Principal investigator

Dr. Kurt Paul Pfannkuche

Diplom Biologist; Priv.-Doz. 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.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Sarkawt Hamad

BSc. Biology, MSc. Physiology, PhD


Sarkawt Hamad is a young investigator in the field of cell and tissue engineering. He obtained his PhD for studies on cardiovascular differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. Currently, he is focussing on human cardiac organoids and cardiac tissue engineering. Further interests and responsibilites of Dr. Hamad are i.) research on a large animal model of cardiac cell therapy together with our colleagues in Barcelona and Amsterdam and ii.) elucidating new strategies of in vivo cell imaging by Tc99 in collaboration with the group of Prof. Grüll, Cologne.


Dr. Sarkawt Hamad is co-affiliated at the Soran University, Kurdistan Region, Iraq.


Follow Sarkawt on LinkedIn: click here


Dr. Gabriel Peinkofer

Electrophysiology of cardiac cell therapy


Gabriel Peinkofer is interested in the course of cardiomyocyte engraftment after transplantation into infarcted hearts. The integration of the cells is analysed by a method called "sharp electrodes". Gabriel transplants green fluorescent cells and analyses the electrical engraftment of the cells by impaling them with sharp glas electrodes to quantify the quality of electrical coupling and the degree of maturation. Specific skills include cell culture, cell transplantation in a murine model of cardiac infarction and electrophysiology.

(Project in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Marcel Halbach, Heart Center Cologne)


Dr. Raja Sahito

MSc. veterinary medicine, Dr. rer. medic.


Raja is a PostDoc in the laboratory and works on model systems for cardiac tissue engineering and cell therapy.

Dr. Volkan Solmaz

Dr. med.


Volkan Solmaz has studied medicine with a specialization on neurology. He has joined the laboratory as a Postdoc researcher. Volkan is focussing his research on cardiac cell replacement therapy.

Technical staff

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.

PhD Students

Ebru Aksoy

MSc. Biomedical Engineering

Ebru is specializing on cardiac microtissue engineering and microtissue matrix interactions.

Ebru holds a YLSY scholarship for excellent students in the field of Biomedical Engineering from the Turkish Government.

Karim Daliri

MSc. Medical Genetics


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. A technical focus of Karim is optimizing the novel prime editing technology.

Seda Ekmekçi

MSc. Nanoengineering

Seda is joining the laboratory as a PhD student in autumn 2022 to work on cardiac organoids.

Seda holds a YLSY scholarship for excellent students in the field of Biomedical Engineering from the Turkish Government.

Tasneem Halhouli

BSc. Biology

Tasneem has studied Biomedical sciences at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and performed her Master thesis project in my group. In the frame of her thesis Tasneem has focussed on effects and mechanisms of magnetic cell retention. The results of the study lay the ground for a PhD thesis in the field of cardiac cell replacement therapy.



Lisa Münchhalfen

MSc. Education in Biology and Geography

Lisa Münchhalfen is a PhD student at the Medical Faculty. In her project she is focussing on the process of organ complementation in the mouse in order to define a strategy to ultimately replace the cardiac lineage with derivatives of foreign stem cells in a interspecies chimaera.

MD and Master students

Lea Marie Fiege

Lea is joining the group in the wintersemester 2021/22 as a MD student to investigate aspects related to stem cell technologies and cardiac regeneration.

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. 

Rebecca K. Karger

Rebecca is performing her Master studies in our group. She is working a n microfluidics-based technologies for cell encapsulation and formation of micro-tissues.

Luka Szagun

Luka has joined the group to perform his medical doctor thesis. He is interested in the development of protocols to purify stem cell derived cardiovascular cell types to increase safety of future stem cell therapies.