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Institute of Bioengineering

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Dr Daniela Loessner


Reader in Bioengineering and Cancer

Department Barts Cancer Institute
 Charterhouse Square

Research Keywords

3D cell culture, in vitro disease models, humanized animal models, cancer research

Research Interests

I am a cell biologist because I wish to make a difference to patients diagnosed with cancer. Working here at the Barts Cancer Institute allows me to use interdisciplinary approaches to develop 3D models that mimic the human disease in the laboratory and to find better therapeutics.

Research Details

My research is placed at the interface between Cancer Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering, with the aim to develop bioengineered 3D co-culture models that recreate the tumour microenvironment.

These bioengineered platforms will enable us to:

- dissect the complex cellular communications, taking place within multi-cellular cancer spheroids and between cancer spheroids and their niche

- screen new therapeutics that specifically target the tumour microenvironment.


Wagner F, Holzapfel BM, Martine LC, McGovern J, Lahr CA, Boxberg M, Prodinger PM, Grässel S, Loessner D and Hutmacher DW (2019). A humanized bone microenvironment uncovers HIF2 alpha as a latent marker for osteosarcoma. Acta Biomater  vol. 89, 372-381. 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.02.051

Loessner D, Rockstroh A, Shokoohmand A, Holzapfel BM, Wagner F, Baldwin J, Boxberg M, Schmalfeldt B, Lengyel E, Clements JA and Hutmacher DW (2019). A 3D tumor microenvironment regulates cell proliferation, peritoneal growth and expression patterns. Biomaterials  vol. 190-191, 63-75. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.10.014


McGovern JA, Shafiee A, Wagner F, Lahr CA, Landgraf M, Meinert C, Williams ED, Russell PJ, Clements JA, Loessner D, Holzapfel BM, Risbridger GP and Hutmacher DW (2018). Humanization of the Prostate Microenvironment Reduces Homing of PC3 Prostate Cancer Cells to Human Tissue-Engineered Bone. Cancers (Basel)  vol. 10, (11) 10.3390/cancers10110438

Little JP, Pettet GJ, Hutmacher DW and Loessner D (2018). SpheroidSim-Preliminary evaluation of a new computational tool to predict the influence of cell cycle time and phase fraction on spheroid growth. Biotechnol Prog  vol. 34, (6) 1335-1343. 10.1002/btpr.2692

Wang P, Magdolen V, Seidl C, Dorn J, Drecoll E, Kotzsch M, Yang F, Schmitt M, Schilling O, Rockstroh A, Clements JA and Loessner D (2018). Kallikrein-related peptidases 4, 5, 6 and 7 regulate tumour-associated factors in serous ovarian cancer. Br J Cancer  vol. 119, (7) 1-9. 10.1038/s41416-018-0260-1

Loessner D, Goettig P, Preis S, Felber J, Bronger H, Clements JA, Dorn J and Magdolen V (2018). Kallikrein-related peptidases represent attractive therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer. Expert Opin Ther Targets  vol. 22, (9) 745-763. 10.1080/14728222.2018.1512587

Wagner F, Holzapfel BM, McGovern JA, Shafiee A, Baldwin JG, Martine LC, Lahr CA, Wunner FM, Friis T, Bas O, Boxberg M, Prodinger PM, Shokoohmand A, Moi D, Mazzieri R, Loessner D and Hutmacher DW (2018). Humanization of bone and bone marrow in an orthotopic site reveals new potential therapeutic targets in osteosarcoma. Biomaterials  vol. 171, 230-246. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.04.030

Meinert C, Theodoropoulos C, Klein TJ, Hutmacher DW and Loessner D (2018). A Method for Prostate and Breast Cancer Cell Spheroid Cultures Using Gelatin Methacryloyl-Based Hydrogels. Methods Mol Biol  vol. 1786, 175-194. 10.1007/978-1-4939-7845-8_10

Quent V, Taubenberger AV, Reichert JC, Martine LC, Clements JA, Hutmacher DW and Loessner D (2018). A humanised tissue-engineered bone model allows species-specific breast cancer-related bone metastasis in vivo. J Tissue Eng Regen Med  vol. 12, (2) 494-504. 10.1002/term.2517


Momot KI, Bas O, Holzapfel NP and Loessner D (2017). Magnetic resonance microimaging of cancer cell spheroid constructs. Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging  vol. 5, (1) 41-54. 10.3233/BSI-150130

Holzapfel NP, Shokoohmand A, Wagner F, Landgraf M, Champ S, Holzapfel BM, Clements JA, Hutmacher DW and Loessner D (2017). Lycopene reduces ovarian tumor growth and intraperitoneal metastatic load. E-Century Publishing Corporation  Am J Cancer Res  vol. 7, (6) 1322-1336.

