With the potential to produce specialized cells, stem cells are the holy grail of regenerative medicine; however, their exploitation is limited by an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms controlling their differentiation.
Through interdisciplinary projects the StemPhys center joins forces of stem cell biology and theoretical and experimental physics to significantly progress our understanding of stem cell commitment. This endeavour will start a new era within quantitative stem cell biology and also has the potential to produce genuine medical advances.
StemPhys combines unique stem cell lines with expertise in modelling, bio-imaging, and mechanical manipulation of living matter. Long-term goals include the development of methods to control and possibly reverse differentiation of stem cells.
Our research on pancreatic progenitors, with the capacity to generate beta cells producing insulin, could produce new prospects for stem-cell based treatment of diabetes, and our work on liver progenitors could enhance drug development by providing hepatocytes for drug screening.