About the Spotlight Series

Under the motto “Connecting Stem Cell Scientists in NRW“ the Stem Cell Network NRW has launched the virtual exchange format “StN Spotlight Series”. The aim of this lecture series is to offer stem cell scientists regular opportunities for networking and exchange. Initiated in spring 2020 as a loose get together by video conference to exchange about the new (working) situation due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, Spotlight has now become an established video lecture series. Every interested stem cell scientist is invited to join. 

The Spotlight Series takes place as video conference. The talks are given in English language. Each Spotlight talk starts with a 20-minute lecture after which the speaker is available for questions and there is room for further discussions. 

Usually the Spotlight talks take place every 3rd Thursday of the month at 1 pm. No fees are charged for participation, but you must register in advance for the series and acknowledge a confidentiality agreement if you would like to attend the talks. A short abstract of the respective Spotlight talk will be provided by email in the week before the event.

The Spotlight Series will be resumed on June 20 with a talk by Prof. Dr. Nicole Schupp (University Hospital Düsseldorf) on "Effect of toxins on the differentiation efficacy and functionality of hiPSC differentiating into kidney proximal tubular cells" .

If you are interested to join, please contact info[at]stammzellen.nrw.de and we will provide you with the registration link (registration is valid for all throughout the year). 

The Spotlight Series comprises three different categories:

  • “StN Spotlight: Research”: Presentation of new publications and (unpublished) research results
  • “StN Spotlight: Members”: Introduction of new member institutions/working groups
  • “StN Spotlight: External Speakers”: Platform for exchange with guest scientists from outside the network or invited speakers

At the beginning there was also the category „StN Spotlight: COVID-19 Stammtisch“, which was an open exchange about the current situation and lectures on research approaches related to COVID-19,
e.g. unproven stem cell therapies for COVID-19.

The team of the coordination office is happy to receive contributions. Feel free to contact us if you are interested to present exciting research findings, your new paper or to give insights into the work of your institute.


Previous Spotlight Events:


  • 16.11.2023: Direct and fast somatic to neural stem cell fate conversion without full epigenetic rejuvenation (Research Spotlight/ External Speakers with Mingxi Weng, PhD - The University of Hong Kong,Center for Translational Stem Cell Biology, Hong Kong SAR, China)
  • 05.10.: "Activation-dependent induction of the NLRP3 Inflammasome in human IPSC-derived microglia" (Research Spotlight with Dr. Mona Mathews-Ajendra, Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology, University Hospital Bonn)
  • 21.09.: Member Spotlight Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
  • 24.08.: Free bilirubin induces neuro-inflammation in an induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical organoid model of Crigler Najjar Syndrome (Research Spotlight with Abida Islam Pranty, University Hospital Düsseldorf)
  • 10.08.: Defining the role of histone H1.2 in the pathogenesis of FUS-associated Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Research Spotlight with Dr. Hafiza Alizaryeva,CECAD Cologne)
  • 27.07.: Development of epithelial tooth organoids: towards a tooth-in-a-dish? (Research Spotlight with Dr. Florian Hermans, Hasselt University, KU Leuven)
  • 13.07.: Skeletal muscle stem cell regulation by exercise (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Bloch, German Sport University Cologne)
  • 29.06.: Mitochondrial DNA integrity defines Muscle Satellite cells determination into Skeletal Muscle fibres (Research Spotlight with Ayesha Sen, University Hospital Cologne)