Muerza-Cascante ML, Shokoohmand A, Khosrotehrani K, Haylock D, Dalton PD, Hutmacher DW and Loessner D (2017). Endosteal-like extracellular matrix expression on melt electrospun written scaffolds. Acta Biomater  vol. 52, 145-158. 10.1016/j.actbio.2016.12.040

Tourell MC, Shokoohmand A, Landgraf M, Holzapfel NP, Poh PSP, Loessner D and Momot KI (2017). The distribution of the apparent diffusion coefficient as an indicator of the response to chemotherapeutics in ovarian tumour xenografts. Sci Rep  vol. 7, 10.1038/srep42905


Fuhrman-Luck RA, Stansfield SH, Stephens CR, Loessner D and Clements JA (2016). Prostate Cancer-Associated Kallikrein-Related Peptidase 4 Activates Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 and Thrombospondin-1. J Proteome Res  vol. 15, (8) 2466-2478. 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b01148

Wagner F, Holzapfel BM, Thibaudeau L, Straub M, Ling M-T, Grifka J, Loessner D, Lévesque J-P and Hutmacher DW (2016). A Validated Preclinical Animal Model for Primary Bone Tumor Research. J Bone Joint Surg Am  vol. 98, (11) 916-925. 10.2106/JBJS.15.00920

Badenoch-Jones EK, Lynham AJ and Loessner D (2016). Consent for third molar tooth extractions in Australia and New Zealand: a review of current practice. Aust Dent J  vol. 61, (2) 203-207. 10.1111/adj.12339

Loessner D, Meinert C, Kaemmerer E, Martine LC, Yue K, Levett PA, Klein TJ, Melchels FPW, Khademhosseini A and Hutmacher DW (2016). Functionalization, preparation and use of cell-laden gelatin methacryloyl-based hydrogels as modular tissue culture platforms. Nat Protoc  vol. 11, (4) 727-746. 10.1038/nprot.2016.037

Kryza T, Silva ML, Loessner D, Heuzé-Vourc'h N and Clements JA (2016). The kallikrein-related peptidase family: Dysregulation and functions during cancer progression. Biochimie  vol. 122, 283-299. 10.1016/j.biochi.2015.09.002

Holzapfel NP, Holzapfel BM, Theodoropoulos C, Kaemmerer E, Rausch T, Feldthusen J, Champ S, Clements JA, Hutmacher DW and Loessner D (2016). Lycopene's Effects on Cancer Cell Functions within Monolayer and Spheroid Cultures. Nutr Cancer  vol. 68, (2) 350-363. 10.1080/01635581.2016.1150498

Dorn J, Yassouridis A, Walch A, Diamandis EP, Schmitt M, Kiechle M, Wang P, Drecoll E, Schmalfeldt B, Loessner D, Kotzsch M and Magdolen V (2016). Assessment of kallikrein-related peptidase 5 (KLK5) protein expression in tumor tissue of advanced ovarian cancer patients by immunohistochemistry and ELISA: correlation with clinical outcome. Am J Cancer Res  vol. 6, (1) 61-70.


Hutmacher DW, Holzapfel BM, De-Juan-Pardo EM, Pereira BA, Ellem SJ, Loessner D and Risbridger GP (2015). Convergence of regenerative medicine and synthetic biology to develop standardized and validated models of human diseases with clinical relevance. Curr Opin Biotechnol  vol. 35, 127-132. 10.1016/j.copbio.2015.06.001

Badenoch-Jones E and Lynham A (2015). Consent for third molar tooth extractions in Australia and New Zealand: a review of current practice. Elsevier Bv  International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery  vol. 44, e32-e32. 10.1016/j.ijom.2015.08.454

Holzapfel BM, Hutmacher DW, Nowlan B, Barbier V, Thibaudeau L, Theodoropoulos C, Hooper JD, Loessner D, Clements JA, Russell PJ, Pettit AR, Winkler IG and Levesque J-P (2015). Tissue engineered humanized bone supports human hematopoiesis?in?vivo. Biomaterials  vol. 61, 103-114. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.04.057

