At Si-M, scientists from various disciplines will work at the intersection of engineering and medicine to simulate the functions of human cells and tissues with new technologies of 3D cultivation, multi-organ chips or 3D bioprinting. The focus is on the joint development of human models and modern analysis technologies with a focus on oncological, immunological and regenerative issues. The coupled simulation of several human tissues opens up completely new research approaches, especially in the field of new cancer therapies and infections, which have a high clinical relevance. The infrastructure of the facility allows characterization of the models at the highest level down to the molecular level, for example in protein and nucleic acid analysis.
The research program makes an important contribution to the avoidance or reduction of animal experiments.
Organ(oid)s and Tissues
At Si-M, the primary focus is high-resolution spatiotemporal analysis of various organ tissues using 3D cultures, biopsies, and stem cell-based organoids in static and fluidic systems. Central high-end microscopic units will be provided to meet diverse scientific requirements, from fast live cell/tissue microscopy to spectral deep tissue imaging with 2-photon systems and high-content approaches.
The Organoid and Organ-on-a-Chip Facility at Si-M offers established organ models and adaptable microfluidic platforms, emphasizing vascularization of organoids for optimal coupling and immune-competent model development. They also create disease models, implement personalization, introduce system perturbations, and perform genetic modifications using CRISPR. Expertise in organoid biology, fluid dynamics, material science, and manufacturing processes is essential. The facility integrates sensors, actuators, and automation processes. It also supports the development of novel 3D models and organoid cultures, genetic modifications, and their use with various 3D bioprinting technologies.
Cellular Hallmarks and Interactions
At Si-M, we focus on advancing cytometric techniques to characterize human models and cells, leveraging engineering and clinical expertise. Currently, there are limited methods for analyzing cellular properties in microfluidic systems and organoid models. We're enhancing cytometric techniques to integrate with high-throughput technologies. This integration involves microfluidic systems, organoid cultures, laboratory automation, and high-throughput mass spectrometry, all conducted on-site.
Our approach includes using human model systems, antigen-specific cytometry, and multidimensional single-cell analyses in large patient cohorts, extracting detailed information about both the quantity and quality of specific immune responses, even from small blood samples. We've also developed innovative automated protocols for processing and analyzing human blood samples with diverse immune signatures in longitudinal participant studies.
Si-M employs subcellular analysis technologies to characterize cellular states, generating omics data for AI-driven in silico models to improve their validity for mechanistic and predictive purposes. This includes advancements in quantitative proteome analysis, statistics, and machine learning. Innovations in in situ crosslinking enable the study of protein interactions and conformations.
The Mass Spectrometry at Si-M primarily analyzes protein structures, interactions, and quantitative/qualitative protein data.
Si-M conducts extensive genome and transcriptome analyses for understanding human cell function and regulation. The facility complements existing genomic equipment and collaborates with core facilities for sequencing. It specializes in high-performance sample preparation, particularly for single-cell sequencing, and combines this with microscopy, mass spectrometry, and microfluidic culture systems.
Utilizing preclinical models, 3D cultures, and patient cohorts, Si-M collaborates with clinical partners and data scientists to develop bioinformatic algorithms for efficient analysis of complex datasets.
Science communication and Outreach
The central communication hub of Si-M is the Theatron, a circular auditorium at the heart of the building. The purpose of Theatron is to facilitate open discourse, fostering internal dialogue and engaging with stakeholders in Berlin's academic landscape, including politics, administration, industry, media, and more. Our Theatron serves as the public face of Si-M, providing a prominent venue for exchange and collaboration.
In addition, Si-M features the XR-Lab, an interdisciplinary experimental space, focused on the evaluation, testing, and presentation of medical and biomedical imaging techniques. Advanced digital visualization tools expand the scope of surgical practices and play a pivotal role in biomedical research, diagnostics, and prevention. The XR-Lab specializes in 4D Imaging and Extended Reality (XR) technologies, which provide real-time spatial information beyond conventional 3D visualizations. This technology is instrumental in visualizing complex pathologies for surgical planning and understanding spatial relationships in biomedical research.
The Si-M further offers showrooms and exhibition spaces.