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Principal Investigator Matthias Meier
Bioengineering and Microfluidics


Human fat tissue has evolved to serve as a major energy reserve. An imbalance between energy intake and expenditure leads to an expansion of adipose tissue and degeneration of the endocrine function of the pancreas. Maintenance of this energy imbalance over longer times leads to obesity and metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, for which clinical cures are not yet available. 

Our research project aims to develop and use pancreatic and adipose tissue models outside organisms in sizes of micrometers for studying the differentiation of human inducible pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into functional tissue. For assembly of so called organoids, we combine microfluidic chip technologies with quantitative bioanalytics. In particular, the integration of organoids on microfluidic chip platforms is exploited in our lab to dynamically control their chemical, cell architectural, and mechanical microenvironment of hiPSCs. With novel single cell resolution in situ detection systems, we aim to reveal, which microenvironmental stem cell niche factors are required to differentiate hiPSCs into metabolic responsive cells, communication pathways between organs, and the importance of cell heterogeneity in organs for their proper function.

Our key questions

Upon combining engineering and biology approaches, we want to understand mechanistically the role of natural stem cell niches, determine how to simulate them under laboratory conditions and finally provide patient-specific, clinically relevant information for developing new cell-based treatments for obesity and diabetes.

Group members focus to find solutions for the following four key questions:

  • Does a dynamic chemical microenvironment changes cell lineage decisions during the development of the human adipose and pancreatic tissue?  (Keyword: Chemical Programming by Microfluidics)
  • Can we induce and resolve cell heterogeneity in pancreatic organoids? (Keyword: Single Cell Protein Interaction Profiling)
  • Can we resolve cell heterogeneity with high spatial analysis in organoids on chip? (Keyword: Spatial Protein Interaction Profiling)
  • How to assemble functional adipocytes and/or pancreas organoids on chip?  (Keyword: Organ-on-Chip)

Dr. Matthias Meier

Principal Investigator, Bioengineering and Microfluidics

Matthias Meier is a German biophysicist who received his PhD from the University of Basel in Switzerland in 2006. In 2008 he was awarded with the Feodor-Lynen postdoctoral fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and worked 4 years with Steven Quake at Stanford University. With help of an Emmy-Noether-Fellowship from the German Research Foundation he returned to Europe and established an independent research group at the Microsystem Engineering department of the University of Freiburg. In 2017 Dr. Meier received the ERC Consolidator grant for performing research in medical engineering field of Organ-on-Chips. In 2018 Matthias Meier joined the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus.


Dr. Matthias Meier

Positions and Career

2018 - present
Principal Investigator at Helmholtz Pioneer Campus, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany

2012 - 2018
Independent Research Group Leader (DFG Emmy-Noether Fellow) at IMTEK, University of Freiburg, Germany

2009 - 2011
Postdoc at Stanford University, Laboratory of Professor Stephen Quake, USA

2008 - 2009
Postdoc at University of Chicago, Laboratory of Professor Rustem Ismagilov, USA


1998 – 2004
Biochemistry, University of Regensburg, Germany

2003 - 2004
Diploma in Biophysics, University of Regensburg, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Eike Brunner

2004 - 2008
PhD in Biophysics / University of Basel, Szitzerland
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Joachim Seelig


Invited Lectures

Institute de Gennes, Synergy Microfluidics & Biology, Paris, France

MicroTas, South Korea (1 PhD student talk)  

W2 Professorship application, Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität, Münster, Germany

MicroTas, San Antonio, USA (2 Talks from my PhD students) 

DFG (German Research Foundation), Biophysical Meeting, Germany

ISMB Meeting, Boston, USA

DKFZ, Synthetic Biology Meeting, Heidelberg, Germany

W2 Professorship application (2nd ranked), Düsseldorf, Germany

MicroTas, Freiburg (1 PhD student talk), Germany

Dachema, Synthetic Biology Conference, Germany

02/2010 & 07/2011
Gordon Conference, Biological Microfluidics, Italy   

EMBL, Group Leader application (2nd ranked), Germany


2014 - present
Member of the German Biophysical Society

2014 - present
Technical Board Member of MicroTas


2018 - 2023
European Research Council (ERC) - Consolidator
Consolidator Grant “MicroAdiPS Chip: Micro Fat Tissue on Chip


Lab Manager

Alina Platen



Dr. Scott Atwell


Research focus: Organ-on-Chip

Dr. Tihomir Georgiev


Research focus: Chemical programming by microfluidics

Dr. Michel Moussus


Research focus: Organ-on-Chip

PhD Students

Jessi Ardila Riveros


Research focus: Chemical programming by microfluidics

Nina Compera


Research focus: Organ-on-Chip

Daniel Kokotek


Research focus: Spatial protein interaction profiling

Simon Rosowski


Research focus: Single cell protein interaction profiling

Sandra Wiedenmann


Research focus: Organ-on-Chip

Julius Wiener


Research focus: Single cell protein interaction profiling

Johannes Wirth


Research focus: Spatial protein interaction profiling

Tin Wang Wong

Research focus: Organ-on-Chip

Selected Publications

MHC class II proteins mediate cross-species entry of bat influenza viruses.

Karakus U, Thamamongood T, Ciminski K, Ran W, Günther SC, Pohl MO, Eletto D, Jeney C, Hoffmann D, Reiche S, Schinköthe J, Ulrich R, Wiener J, Hayes MGB, Chang MW, Hunziker A, Yángüez E, Aydillo T, Krammer F, Oderbolz J, Meier M, Oxenius A,  Halenius A, Zimmer G, Benner C, Hale BG, García-Sastre A, Beer M, Schwemmle M, Stertz S.
Nature. 2019 Mar;567(7746):109-112. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-0955-3.

More Details

Genetic Code Expansion Method for Temporal Labeling of Endogenously Expressed Proteins.

Schneider N, Gäbelein C, Wiener J, Georgiev T, Gobet N, Weber W, Meier M.
ACS Chem Biol. 2018 Nov 16;13(11):3049-3053. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.8b00594.

More Details

Rapid spheroid clearing on a microfluidic chip.

Silva Santisteban T, Rabajania O, Kalinina I, Robinson S, Meier M.
Lab Chip. 2017 Dec 19;18(1):153-161. doi: 10.1039/c7lc01114h.

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In situ characterization of the mTORC1 during adipogenesis of human adult stem cells on chip.

Wu X, Schneider N, Platen A, Mitra I, Blazek M, Zengerle R, Schüle R, Meier M.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jul 19;113(29):E4143-50. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1601207113.

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Analysis of fast protein phosphorylation kinetics in single cells on a microfluidic chip.

Blazek M, Santisteban TS, Zengerle R, Meier M.
Lab Chip. 2015 Feb 7;15(3):726-34. doi: 10.1039/c4lc00797b.

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Proximity ligation assay for high-content profiling of cell signaling pathways on a microfluidic chip.

Blazek M, Betz C, Hall MN, Reth M, Zengerle R, Meier M.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 Dec;12(12):3898-907. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M113.032821.

More Details

Contact us

HPC contact Meier



Helmholtz Pioneer Campus
Helmholtz Zentrum München
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH)

Ingolstädter Landstr. 1
85764 Neuherberg