Hutmacher DW, Little JP, Pettet GJ and Loessner D (2015). Biomaterial science meets computational biology. J Mater Sci Mater Med  vol. 26, (5) 10.1007/s10856-015-5518-z


Loessner D, Holzapfel BM and Clements JA (2014). Engineered microenvironments provide new insights into ovarian and prostate cancer progression and drug responses. Adv Drug Deliv Rev  vol. 79-80, 193-213. 10.1016/j.addr.2014.06.001

Fuhrman-Luck RA, Loessner D and Clements JA (2014). Kallikrein-Related Peptidases in Prostate Cancer: From Molecular Function to Clinical Application. Ejifcc  vol. 25, (3) 269-281.

Kaemmerer E, Melchels FPW, Holzapfel BM, Meckel T, Hutmacher DW and Loessner D (2014). Gelatine methacrylamide-based hydrogels: an alternative three-dimensional cancer cell culture system. Acta Biomater  vol. 10, (6) 2551-2562. 10.1016/j.actbio.2014.02.035

Fuhrman-Luck RA, Silva ML, Dong Y, Irving-Rodgers H, Stoll T, Hastie ML, Loessner D, Gorman JJ and Clements JA (2014). Proteomic and other analyses to determine the functional consequences of deregulated kallikrein-related peptidase (KLK) expression in prostate and ovarian cancer. Proteomics Clin Appl  vol. 8, (5-6) 403-415. 10.1002/prca.201300098

Holzapfel BM, Wagner F, Loessner D, Holzapfel NP, Thibaudeau L, Crawford R, Ling M-T, Clements JA, Russell PJ and Hutmacher DW (2014). Species-specific homing mechanisms of human prostate cancer metastasis in tissue engineered bone. Biomaterials  vol. 35, (13) 4108-4115. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.01.062

Shahinian H, Loessner D, Biniossek ML, Kizhakkedathu JN, Clements JA, Magdolen V and Schilling O (2014). Secretome and degradome profiling shows that Kallikrein-related peptidases 4, 5, 6, and 7 induce TGF?-1 signaling in ovarian cancer cells. Mol Oncol  vol. 8, (1) 68-82. 10.1016/j.molonc.2013.09.003

Dong Y, Loessner D, Irving-Rodgers H, Obermair A, Nicklin JL and Clements JA (2014). Metastasis of ovarian cancer is mediated by kallikrein related peptidases. Clin Exp Metastasis  vol. 31, (1) 135-147. 10.1007/s10585-013-9615-4


Loessner D, Rizzi SC, Stok KS, Fuehrmann T, Hollier B, Magdolen V, Hutmacher DW and Clements JA (2013). A bioengineered 3D ovarian cancer model for the assessment of peptidase-mediated enhancement of spheroid growth and intraperitoneal spread. Biomaterials  vol. 34, (30) 7389-7400. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.06.009

Loessner D, Kobel S, Clements JA, Lutolf MP and Hutmacher DW (2013). Hydrogel Microwell Arrays Allow the Assessment of Protease-Associated Enhancement of Cancer Cell Aggregation and Survival. Microarrays (Basel)  vol. 2, (3) 208-227. 10.3390/microarrays2030208

Loessner D, Little JP, Pettet GJ and Hutmacher DW (2013). A multiscale road map of cancer spheroids--incorporating experimental and mathematical modelling to understand cancer progression. J Cell Sci  vol. 126, (Pt 13) 2761-2771. 10.1242/jcs.123836

LOESSNER D (2013). Integrin-functionalized artificial membranes as test platforms for monitoring small integrin ligand binding by surface plasmon-enhanced fluorescence spectroscopy. Handbook of Biofunctional Surfaces  Crc Press 

Loessner D, Flegg JA, Byrne HM, Clements JA and Hutmacher DW (2013). Growth of confined cancer spheroids: a combined experimental and mathematical modelling approach. Integr Biol (Camb)  vol. 5, (3) 597-605. 10.1039/c3ib20252f


Dong Y, Loessner D, Sieh S, Taubenberger A, Fuhrman-Luck RA, Magdolen V, Hutmacher DW and Clements JA (2012). Cellular model systems to study the tumor biological role of kallikrein-related peptidases in ovarian and prostate cancer. Novel Cancer-Related Biomarkers 