  • 08.12.2022: Can a Restriction on the Use of New Reproductive Technologies be Justified with Reference to Harm Done to the Resulting Individuals? – Rarely, but… (Research Spotlight (ELSA) with Dr. Alina Omerbasic-Schiliro, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)
  • 01.12.2022: Regulation of stem cell fate by mechanical forces (Research Spotlight with Sara Wickström, MD, PhD (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine Münster) - initially scheduled for November 10
  • 24.11.2022: Heterogenous macrophage populations contribute to the hematopoietic stem cell niche (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Elvira Mass, Life & Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES), University of Bonn)
  • 03.11.2022: Drug screen in iPSC-Neurons identifies nucleoside analogs as inhibitors of (G4C2)n expression in C9orf72 ALS/FTD (Research Spotlight/ External Speakers with Ashutosh Dhingra, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases  Tübingen) 
  • 13.10.2022: Quality Control of Stem Cells in an Academic Environment (Research Spotlight with Dr. Julia Tigges, IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine Düsseldorf)
  • 29.09.2022: Cancer stem cells from triple-negative breast cancer: from basic research to clinical cancer therapy (Research Spotlight with Dr. Jochen Maurer, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen University)
  • 01.09.2022: TERM Research in the Department of Experimental Surgery at the Centre for Clinical Research at RUB – The long way from foreign body implants to fully integrated biofunctional constructs (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Jochen Salber, University Hospital of the Ruhr-University Bochum)
  • 18.08.2022: The Metabolic Regulation in Cancer Progression (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Dr. Alpaslan Tasdogan, University Hospital Essen)
  • 04.08.2022: Mito-nuclear communication in ageing stem cells (Research Spotlight with Dr. Peter Tessarz, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing)
  • 23.06.2022: Pre-mRNA splicing rules that program cardiac contractility (Research Spotlight with Dr. Deniz Bartsch, University of Cologne)
  • 09.06.2022: Sensitivity to nephrotoxins of iPSCs differentiating into proximal tubule cells (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Nicole Schupp, University Hospital Düsseldorf)
  • 25.05.2022: Neural stem cells under strain – mechanobiological effects in health and disease (Research Spotlight with Dr. Stefan Blaschke, University Hospital Cologne)
  • 12.05.2022: Translating the embryonic genome in time and space (Research Spotlight with Dr. Leo Kurian, University of Cologne)
  • 28.04.2022: Are spermatogonial stem cells dysfunctional in infertile men? (Research Spotlight with PD Dr. Nina Neuhaus, University of Münster)
  • 30.03.2022: Molecular mechanisms underlying diversification of midbrain dopaminergic neurons (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Sandra Blaess, University Hospital of Bonn)
  • 17.03.2022: Cellular mechanisms of embryonic development and embryo-maternal interactions during implantation
  • (Research Spotlight with Dr. Ivan Bedzhov, Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Biomedicine Münster)
  • 03.03.2022: The quest for novel HOX-gene combinations promoting Hematopoietic Stem Cell development from (i)PSCs (Research Spotlight with Dr. Hannes Klump, University Hospital Essen)
  • 17.2.2022: Colonies of induced pluripotent stem cells self-organize progressively under spatial confinement and this process continues in 3D aggregates (Research Spotlight with Mohamed Mabrouk Hamdy Elsafi, RWTH Aachen University)
  • 03.02.2022: An FGF-based collective mechanism for the differentiation and proportioning of embryonic and extraembryonic cell types (Research Spotlight with Dr. Christian Schröter, Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Physiology Dortmund)
  • 20.01.2022: Cell Culture Analysis Tool AIxCell (Research Spotlight with Bastian Nießing, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT Aachen)
  • 02.12.: Programming human stem cells to cell types of interest (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Volker Busskamp, University Hospital Bonn)
  • 04.11.: The role of the signaling transducer CD24 in regulating the cell fate of embryonal carcinomas (Research Spotlight with PhD Margaretha Skowron, University Hospital Düsseldorf) 
  • 28.10.: Forebrain brain organoids assembling functionally integrated bilateral eye primordia (Research Spotlight with Univ.-Prof. Dr. (Ph.D) Jay Gopalakrishnan, Institute for Human Genetics, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf)
  • 21.10.: Cell populations from cord blood for advanced and regenerative therapies (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Gesine Kögler, University Hospital Düsseldorf)
  • 14.10.: Pain patient specific iPS-cells for functional disease modelling (Research Spotlight with Anika Neureiter, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen University)
  • 23.09.: Overarching control of autophagy and DNA damage response by CHD6 revealed by modeling a rare human pathology (Research Spotlight mit Dr. Yulia Kargapolova, University of Cologne
