Principal Investigator Matthias Meier
Bioengineering and Microfluidics

Human fat tissue has evolved to serve as a major energy reserve. An imbalance between energy intake and expenditure leads to an expansion of adipose tissue and degeneration of the endocrine function of the pancreas. Maintenance of this energy imbalance over longer times leads to obesity and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, for which clinical cures are not yet available. 

Our research project aims to develop and use pancreatic and adipose tissue models outside organisms in sizes of micrometers for studying the differentiation of human inducible pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into functional tissue. For assembly of so called organoids, we combine microfluidic chip technologies with quantitative bioanalytics. In particular, the integration of organoids on microfluidic chip platforms is exploited in our lab to dynamically control their chemical, cell architectural, and mechanical microenvironment of hiPSCs. With novel single cell resolution in situ detection systems, we aim to reveal, which microenvironmental stem cell niche factors are required to differentiate hiPSCs into metabolic responsive cells, communication pathways between organs, and the importance of cell heterogeneity in organs for their proper function.

Our key questions

Upon combining engineering and biology approaches, we want to understand mechanistically the role of natural stem cell niches, determine how to simulate them under laboratory conditions and finally provide patient-specific, clinically relevant information for developing new cell-based treatments for obesity and diabetes.

Group members focus to find solutions for the following four key questions:

  • Does a dynamic chemical microenvironment changes cell lineage decisions during the development of the human adipose and pancreatic tissue?  (Keyword: Chemical Programming by Microfluidics)
  • Can we induce and resolve cell heterogeneity in pancreatic organoids? (Keyword: Single Cell Protein Interaction Profiling)
  • Can we resolve cell heterogeneity with high spatial analysis in organoids on chip? (Keyword: Spatial Protein Interaction Profiling)
  • How to assemble functional adipocytes and/or pancreas organoids on chip?  (Keyword: Organ-on-Chip)

Dr. Matthias Meier

Principal Investigator, Bioengineering and Microfluidics

Matthias Meier is a German biophysicist who received his PhD from the University of Basel in Switzerland in 2006. In 2008 he was awarded with the Feodor-Lynen postdoctoral fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and worked 4 years with Steven Quake at Stanford University. With help of an Emmy-Noether-Fellowship from the German Research Foundation he returned to Europe and established an independent research group at the Microsystem Engineering department of the University of Freiburg. In 2017 Dr. Meier received the ERC Consolidator grant for performing research in medical engineering field of Organ-on-Chips. In 2018 Matthias Meier joined the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus.


Dr. Matthias Meier

2018 - present
Principal Investigator at Helmholtz Pioneer Campus, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany

2012 - 2018
Independent Research Group Leader (DFG Emmy-Noether Fellow) at IMTEK, University of Freiburg, Germany

2009 - 2011
Postdoc at Stanford University, Laboratory of Professor Stephen Quake, USA

2008 - 2009
Postdoc at University of Chicago, Laboratory of Professor Rustem Ismagilov, USA

1998 – 2004
Biochemistry, University of Regensburg, Germany

2003 - 2004
Diploma in Biophysics, University of Regensburg, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Eike Brunner

2004 - 2008
PhD in Biophysics / University of Basel, Szitzerland
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Joachim Seelig

Invited Lectures

Institute de Gennes, Synergy Microfluidics & Biology, Paris, France

MicroTas, South Korea (1 PhD student talk)  

W2 Professorship application, Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany

MicroTas, San Antonio, USA (2 Talks from my PhD students) 

DFG (German Research Foundation), Biophysical Meeting, Germany

ISMB Meeting, Boston, USA

DKFZ, Synthetic Biology Meeting, Heidelberg, Germany

W2 Professorship application (2nd ranked), Düsseldorf, Germany

MicroTas, Freiburg (1 PhD student talk), Germany

Dachema, Synthetic Biology Conference, Germany

02/2010 & 07/2011
Gordon Conference, Biological Microfluidics, Italy   

EMBL, Group Leader application (2nd ranked), Germany

2014 - present
Member of the German Biophysical Society

2014 - present
Technical Board Member of MicroTas

2018 - 2023
European Research Council (ERC) - Consolidator
Consolidator Grant “MicroAdiPS Chip: Micro Fat Tissue on Chip

2020 - 2023
BMBF - Innovation Award


Dr. Sandra Wiedenmann


MSc in Integrated Life Science - Biology, Biomathematics and Biophysics, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg
Focus: Exocrine Pancreas on-Chip
Master Thesis: "Production, Electrical Stimulation and Mechanical Characterization of Contractile Skeletal Muscle Micro Tissues"
Hobbies: Beside research, I like to be in nature for hiking, photography, skiing and horse riding and do a voluntary education as a dog trainer in agility.

PhD Students

Jessi Ardila Riveros


Focus: Chemical programming by microfluidics

Caroline Brähler


MSc in Biochemistry at the Julius-Maximilians University in Würzburg.
Research Focus: In vitro vascularization of stem cell derived islets
Master Thesis: Generation of a 3D in vitro breast cancer bone metastasis model: Investigations on cultures with human MSCs and tumor cell lines on different scaffolds.
Hobbies: I love to go hiking, running or any other outdoor activity. I enjoy spending time with friends and have a passion for cooking.

Daniel Kokotek


MSc in Applied Biosciences/ Synthetic Biology at Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg i.Br.
Research Focus:  Spatial Proteomics and Interactomics
Master Thesis:  “Development of a single-cell transcriptome and protein interaction assay for analysis of fat cell maturation”
Hobbies: Climbing/Bouldering, Photography, Design and Illustration

Maren Marder


MSc in Biomedicine at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Research focus: Establishment of an adipocyte-on-chip platform
Master Thesis: "Live cell imaging of platelet formation under static and under dynamic conditions in a microfluidic bioreactor"
Hobbies: Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding

Munkhtur Otgonbayar


MSc: Biomaterials Science and Tissue Engineering at The University of Manchester
Research Focus: Morphogen gradient generation in three dimensional tissue
Master Thesis: "Cytotoxicity of Graphene Oxide in PMETAC Polymer Brush Films"
Hobbies: Football, Rollerblading, Painting, Ski/Snowboard, Cooking

Julius Perschel


State exam and license as pharmacist, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Focus: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma on chip
Previous research: “RTD measurements in continuous granulation”

Research assistants

Revanth Coimbatore Varadarajan


Lab Manager

Alina Platen M.A.


MSc in Biology - Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg
Focus: Cultivation and differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells
Master Thesis: Adipogenesis of Human Adipose Derived Stem Cells on a Microfluidic Chip


Dr. Scott Atwell

Focus: Organ-on-Chip

Nina Compera

MSc in Medical Engineering at the Technical University in Munich.
Research Focus: Organ-on-Chip platform development
Master Thesis: “Medically Relevant Coatings to Protect Wireless Communicating IoT-Electronics”
Hobbies: In my spare time, I am a passionate ballet dancer and enjoy spending time with friends, preferably while biking, hiking, playing tennis or almost any other kind of sports activity.

Dr. Nico Laumann-Lipp

Dr. Magdalena Motz

PhD in Biology at the LMU Munich
Title Thesis: Regulatory and functional roles of polyproline motifs in signal proteins.
Focus: single-cell RNA-sequencing and exocrine pancreas on-Chip

Dr. Michel Moussus

PhD in biophysics, CEA/CNRS Grenoble, France. 
PhD : 'Mechanical forces within the endothelium tissue'
Focus: Organ-on-Chip

Carmen Robinson

Simon Rosowski

MSc in Biomolecular Engineering - Biochemistry, Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology, Technical University Darmstadt
Focus: Single cell protein interaction profiling
Master Thesis: "A novel one-step approach for the construction of yeast surface display Fab antibody libraries"
Hobby: Artistic gymnastics

Stefan Veit

Julius Wiener

Focus: Single cell protein interaction profiling

Tin Wang Wong

MSc in microsystem engineering, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Focus: Fabrication technology of organ-on-a-chip
Master Thesis: "Microfluidic stereolithography for generating cell cultures with spatial order"
Hobbies: I would travel around, if I have some free days

Johannes Wirth

M.Sc. in Life Science at the University of Konstanz.
Master Thesis: "In depth characterisation of novel complex in vitro systems for fibrosis research" at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma in Biberach an der Riß.
PhD project: Development and application of novel single-cell RNA-sequencing and "Spatial Transcriptomics" methods.
Hobbies: Always searching for good books to read - no matter which genre or topic. I like running, swimming, rowing and I am interested in all kinds of sports

Selected Publications

Automated optimization of endoderm differentiation on chip

Jessi Carolina Ardila Riveros, Anna Karolina Blöchinger, Scott Atwell, Michel Moussus, Nina Compera, Omid Rajabnia, Tihomir Georgiev, Heiko Lickert,Matthias Meier, DOI: 10.1039/D1LC00565K (Paper) Lab Chip, 2021

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Single-cell-resolved differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells into pancreatic duct-like organoids on a microwell chip

Wiedenmann S, Breunig M, Merkle J, (...), Meier M, Nat Biomed Eng. 2021 Aug;5(8):897-913. doi: 10.1038/s41551-021-00757-2. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

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Modeling plasticity and dysplasia of pancreatic ductal organoids derived from human pluripotent stem cells

Markus Breunig, Jessica Merkle, Martin Wagner,(...), Matthias Meier, Meike Hohwieler, Alexander Kleger, Cell Stem Cell. 2021 Jun 3;28(6):1105-1124.e19.doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2021.03.005. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

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Active integrins regulate white adipose tissue insulin sensitivity and brown fat thermogenesis

Francisco Javier Ruiz-Ojeda, Jiefu Wang, Theresa Bäcker, Martin Krueger, Samira Zamani, Simon Rosowski, Tim Gruber, Yasuhiro Onogi, Annette Feuchtinger, Tim J. Schulz, Reinhard Fässler, Timo D. Müller, Cristina García-Cáceres, Matthias Meier, Matthias Blüher, Siegfried Ussar
Mol Metab. 2021 Jan 6;101147. doi: 10.1016 

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MHC class II proteins mediate cross-species entry of bat influenza viruses.

Karakus U, Thamamongood T, Ciminski K, Ran W, Günther SC, Pohl MO, Eletto D, Jeney C, Hoffmann D, Reiche S, Schinköthe J, Ulrich R, Wiener J, Hayes MGB, Chang MW, Hunziker A, Yángüez E, Aydillo T, Krammer F, Oderbolz J, Meier M, Oxenius A,  Halenius A, Zimmer G, Benner C, Hale BG, García-Sastre A, Beer M, Schwemmle M, Stertz S.
Nature. 2019 Mar;567(7746):109-112. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-0955-3.

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Genetic Code Expansion Method for Temporal Labeling of Endogenously Expressed Proteins.

Schneider N, Gäbelein C, Wiener J, Georgiev T, Gobet N, Weber W, Meier M.
ACS Chem Biol. 2018 Nov 16;13(11):3049-3053. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.8b00594.

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Rapid spheroid clearing on a microfluidic chip.

Silva Santisteban T, Rabajania O, Kalinina I, Robinson S, Meier M.
Lab Chip. 2017 Dec 19;18(1):153-161. doi: 10.1039/c7lc01114h.

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In situ characterization of the mTORC1 during adipogenesis of human adult stem cells on chip.

Wu X, Schneider N, Platen A, Mitra I, Blazek M, Zengerle R, Schüle R, Meier M.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jul 19;113(29):E4143-50. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1601207113.

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Analysis of fast protein phosphorylation kinetics in single cells on a microfluidic chip.

Blazek M, Santisteban TS, Zengerle R, Meier M.
Lab Chip. 2015 Feb 7;15(3):726-34. doi: 10.1039/c4lc00797b.

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Proximity ligation assay for high-content profiling of cell signaling pathways on a microfluidic chip.

Blazek M, Betz C, Hall MN, Reth M, Zengerle R, Meier M.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 Dec;12(12):3898-907. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M113.032821.

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Contact us

HPC contact Meier


Helmholtz Pioneer Campus
Helmholtz Zentrum München
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH)

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85764 Neuherberg