With stem cells against blindness

January 08, 2021

Prof. Volker Busskamp from the Eye Clinic at the University Hospital Bonn. © Sven Doering

The technology. Human stem cells are differentiated into photoreceptor. These cells are essential for drug screening, further basic and disease research including photoreceptor replacement therapies. © Volker Busskamp

 

Prof. Volker Busskamp from the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation has received a "Proof of Concept Grant" worth 150,000 euros from the European Research Council (ERC).

This funding line is intended to support scientists in transferring their research results from previous ERC projects into commercial applications. Volker Busskamp and his team are working at the Eye Clinic of the University Hospital Bonn on a technology to rapidly program human stem cells to photoreceptor for retinal research and treating blindness in the future.

Volker Busskamp's research focuses on photoreceptors. These are sensory cells of the retina that convert light into electrochemical signals. These stimuli are processed further and enable that seeing. Photoreceptors have special antennae, so-called outer segments, which are very fragile and are the first to degenerate in many eye diseases causing blindness. Busskamp and his team are aiming to protect and restore the structure and function of such photoreceptor cells.

Based on his ERC Starting Grant, which was launched at the Dresden University of Technology in 2016 and funded with 1.5 million euros, Volker Busskamp and his team have succeeded in developing a technology to precisely differentiate human stem cells into photoreceptor cells. Having an unlimited photoreceptor cell source is essential for drug screening, further basic and biomedical research such as photoreceptor replacement therapies.

Find here the german and english press release.

Media Contact:

Prof. Dr. Volker Busskamp
Eye Clinic at the University Hospital Bonn
Phone: +49-(0)228-28713687
Email: volker.busskamp@uni-bonn.de