Annemarie Ecke

E-Mail: Annemarie.Ecke(at)


Prof. Dr. Fabian Commichau

Prof. Dr. Ursula Anderer

Titel der Dissertation:

Cartilage regeneration using a co-culture model of human primary chondrocytes and osteoblasts


Osteoarthrosis (OA) is the most common age-associated joint disease worldwide, affecting at least 10 million people in Germany alone. It is a degenerative joint disease, which leads to the degradation of cartilage tissue as well as influences adjacent bones, muscles, joint capsules and ligaments. The disease is the leading cause of chronic pain in joints and mobility limitations, especially in the elderly. The resulting limitations can lead to a reduced quality of life with an increased use of medical services, which ultimately results in increased morbidity. Conventional therapies for osteoarthrosis are limited and consist primarily of pain management and muscle strengthening through physical exercises. However, osteoarthrosis cannot be healed and a joint replacement is required.

The aim of the research project is to develop a novel cell-based osteoarthrosis therapy. Since both cartilage and bone are affected in OA, a co-culture model based on the connection and interaction of cartilage- and bone-like microtissues should be developed and established. The source of cartilage (chondrocytes) and bone cells (osteoblasts) are condyles of patients undergoing knee replacement surgery. Initial experiments will focus on the optimisation of the differentiation of chondrocytes and osteoblasts alone in a 3D environment. Further experiments will then establish techniques for the co-culture of both cell types or cell-based microtissues.


Since I am not able to comprehend and unravel the mysteries of the universe, my love for biology and chemistry were the subjects guiding me in school towards the future. Already when working towards my graduation in school, I set my mind on studying Biotechnology and regenerating organs in a lab. In the end, I chose to start my Bachelor in Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences in Senftenberg (later Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg) because the study programme is highly practice-based. During my practical term and my Bachelor thesis, I was at the research group of Prof. Dr. med. Ingo Kutschka at the University hospital in Magdeburg working on induced pluripotent stem cells to generate heart tissue. Afterwards, I also studied my Master in Biotechnology at the BTU with the focus Cell Biology. During my Master thesis I did not generate any tissues and instead analysed the effects of a substance on the angiogenic process induced by endothelial cells. But as I still wanted to regenerate tissues and someday whole organs, I took the opportunity to join the laboratory of Prof. Ursula Anderer in 2018. After working in the laboratory for nearly two years, I decided to do my dissertation at the research group and received a scholarship from the Graduate Research School in 2019. Besides my passion for Tissue Engineering, I love reading, writing and hiking. And learning more about the mysteries of the universe.

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