MedSys - Chronic Wounds (BMBF): Systems biology of Wound Healing

Goal of the cooperative project is the development of an integrated approach towards the understanding of wound healing.

Using silico-, in vitro- and in vivo models, the re-epithelialisation process in healing skin wounds is studied.To this end, a multi-scale approach integrating the molecular and cell biological level is pursued with the goal of deriving therapeutically relevant insights into the molecular machinery of the skin.

The joint research project consolidates the expertise of theoretically, experimentally and clinically working groups of the DKFZ (Angel, Boukamp), the university of Heidelberg (Eils) and the university hospital of Heidelberg (Grabe, Germann, Schirmacher).

The systems biological model to be developed will (1) reflect the complexity and dynamics of the wound healing process from wounding to wound closure on a cellular and tissue level and (2) offer new strategies for clinical improvements of wound closure.

The group of Dr. Grabe investigates the wound closure process on a cellular level via a computer based multi-agent model of keratinocytes (WP1b) and analyses the influence of topically applied growth factors on an wound closure model based on three-dimensional organotypic cultures (WP4a).

Simulation of Epidermal Wound Closure

In silico 2D and 3D simulation of the Extending Shield Mechanism (ESM).


At the beginning, an extending epidermal tongue (EET) develops. Later on, a triangular structure composed of early suprabasal cells and basal cells emerges. Finally, the wound gap was completely (100%) reepithelialized. The simulation yields as a result a fully reepithelialized and stratified neo-epidermis.

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