Prof. Dr. Martin Zenke



Martin Zenke

Institute for Biomedical Engineering – Cell Biology


Stem Cells

Our research focuses on stem cells, including engineered induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), for disease modeling and drug development. We generate iPS cells from patients with specific point mutations in important signaling pathways, such as the D816V mutation in the stem cell factor (SCF) receptor KIT (In collaboration with T. Brümmendorf and S. Koschmieder, RWTH Aachen University Hospital). iPS cells represent an inexhaustible cell source for generating e.g. KIT D816V leukemia cells for compound screening, including known tyrosine kinase inhibitors and newly developed compounds. In addition, we employ genome editing with CRISPR/Cas for generating new human stem cells to be used as reporter cells for assay development.



Stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), ES cells, iPS cells), antigen presenting dendritic cells, in vitro differentiation systems

Nanoparticles for cell tracking, biomaterials and cells in biohybrids

Animal models (transgenic and knockout mice, reporter mice)

Gene regulation, chromatin (microarrays, RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq)



Modeling of compound-target interactions, gene regulation and signaling pathways; compound synthesis and shRNA libraries for assay development and screening.



  1. Qin, J., Sontag, S., Lin, Q., Mitzka, S., Leisten I., Schneider, R. K., Wang, X., Jauch, A., Peitz, M., Brüstle, O., Wagner, W., Zhao, R. C., and Zenke, M. (2014). Cell fusion enhances mesendodermal differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cells Dev. 23. 2875-2882.
  2. Chauvistré, H., Küstermann, C., Rehage, N., Klisch, T., Mitzka, S., Felker, P., Rose-John, S., Zenke, M., and Seré, K. M. (2014). Dendritic cell development requires histone deacetylase activity. Eur. J. Immunol. 44, 2478-2488.
  3. Ding, X., Wang, X., Sontag, S., Qin, J., Wanek, P., Lin, Q., and Zenke, M. (2014). The polycomb protein Ezh2 impacts on induced pluripotent stem cell generation. Stem Cells Dev. 23, 931-940.
  4. Seré, K., Baek, J.-H., Ober-Blöbaum, J., Müller-Newen, G., Tacke, F., Yokota, Y., Zenke, M., and Hieronymus, T. (2012) Two distinct types of Langerhans cells populate the skin during steady state and inflammation. Immunity 37, 905-919.
  5. Shokouhi, B., Coban, C., Hasirci, V., Aydin, E., Dhanasingh, A., Shi, N., Koyama, S., Akira, S., Zenke, M., and Sechi, A. S. (2010). The role of multiple Toll-like receptor signaling cascades on interactions between biomedical polymers and dendritic cells. Biomaterials 31, 5759-5771.
  6. Kim, J. B., Zaehres, H., Wu, G., Gentile, L., Ko, K., Sebastiano, V., Araúzo-Bravo, M. J., Ruau, D., Han, D. W., Zenke, M., and Schöler, H. R. (2008). Pluripotent stem cells derived from adult neural stem cells by reprogramming with two factors. Nature 454, 646-650.