Ex vivo technologies

Genetic engineering is the manipulation of an organism’s genes using biotech methodologies and it includes several applications that are widely adopted to study cardiac biology. In the past years, important advances have been achieved in the field (viral vector-mediated gene transfer, CRISPR cas9 gene editing etc) making these technologies rapid, efficient and more affordable. These methods are now used to answer specific research questions and they are applied to both in vitro and in vivo research models. The group is testing these novel technologies in a regenerative medicine perspective.

Working closely with the other research groups within Prof Thomas Thum's laboratory, and their great expertise in non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), the group research interest is mainly focused on the role of ncRNAS in regeneration and the evaluation of both structural and functional parameters which are affected by the therapeutic treatments. The group uses several in vitro and ex vivo models, with a particular focus on living myocardial slice. In a translational perspective, human myocardial slices are also extensively used. The multicellular environment and preserved functionality during in vitro culture make living myocardial slices the ideal model to develop and test new therapeutic strategies.

Ongoing research projects

Current group members

  • Natalie Weber, MD, PhD, Group Leader
  • Marco Bentele, PhD student
  • Giuseppe Cipriano, PhD student
  • Wilson Agyapong, PhD student
  • Junqing Liu (MD and PhD student)
  • Elisa Kiselev, medical student, StrucMed
  • Bjarne Jürgens, medical student, StrucMed
  • Jonas Gruber, medical student, StrucMed
  • Florian Johann Gustav Waleczek, medical student, research associate
  • Jonas Haas, medical student, research associate
  • Jan Weusthoff, medical student, research associate
  • Kaja Solveig Menge, medical student, StrucMed
  • Angelika Pfanne, MTLA
  • Susanne Neumüller, BTA
  • Marlen Möllmann, FWJ student
  • Sophie Linke, Master student


  • Louisa Hoffmann (Bachelor thesis)
  • Noah Scheller (StrucMed thesis)
  • Sören Volkerey (StrucMed thesis)
  • Naisam Abbas (PhD thesis)
  • Marida Sansonetti (PhD thesis)
  • Kian Moustafa (FWJ)


Cooperation partners

  • Prof. Dr. L. Carrier (Institute for Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, UKE, Hamburg)
  • Prof. Dr. T. Kraft (Insitute of Molecular- and Cell Physiology, MHH)
  • Prof. Dr. C. Wahl-Schott, Prof. Dr. Ponimaskin, Dr. A. Zeug (Insitute of Neurophysiology, MHH)
  • Prof. Dr. J. Bauersachs, Prof. Dr. K. C. Wollert, Dr. M. Ricke-Hoch (Department of Cardiology and Angiology, MHH)
  • Dr. R. Zweigerdt, Prof. U. Martin (LEBAO, MHH)
  • Dr. A. Koroleva, Prof. B. Chichkov (Institute of Quantum Optics, Leibniz Universität, Hannover)
  • Dr. C. Toepfer, Dr. Y. Psaras (Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford)
  • Dr. E. Castillo, Prof. Dr. Beth Pruit (Center for Bioengineering, University of California, Santa Barbara)



We have available projects for StrucMed students, bachelor and master students as well as for FWJ students. Please contact us for further information



Natalie Weber, Weber.Natalie@mh-hannover.de; Phone: +49 511 532-5276