Kurt Paul Pfannkuche

Diplom Biologist; PD Dr.

I am a biologist and started my scientific career with engineering of cell-permeable proteins. Tissue-engineering appeared as a fascinating new field of research to me and I was wondering if there will be fully artificial organs and even designer tissues with exciting new feature some day in the future (just think of the third generation Terminator). For this reason I joined Jürgen Heschelers laboratory to work on stem cells and tissue engineering.

If I am not in the lab you find me in the garden, motorbiking or on a ride with the horses.

Anne Hannken


Anne is a veterinarian with experience in equine practice and performs experiments in the scope of a DVM study co-supervised by Prof. Burk (Tiermedizinische Hochschule Giessen). Anne is focussing on aspects of equine stem cell technologies to identify novel treatments of equine orthopaedic diseases. This type of research brings stem cell technology to the clinics and paves the way for applications in humans as well. 



Aseel Abdulkareem

MSc. Biotech.

Aseel is a PhD student from Iraq. She is focussing on the interaction of human iPS cell derived cardiomyocytes and murine primary cardiomyocytes with polyacrylamide hydrogel matrices of defined elasticity to gain knowledge on the interplay between matrix stiffness and cardiomyocyte physiology. Aseels experiments are important to better understand the role of cardiomyocytes in cardiac fibrosis and predict the interaction of transplanted cardiomyocytes into infarction scar tissue.

Daniel Derichsweiler

Technical assistant: Human Stem Cell Culture and Differentiation

Daniel is managing the cell culture laboratory for our group. He is performing all experiments with transgenic cell lines in the frame of the collboration with GoBio GmbH. In addition Daniel holds great expertise in murine and human pluripotent stem cell culture and cardiac differentiation. Together with Sarkawt he is managing the culture and differentiation of the human stem cells and the development of protocols and methods for scalable production of these cells for preclinical approaches. In his free time Daniel is a master in martial arts.

Ellen Veit

Technical assistant: Cell Culture Technologies

Ellen is specialist on murine stem cell culture and differentiation. She is performing murine cardiomyocytes differentiation and culture for the group and supports our intensive collaboration with the cardiothoracical surgery department. Furthermore, Ellen has broad skills in the laboratory including molecular biology and preparation of cell culture hydrogel substrates from polyacrylamide.

Karim Daliri


Karim has a background of human genetics and biomedical sciences from Iran. He joints the lab to apply cellular and molecular cutting edge approaches aiming to push forward cardiovascular research specifically in the area of cardiac failure and fibrosis.

Karina Neumann

Karina supports the team as scientific assistant. She is mainly focussed on supporting our team with the human stem cell culture and performs a collaborative project on improving the purity of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes for preclinical applications.

Lukas Linden

Lukas Linden is a Bachelor student in the group and puts his focus on cryoconservation of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.

Raja Sahito

DVM, MSc., cand. rer. med.

I am a veterinarian born in 1980 Sindh Pakistan, the focus of my research area is cardiac cell replacement therapy and tissue engineering; particularly murine models for cardiac regeneration. My research interest is to develop novel therapeutic approaches such as micro-tissue engineering or use of degradable biomaterials for in vivo improvement of early cell retention.

Rouven Gotthardt

Rouven is busy as a scientific assistant in the laboratory. He supports the team with molecular biology services especially molecular cloning and plasmid handling as well as transgenic cell lines. Rouven plans to establish a novel culturing system for cardiac tissue engineering that turned out to be more challenging than initially expected. In his private time Rouven is an excellent photographer.

Sarkawt Hamad

BSc. Biology; MSc. Physiology

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Sarkawt is a PhD student in “Interdisciplinary Program Health Sciences - Medical Faculty”. He is focusing on two main projects in his PhD study: Firstly, he is looking for a new non-invasive technique for tracking cells after transplanting into organ tissues. Secondly, he is working on the scalable generating of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (HiPSC-CM). Beside PhD projects Sarkawt with his colleagues is interested in cardiac tissue engineering. We postulate that engineering cardiac tissue for future transplantation is a promise technique to fully recovery the infarct area after myocardial infarction.



Shahab Khalaf

BSc. Biology, MSc. Student

Shahab is from Shengal, Iraq and has studied biology at Cologne University. He is performing his Master thesis in my laboratory (in collaboration with the Lab of Prof. Schmidt at the physical chemistry department, Cologne) to develop scalable technologies for the generation of transplantable microtissues.

Stephanie Pieroth


Stephanie is a chemist and works on novel technologies of hydrogel-based cell culturing strategies. She is performing her PhD thesis in a collaboration between the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Cologne and the Center for Physiology bringing together expertise from different fields of natural sciences.

Yasmin Mokhtar


Yasmin has studied Applied Biology at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and is doing her Master thesis in the group. Yasmin is focussing on the biology of microtissue engineering for cardiac cell therapy.

Former Team Members

Anna Lena Weiß, Dr. rer. medic.

Carlos O. Heras Bautista, MSc. Biotech. Eng., Dr.

Denise Roggan, BSc.

Farooq Mohammad, PhD

Jenni Lam, Dr. rer. medic.

Mariam Fouad, MSc.

Marianne Yassa, MD

Mira Barsoum Hanna, MD

Nelly Mikhael, PhD

Osama Ab El Aziz, Dr., Professor of Pediatrics

Uta Chrzanowski, BSc. 

Wael Attia, Dr., Professor of Pediatrics

Xiaowu Sheng, Dr., Current affiliation: Xiangya School of Medicine, Changsa, China