Dr. Robert Zweigerdt is a developmental biologist and received training in stem cell research and bioprocessing in academic institutions (including Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Institute of Medical Biology in Singapore) and in biotechnology companies (Cardion in Erkrath/ Germany, Stem Cell International in Singapore). Since 2009, his research group is embedded into the “Research Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine“ (REBIRTH) at Hannover Medical School. Roberts‘ group is applying human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) in two distinct but related areas:
Firstly, we are developing stirred tank bioreactor (STBR)-based processes for the efficient production of hPSCs progenies (including cardiomyocytes, macrophage, endothelial cells, and endodermal- lineages) in clinical scale and grade. In numerous academic and industrial collaboration, this work ultimately aims at establishing novel cell therapies e.g. for regenerating failing hearts or fighting infections of the lung.
Secondly, we are investigating basic mechanisms controlling the mesendoderm differentiation of hPSC. This research has recently led into the development of “heart-forming organoids” (HFOs), a complex in vitro model recapitulating key aspect of the interrelated heart, foregut and vasculature development in early embryogenesis.
Besides numerous other interdisciplinary research networks, Robert was partner in the large IMI/EU project StemBANCC (successfully deriving 1.500 patient/ disease-specific hiPSC lines), he coordinated the EU-H2020 project TECHNOBEAT (promoting iPSC-based heart repair) and he was hosting the Marie Skłodowska-Curie project POSEIDON (developing a next-generation automated bioreactor platform).