In pharmaceutical research, small tissue spheres are used as mini-organ models for reproducible tests. TU Wien has found a way to develop a reliable standard for these tissue samples. Before drugs are tested in clinical trials, they must be tested either by animal experiments or, more recen ... more
Technische Universität Wien, Institut für Angewandte Synthesechemie
Sarah Spitz, born in 1993, studied biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, graduating with an engineering diploma degree. While studying, she was employed for two years as a research assistant at the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) at BOKU. She completed her inter-institutional master’s thesis at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, the TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology) and the Medical University of Vienna. In 2017, Sarah Spitz accepted a PhD position in the “Cell Chip Group” of Professor Dr. Ertl at TU Wien, where she is researching to develop a physiological midbrain model to investigate neurodegenerative processes in Parkinson's disease. Sarah Spitz works as a project assistant at TU Wien and is project leader of several, partly international, projects.
As part of Professor Dr. Ertl’s research group at the TU Wien, Sarah Spitz uses the advantages of organ-on-a-chip technology and its microfluidics to study Parkinson's disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are used to grow miniature models of the midbrain in cell culture, so-called midbrain organoids, that are not only electrophysiologically active but also exhibit characteristics of the human midbrain. The aim is to use a wide range of technologies to investigate differences between healthy and diseased brains under physiological conditions and thus to gain new insights into how the disease develops. The multisensory, personalized platform created in the course of this work was awarded the 2020 public choice Houska Prize in the category “Academic Research”.
Sarah Spitz works on researching and establishing complex neurobiological in vitro organ and disease models using credit card sized multisensory microchips. This novel technology helps to closely imitate and control human physiology and supports both basic research and precision medicine. As a member of the Cell Chip Group, Sarah Spitz's research focuses mainly on Parkinson's disease, but also on osteoarthritis and the vascular system.
- iPSC technology
- Tissue engineering
- Cellular analytics
- Rapid prototyping