temporal expression patterns of proteins (e.g. cytokines, growth factors); cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions; cell fate (e.g deep sequencing technologies); the synthesis of extracellular matrix and the regain of mechanical stability will be visualised using optical and acoustic microscopy and spectroscopy technologies e.g. High Content Screener, Multi-photon, Raman, SAM, ESEM, desktop and synchrotron radiation µCT, SAXS and WAXS (Fratzl’s, Lendlein’s, Raum’s labs). A particular strength lies in the coordinated data assessment in 3D, spatial merging and analysis of interaction of these multimodal and multi-scale data (Schütte’s lab). Although this provides a comprehensive 3D characterisation of various phases of healing, it is an in vitro approach. To allow in vivo monitoring, comprehensive imaging technologies capable of detecting specific molecules, cells and tissues at the site of injury or of providing quantitative information about the healing status will complement the assessment of the regenerative cascades of healing (e.g. life-cell imaging, nanoparticulate photo-acoustics, quantitative bio-acoustic microscopy; Raum’s, Lendlein’s labs) and visualise specific-binding (Bier’s lab) with genetically expressed contrast agents (Knaus’, Leutz’s, Mundlos' labs).