Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (FRAU)

    fraunhofer ibmtResearch of practical utility lies at the heart of all activities pursued by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft ( Founded in 1949, the research society undertakes applied research that drives economic development and serves the wider benefit of society. Its services are solicited by customers and contractual partners in industry, the service sector and public administration. At present, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft maintains 69 institutes and research units. The majority of the nearly 24,500 staff are qualified scientists and engineers, who work with an annual research budget of more than 2.1 billion euros. More than 70 percent of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s contract research revenue is derived from contracts with industry and from publicly financed research projects. Almost 30 percent is contributed by the German federal and local governments in the form of base funding, enabling the institutes to work ahead on solutions to problems that will not become acutely relevant to industry and society until five or ten years from now.

    fraunhofer 2International collaborations with excellent research partners and innovative companies around the world ensure direct access to areas of the greatest importance to present and future scientific progress and economic development.

    Since many years the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT acts as a device and technology developer when it comes to the solution of individual research and development projects reaching from biomedical/medical engineering to nano(bio)technology. For more than 10 years, IBMT has been working in the field of stem cell research and hosting extensive cell line stocks in industrial and clinically structured biobanks.

    cryoThe Department of Cryo & Stem Cell Technologies is made up of four working groups – Pluripotency & Regeneration, Biomedical Optics, Automation Processes and Cryobiotechnology – whose joint objective is the standardization and automation of cell culture through the use of microfluidic/robotic platforms to develop fully and partially automated cell culture processes for the expansion, differentiation, cryopreservation and quality control of therapeutically relevant cell systems to ensure the permanent availability and consistent quality of the biological material. Essentially, microfluidic cell culture technologies, robotic platforms as well as assorted bioreactor systems are attuned to the specific requirements of pluripotent stem cells, like human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), and existing protocols are adapted accordingly. Furthermore, biopolymers (e. g. alginate) are evaluated and adapted in order to ensure better physiological conditions for stem cells and derived cells (e. g. cardiomyocytes) for the expansion and differentiation. In addition to this, innovative optical methods are being developed and integrated to investigate cell behaviour on the single cell level. Moreover, the advantages of automation, miniaturization and parallelization resulting from the use of microfluidic and robotic systems are also used to achieve rapid, cost-efficient and extremely consistent screening processes.

    bioprocessingIn the Department of Bioprocessing & Bioanalytics the development and testing of new application systems which should help to cross biological barriers, e. g. the blood-brain barrier or the gastro-intestinal barrier, are a main focus as well as deploying newly developed cell culture systems and testing procedures in the field of nanomedicine and nanotoxicology. The development of these new transportation methods for drugs as well as the examination of the chances and risks of nanoparticles are supported by different national and international joint projects. In these projects, a specific cancer targeting as crossing the BBB with drug-loaded nanoparticles was addressed.

    ultrasoundWith more than 40 scientists and engineers in five groups and over 18 years of experience, the department of ultrasound offers a wide competence within the range of ultrasound technology. The development offer reaches from consultation and feasibility studies over development of research models and prototypes up to the certified product development and evaluation. The competence of the groups permits an in-house development of all individual system components ranging from transducers over electronics to sensor manufacturing. IBMT has a longstanding expertise in the development of ultrasound systems and probes, both in technical and medical applications.

    IBMT is working on optoacoustic technologies for more than 12 years and has led several European FP6 and 7 projects on the topic, in particular on molecular imaging of contrast agents functionalized against prostate cancer, imaging of skin lesions and early detections of arthritis symptoms by combining optoacoustic & ultrasound technology. Just as in conventional ultrasound, IBMT covers all technological aspects involved in optoacoustic imaging from the physics of optoacoustic signal generation, development of receive electronics, algorithms for signal processing and image reconstruction and system integration. In particular, generation of optoacoustic signals with small low power light sources (laser diodes) has already been realized in the past.

    Representative Publications & Projects

    Participating Personnel

    Hagen Briesen
    Sylvia Wagner
    Julia Neubauer
    Marc Fournelle
    Ina Meiser

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