Loessner D, Quent VMC, Kraemer J, Weber EC, Hutmacher DW, Magdolen V and Clements JA (2012). Combined expression of KLK4, KLK5, KLK6, and KLK7 by ovarian cancer cells leads to decreased adhesion and paclitaxel-induced chemoresistance. Gynecol Oncol  vol. 127, (3) 569-578. 10.1016/j.ygyno.2012.09.001

Brown TD, Slotosch A, Thibaudeau L, Taubenberger A, Loessner D, Vaquette C, Dalton PD and Hutmacher DW (2012). Design and fabrication of tubular scaffolds via direct writing in a melt electrospinning mode. Biointerphases  vol. 7, (1-4) 10.1007/s13758-011-0013-7

Brown TD, Slotosch A, Thibaudeau L, Taubenberger A, Loessner D, Vaquette C, Dalton PD and Hutmacher DW (2012). Design and fabrication of tubular scaffolds via direct writing in a melt electrospinning mode. Biointerphases  vol. 7, (1-4) 1-16. 10.1007/s13758-011-0013-7


Lawrence MG, Margaryan NV, Loessner D, Collins A, Kerr KM, Turner M, Seftor EA, Stephens CR, Lai J, APC BioResource , Postovit L-M, Clements JA and Hendrix MJC (2011). Reactivation of embryonic nodal signaling is associated with tumor progression and promotes the growth of prostate cancer cells. Prostate  vol. 71, (11) 1198-1209. 10.1002/pros.21335


Loessner D, Stok KS, Lutolf MP, Hutmacher DW, Clements JA and Rizzi SC (2010). Bioengineered 3D platform to explore cell-ECM interactions and drug resistance of epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Biomaterials  vol. 31, (32) 8494-8506. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.07.064

Quent VMC, Loessner D, Friis T, Reichert JC and Hutmacher DW (2010). Discrepancies between metabolic activity and DNA content as tool to assess cell proliferation in cancer research. J Cell Mol Med  vol. 14, (4) 1003-1013. 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2010.01013.x

Dong Y, Tan OL, Loessner D, Stephens C, Walpole C, Boyle GM, Parsons PG and Clements JA (2010). Kallikrein-related peptidase 7 promotes multicellular aggregation via the alpha(5)beta(1) integrin pathway and paclitaxel chemoresistance in serous epithelial ovarian carcinoma. Cancer Res  vol. 70, (7) 2624-2633. 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3415

Hutmacher DW, Loessner D, Rizzi S, Kaplan DL, Mooney DJ and Clements JA (2010). Can tissue engineering concepts advance tumor biology research? Trends Biotechnol  vol. 28, (3) 125-133. 10.1016/j.tibtech.2009.12.001


Hutmacher DW, Horch RE, Loessner D, Rizzi S, Sieh S, Reichert JC, Clements JA, Beier JP, Arkudas A, Bleiziffer O and Kneser U (2009). Translating tissue engineering technology platforms into cancer research. J Cell Mol Med  vol. 13, (8A) 1417-1427. 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2009.00853.x

Lössner D, Abou-Ajram C, Benge A, Aumercier M, Schmitt M and Reuning U (2009). Integrin ?v?3 upregulates integrin-linked kinase expression in human ovarian cancer cells via enhancement of ILK gene transcription. Wiley  Journal of Cellular Physiology  vol. 220, (2) 367-375. 10.1002/jcp.21774


Lössner D, Abou-Ajram C, Benge A and Reuning U (2008). Integrin ?v?3 mediates upregulation of epidermal growth-factor receptor expression and activity in human ovarian cancer cells. Elsevier Bv  The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology  vol. 40, (12) 2746-2761. 10.1016/j.biocel.2008.05.014


Lenski C, Kooy RF, Reyniers E, Loessner D, Wanders RJA, Winnepenninckx B, Hellebrand H, Engert S, Schwartz CE, Meindl A and Ramser J (2007). The reduced expression of the HADH2 protein causes X-linked mental retardation, choreoathetosis, and abnormal behavior. Am J Hum Genet  vol. 80, (2) 372-377. 10.1086/511527


Lössner D, Kessler H, Thumshirn G, Dahmen C, Wiltschi B, Tanaka M, Knoll W, Sinner E-K and Reuning U (2006). Binding of Small Mono- and Oligomeric Integrin Ligands to Membrane-Embedded Integrins Monitored by Surface Plasmon-Enhanced Fluorescence Spectroscopy. American Chemical Society (Acs)  Analytical Chemistry  vol. 78, (13) 4524-4533. 10.1021/ac052078+

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