Research groups
JBahnemann group

Research in the Bahnemann group

Cell culture and microsystems technology

The research group "Cell Culture and Microsystems Engineering", headed by Dr. Janina Bahnemann, focuses on the fabrication and integration of 3D-printed microfluidic systems and the development of innovative biosensors for applications in the field of cell culture engineering and point-of-care diagnostics.

Emmy Noether junior research group

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding Dr. Janina Bahnemann's project "Development of integrated flow systems for transient transfection, cultivation and monitoring of mammalian cells" in the Emmy Noether program.

Within this research project, the members of the junior research group use high-resolution 3D printing technology to design novel microsystems that are used in the field of cell culture technology. A major focus here is on the development of new aptamer-based biosensors for the monitoring of cell culture processes as well as the design, production and integration of a new lab-on-a-chip system that enables continuous, transient gene transfer into host cells for the flexible production of recombinant proteins.

MAIN RESEARCH AREAS BAHNEMANN GROUP

DEVELOPMENT OF MICROFLUIDIC SYSTEMS USING HIGH-RESOLUTION 3D PRINTING

In recent years, three-dimensional (3D) printing has aroused increasing scientific interest. Due to the remarkable technical progress, it is now possible to print high-resolution structures in the range of a few micrometers. This development can also be applied to the field of microsystems technology and is increasingly being used for 3D printing of microfluidic prototypes and disposable systems. A major advantage of 3D-printed microsystems over traditional manufacturing methods is that desired prototypes can be printed within a few hours after 3D design and modeling. This allows necessary modifications for the optimization of the systems to be quickly implemented and tested.

Using modern, high-resolution 3D printers, Dr. Janina Bahnemann's working group produces microfluidic systems that are used in cell culture technology. As part of the DFG's Emmy Noether funding, the junior research group is currently working on the development of an integrated microfluidic system that will enable the flexible production of recombinant proteins. By efficiently mixing and incubating the host cells with the plasmid, the system will ensure continuous transient transfection of mammalian cells. An integrated separation unit will then separate the transfected cells from the transfection medium and simultaneously transfer them into fresh culture medium. In this way, the transfected cells can be cultivated directly in the bioreactor and used for the production of target proteins.

One subproject is concerned with the design and production of so-called micromixers, which allow for a gentle and efficient mixing of suspension cells with a desired reagent within a very short time. These micromixers can be integrated directly into a cell culture process and enable continuous and flexible mixing and manipulation of mammalian cells.

DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTROMECHANICAL AND ELECTROCHEMICAL BIOSENSORS

Furthermore, the working group deals with the development of new sensors for the process monitoring of cell culture systems. Current research focuses on the development of electrochemical and electromechanical, aptamer-based biosensors for the rapid analysis of target proteins (e.g., antibodies) as well as for an early detection of potential microbial contaminations. Aptamers are oligomeric, single-stranded nucleic acids that have highly affine and selective bonds to a target object via their three-dimensional structure. In comparison to antibodies, the in vitroselection of suitable nucleic acid sequences (SELEX) makes it possible to target non-immunogenic substances amongst others.

The combination of electrochemical and electromechanical methods with aptamers enables label-free and continuous real-time process monitoring, which combines the outstanding sensitivity of electrical measurement methods with the selective affinity of aptamers. In addition to voltammetric measurement strategies, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy is one of the electrochemical methods specified or further developed by Dr. Janina Bahnemann's junior research group. This electromechanical method is based on the oscillation of piezoelectric quartz crystals using an alternating voltage, better known as Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM). If the mass of bound components on the crystal surface changes, the oscillation frequency also changes. 

Since electrochemical and electromechanical methods can be combined in one approach, more flexible and thus more robust detections are possible with regard to concentration ranges and detection limits.    

CONTACT

Dr. rer. nat. Janina Bahnemann
Address
Callinstraße 3-9
30167 Hannover
Building
Room
263
Dr. rer. nat. Janina Bahnemann
Address
Callinstraße 3-9
30167 Hannover
Building
Room
263