Osteogenesis on a chip

Innovative three-dimensional (3D) cell culture techniques are becoming increasingly important in hard tissue research, as a growing number of in vitro studies point to more tissue-specific bone cell behavior in response to physiologically orientated 3D microenvironments, compared to traditional 2D-monolayer configurations. In this context, we are using a micro-structured polymer chip as a scaffold, which enables cells to self-assemble into adherent multicellular aggregates of uniform size. Due to the specialized characteristics of the chip design, bone cells can be cultured successfully under 3D static conditions but also under dynamic conditions when using a compatible microfluidic bioreactor.


Wein M, Huelter-Hassler D, Nelson K, Fretwurst T, Nahles S, Finkenzeller G, Altmann B, Steinberg T. Differential osteopontin expression in human osteoblasts derived from iliac crest and alveolar bone and its role in early stages of angiogenesis. J Bone Miner Metab., 2019, Jan, 37(1):105-117

Fretwurst T, Gad M L, Steinberg T, Schmal H, Zeiser R, Amler A-K, Nelson K, Altmann B. Detection of Major Histocompatibility Complex Molecules in Processed Allogeneic Bone Blocks for use in Alveolar Ridge Reconstruction. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol, 2018, March, pii: S2212-4403(18)30054-3

Altmann B, Steinberg T, Giselbrecht S, Gottwald E, Tomakidi T, Bächle-Haas M, Kohal R-J. (2011). Promotion of osteoblast differentiation in 3D biomaterial micro-chip arrays comprising fibronectin-coated poly(methyl methacrylate) polycarbonate. Biomaterials; 32 (34), 8947-56

Altmann B, Ahrens R, Welle A, Dinglreiter H, Schneider M, Schober A. Microstructuring of multiwell plates for three-dimensional cell culture applications by ultrasonic embossing. Biomed Microdevices, 2012, 4(2):291-301

Altmann B, Welle A, Giselbrecht S, Truckenmüller R, Gottwald E. (2009). The famous versus the inconvenient – or the dawn and the rise of 3D-culture systems. World J Stem Cells; 1(1): 43-48

Altmann B, Giselbrecht S, Weibezahn KF, Welle A, Gottwald E. (2008). The three-dimensional cultivation of the hepatoma cell line HepG2 in a perfused chip system leads to a more differentiated phenotype of the cells compared to monolayer. Biomed. Mater.; 3 (3)

Gottwald E, Giselbrecht S, Augspurger C, Lahni B, Dambrowsky N, Truckenmuller R, Piotter V, Gietzelt T, Wendt O, Pfleging W, Welle A, Rolletschek A, Wobus AM, Weibezahn KF. A chip-based platform for the in vitro generation of tissues in three-dimensional organization. Lab Chip, 2007, 7 (6), 777-85

Assoc. Prof. (PD) Brigitte Altmann, Ph.D.

Dept. of Prosthetic Dentistry Freiburg University Medical Center

Section Head, Cell Biology-inspired Oral Tissue Regeneration


Doctor of Philosophy (Biology), Heidelberg University and Institute for Biological Interfaces-1, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany


Institute for Biological Interfaces-1, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Dept. of Oral, Maxillofacial, & Regional Plastic Surgery, Freiburg University Medical Center, Germany

Dept. of Prosthetic Dentistry, Freiburg University Medical Center, Germany