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Interplay between differentiation and metabolism in neuromuscular organoids


Rüdiger Rudolf, Mannheim University for Applied Sciences
Karen Bieback, Heidelberg University

Project description

Intrinsically, cellular differentiation and metabolism are connected to each other and metabolic stress can lead to developmental defects, often of the neuromuscular system. Furthermore, cell-cell communication can affect cellular metabolism and vice versa, e.g., between motor neurons and Schwann cells. In this project, hiPSC-derived neuron-glia-muscle co-cultures and organoids will be further developed and characterized to study metabolism and cell-cell communication with respect to cellular differentiation and health. Besides cell and organoid culture, the work will involve immunostaining, confocal imaging and advanced, AI-assisted image analysis. Bio-printing might be added for improved sample presentation.


  1. Hörner SJ, Couturier N, Gueiber DC, Hafner M, Rudolf R. Development and In Vitro Differentiation of Schwann Cells. Cells. 2022 Nov 24;11:3753. doi: 10.3390/cells11233753.
  2. Hörner SJ, Couturier N, Bruch R, Koch P, Hafner M, Rudolf R. hiPSC-Derived Schwann Cells Influence Myogenic Differentiation in Neuromuscular Cocultures. Cells. 2021 Nov 24;10(12):3292. doi: 10.3390/cells10123292.
  3. Keller F, Bruch R, Schneider R, Meier-Hubberten J, Hafner M, Rudolf R. A Scaffold-Free 3-D Co-Culture Mimics the Major Features of the Reverse Warburg Effect In Vitro. Cells. 2020 Aug 13;9(8):1900. doi: 10.3390/cells9081900.

Methods used

hiPSC culture and co-culture, optical tissue clearing, 2D and whole-mount immunostaining, 2D/3D and live cell microscopy, 2D/3D and AI-assisted image analysis

Collaboration Partner

Applicants profile

The successful candidate holds a Master degree in biosciences, biotechnology, or similar and has a strong interest in cell-, neuro-, and developmental biology. Sound work ethics and the will to drive the project in a cooperative team effort are mandatory. Experience with iPSC culture, confocal microscopy, advanced image analysis, and a propensity for technological solutions, including 3D-(bio) printing are a surplus.


Funded by FKZ: BW6_07