Synthetic Tissue in 3D

Volkswagen Foundation grants research project on 3D tissue shapes

Alf Honigmann, Carl Modes and André Nadler (from left to right). Copyright: MPI-CBG

For their joint project “Cellular Reconstitution of Complex 3D Tissue Shapes”, André Nadler, Alf Honigmann, both research group leaders at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), and Carl Modes, research group leader at the CSBD and the MPI-CBG, have received funding of 1,39 million Euros from the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung) for the next five years. In their project, the researchers want to develop a tissue reconstitution platform that allows for the testing of the current paradigms of tissue shape generation and in principle will allow to generate arbitrary synthetic 3D tissue shapes. The team envisions that this new approach will help to understand the mechanisms of how complex shapes emerge in multicellular life and open a new research field of complex tissue reconstitution.

Congratulations to Alf, André, and Carl!

This grant is part of the funding initiative "Life? – A fresh scientific approach to the basic principles of life” of the Volkswagen Foundation, which supports unique and excellent projects at the interface between natural and life sciences investigating the principles of life: biophysics, synthetic biology and systems chemistry explore and develop artificial cell systems no longer definable as living or non-living. With the help of modern techniques biological cells can be mapped and analyzed. Scientists increasingly succeed in simulating processes of life within artificial systems or in developing novel artificial systems based on basic principles of life. These approaches seek a better understanding of fundamental principles of life, and in doing so they open up intriguing and novel perspectives on life to complement the philosophical view.

The initiative was launched in 2015. Up to now, 29 projects have been funded. In the current round of approvals, a total of EUR 9.4 million was approved for seven cooperation projects. More information can be found here: