Advanced cell culture and the persistent self‐restraint of life sciences by doing‘flat biology’ – is this a paradox or not?

Hektros, Spinoff Università di Innsbruck

27 th February 2019
Versione stampabile

Error message

An unexpected error occurred while connecting to the Alfresco repository. Please contact the server administrator for assistance.

Luogo: Povo 2 - aula B103
Orario: 14.00


  • Thomas Seppi, Dept. of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Medical University Innsbruck
  • Gerhard Tratter, Tratter Engineering, Bolzano,  
  • Daniel Hekl,  Hektros srl., Bolzano

​Hektros,  Spinoff Università di Innsbruck 

Cell culture is the basic tool used to perform the greatest part of basic life science investigations. However, the most frequently used 2D‐static batch culture in simple polystyrene dishes and plates is afflicted by several pitfalls. These include cyclic changes in protein expression, hypoxic and oxidative stress, nutritional overload and subsequent starvation, genetic instability, cell senescence, and dedifferentiation, the latter accompanied by deteriorated morphology and a switch to glycolytic metabolism as prevalent in‐vivo only in cancerous cells. In addition, static dish and plate cultures
suffer from a widely unknown or simply ignored physical drawback: inhomogeneous nutrient and oxygen supply caused by a surface‐tension induced highly inhomogeneous supernatant distribution.
As a consequence, culture‐based investigations inherently lack reliability as well as reproducibility since a classical dish culture of cell monolayers does not at all reflect the natural environment of tissue‐embedded cells in‐vivo.  During the last decades, knowledge about micro‐environmental needs of cultivated cells rapidly increased and countless ‘advanced’ cell culture methods have been developed to improve in‐vitro
models. Especially drug screening and live‐cell imaging demand more meaningful, at best even standardisable culture models. Astonishingly, more in‐vivo like methodologies still do not enter routine cell culture on a large scale ‐ even not in academic laboratories mainly engaged in cell biology research.  
Here, a brief insight into the complex world of supposedly 'simple' cell culture‐physiology will be presented, followed by a discussion of the most important entry barriers of innovative cell culture methods in the scientific and pharmaceutical‐industrial routine application.