  • 16.09.: GMP-compliant iPS cells and differentiation work flows for cell therapy (Spotlight: External Speakers with Dr. habil. Boris Greber, RheinCell Therapeutics GmbH
  • 09.09.: Vascular wall-resident mesenchymal stem cell fates within lung cancer (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Diana Klein, University Hospital Essen) 
  • 26.08.: SARS-CoV-2 infections in iPS derived human lung organoids (Spotlight: COVID-19 Research with PD Dr. Thorsten Müller, Ruhr University Bochum) 
  • 12.08.: Endoscopic Spraying of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: An In Vitro Study for Local Cell Therapy of the Lungs (Research Spotlight with Dr. Lena Thiebes, RWTH Aachen University)
  • 29.07.: SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication in IPSC derived retinal organoids (Spotlight: COVID-19 Research with Dr. Yotam Menuchin Lasowksi, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine Münster)
  • 15.07.: Stem cell based modelling of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease goes 3D (Research Spotlight with Dr. Nina Graffmann, University Hospital Düsseldorf)
  • 01.07.: Cancer Cell Fusion (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Thomas Dittmar, Witten/Herdecke University)
  • 17.06.: Obstacles to debating the ethics of human embryonic stem cell research (Research Spotlight with Dr. Alexander Christian, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
  • 02.06.: Stem cell research at the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences (Member Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Nilima Prakash and 
  • Prof. Dr. Lara Tickenbrock, Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences)
  • 20.05.: Modeling KIT D816V Systemic Mastocytosis with Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Identification of Nintedanib as a New Drug Candidate
    (Research Spotlight with Marcelo Szymanski, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen University)
  • 19.11.: iPSCs in modeling and drug discovery of mitochondrial diseases (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Alessandro Prigione, University Hospital Düsseldorf)
  • 05.11.: Direct Conversion of Blood into NSCs: Prospects for Biomedical Applications (Research Spotlight with Lea Flitsch, University Hospital Bonn)
  • 22.10.: Stem cell research at the IUF: Science for human safety and animal protection
    (Member Spotlight with Prof. Ellen Fritsche and Dr. Andrea Rossi, IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Düsseldorf)
  • 08.10.: Redox regulation of development and differentiation (Research Spotlight with PD Dr. rer. nat. Carsten Berndt, University Hospital Düsseldorf)
  • 17.09.: Hydrogel culture of iPS cell derived cardiomyocytes for basic research and biotechnology (Research Spotlight with PD Kurt Pfannkuche, University of Cologne)
  • 10.09.: Research at the MPI of Molecular Physiology: Using stem cells across biological scales
    (Member Spotlight with Johann Jarzombek, Slava Ziegler, Michael Grange und Christian Schröter, MPI Dortmund)
  • 27.08.: Analysis of the functional consequences of truncating RUNX1 mutations in mouse HSPCs(Research Spotlight with Samantha Langer, University Hospital Essen)
  • 13.08.: Analysis of human serum-mediated effects on adult human cardiac stem cells by global gene expression profiling (Research Spotlight with Anna Höving, Bielefeld University)
  • 30.07.: Syndecan-1 and Heparanase - novel regulators of cancer stem cell function (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Martin Götte, University Hospital Münster)
  • 16.07.: Escape the rodent trap: sodium channels and stem cells in translational pain research (Research Spotlight with Prof. Dr. Angelika Lampert, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen University)
  • 02.07.: RNA-targeting Cas9 Corrects Molecular and Physiological Features of Myotonic  Dystrophy Type I (External Spotlight with Dr. David Nelles, currently doing a sabbatical at the University of Cologne, Kurian lab)
  • 18.06.: Towards fully automated cell production: News about laboratory automation at the Fraunhofer IPT (Member Spotlight with Bastian Niessing)
  • 04.06.: Oct4 pioneers nucleosomes in motion (Research Spotlight with Dr. Vlad Cojocaru)
  • 14.05.: Modelling neuropathology of Covid-19 in stem cell based 3D human brain organoids (COVID-19 Stammtisch with Prof. Jay Gopalakrishnan, see preprint)
  • 30.04.: Treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 with convalescent plasma (COVID-19 Stammtisch with Prof. Monika Lindemann)
  • 24.04.: Unproven Therapies - Recent ongoing approaches with COVID-19 (COVID-19 Stammtisch with Dr. Verena Börger)
  • 16.04.: Open exchange especially about the current situation and restrictions in the laboratories and universities closures (COVID-19 Stammtisch)

Interested to give a Spotlight Talk?

Is there a new publication in your research group, have you developed/tested a new method or would you like to give insights into your laboratory? Please contact the coordination office if you would like to contribute to one of the next Spotlights. We are happy to receive any topic suggestions.