Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik (IBMT)

Operating in the international growth markets for life sciences and medicine/medical engineering, since its foundation in 1987/1992 the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) has worked primarily as a technology developer and device manufacturer for customers from all over the world. As a founding member of the Life Sciences Group of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which now comprises six institutes and one research establishment, the Fraunhofer IBMT cooperates closely with its industrial customers as well as public and private customers. The IBMT's strategy is focused on the areas of biomedical/medical engineering (especially non-invasive and minimally invasive as well as miniaturized technologies), biotechnology, implants, cryotechnology, biobanks and stem cell research. Trend-setting automated laboratory technologies, the development of mobile special laboratories (S3, GMP, GCLP, etc.) and information technologies for healthcare solutions round off the portfolio of the Fraunhofer IBMT. Decades of expertise in biotechnological and medical research and development fields also allows us to solve a variety of purely technical tasks. This includes ultrasound-based level metering, special transducers for acoustic applications, but also microelectrodes and miniaturized manipulation systems as well as automated in vitro culture devices.

With a good balance between basic and applied research, the institute promotes the "lived" technology transfer in medicine and biotechnology, laboratory technology, food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries and environmental technology as well as in other areas of industry and knowledge-intensive services. For many years, the Fraunhofer IBMT has been working in the field of stem cell research and is still the only institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to obtain licences (No. 18, 19 and 44) of the Robert-Koch-Institut to import and use human embryonic stem cells for scientific purposes. In recent years this has been extended to the production and characterization/expansion of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). The institute is involved as part of a major European project in building an international iPS cell bank.

Key staff involved in EBiSC

Prof. Dr. Heiko Zimmermann (Director and Head of Fraunhofer IBMT and Chair in Molecular & Cellular Biotechnology at the Saarland University and Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile) – has been working as physicist since 1997 in the field of cell biophysics. He coordinated several EU-projects such as HYPERLAB and DropTech® in FP7, and was WP leader in several other EU-projects. Within the initial EBiSC phase, he was leader of WP 3 and built-up the EBiSC mirror bank. In the second phase, EBiSC2, Heiko Zimmermann is project coordinator. Heiko Zimmermann received the first permission for working with hESCs within the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. He is author of more than 70 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. His research expertise covers cryobiology, cryotechnology and biopolymers for clinical scaffolds. Heiko Zimmermann is inventor of more than 50 granted patent families from which more than 20 have been commercially licensed.

Dr. Julia Neubauer (Head of Department "Cryo & Stem Cell Technology" and the Project Centre "Stem Cell Process Engineering") – is biologist and has been working since 2008 in the field of expansion and cryopreservation of adult and embryonic stem cells. She is Head of the Department "Cryo & Stem Cell Technology" and Head of the previously founded Fraunhofer Project Centre for "Stem Cell Process Engineering". She reports directly to Heiko Zimmermann and is first deputy of Heiko Zimmermann in all EU projects. Julia Neubauer is PI of several national stem cell projects and is author of 20 publications and one book chapter focused on cryopreservation of therapeutic relevant cells and automation of stem cell screenings. She is inventor of several international patent applications. Since 2013, Julia Neubauer is the first and only IBMT member of the elite emerging talent program of the Fraunhofer Society (status: advanced).

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