Nariman Ansari

+49 (69) 798 42555
+49 (69) 798 42546
Room number: 
Curriculum vitae: 
since 2011
Project leader ProMEBS, Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (BMLS), Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
3D cell culture, biotechnology, 3D Microscopy (LSFM), cancer research, drug development, high-throughput-screening
2009 – 2011
Postdoc, Cinnagen Co., Teheran
Molecular biology, biotechnology, diagnostics, in-vitro test systems, automated systems
2005 – 2009
Ph.D. student, Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt am Main
Neurobiology, histology, cell biology, molecular biology, protein biochemistry, in-vitro and in-vivo test systems, 2D live-cell-imaging
2004 – 2005
Research Assistant, Goethe University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main
Cell biology, molecular biology, protein biochemistry, in-vivo models, pharmacology
Research Assistant, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt
Molecular biology, target research biotechnology, drug delivery, therapeutic peptides
2003 – 2004
Diploma Thesis at Georg-Speyer-Haus, Frankfurt am Main
Cell biology, oncology, biomedical research, in-vitro test systems, high-throughput screening
1998 – 2003
Student in Biology, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main

Developing a new drug from bench to bedside requires up to 10 years and investments between 0,8 and 1,1 billion US Dollars, according to the recent published data by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  As many as 90% of new drug candidates fail during the clinical development stage. 

New assays predicting the efficacy of drugs in the early, pre-clinical stage and which prevent animal testing are required to reduce both the development time and the costs in drug development. Modern assays are performed with three-dimensional cell cultures. They essentially avoid hard and flat surfaces. Hence, they favor less constrained physiological sample dynamics and promote cells growth under tissue-like conditions. This improves the reliability and the physiological significance of the assay.

We develop three-dimensional cultures of tumor cell spheroids for phenotypic drug screening issues. The cultivated spheroids resemble their microenvironment and serve as a model for tumors in the living organism. We evaluate the therapeutic benefits as well as the toxicity of drug candidates in breast, liver and brain tumor spheroids by means of advanced light microscopy (Figure 1). We also develop a fluorescence imaging workstation for three-dimensional cultures based on LSFM that allows dynamic long-term observations of living three-dimensional cultures. Furthermore, we provide new solution to handle huge 3D data sets that arise from a time-lapse experiment, including multiple view angles and hundreds of samples by adapted data analysis algorithms and workflows (Figure 2).

Next to cancer research, we also expect to promote novel scientific approaches in modern 3D cell biology like tissue homeostasis and development, inflammation, membrane dynamics and immunology. 

Figure 1: Tumor spheroid formation of distinct cell lines. After 3-12 days a tissue-like microenvironment arise which was functionally characterized in real time by light-sheet fluorescent microscopy. * mammary ducts, bile canaliculi, autophagosome, autolysosome, # cyst.
Figure 2: Phenotypic drug screening of T-47D breast tumor spheroids by the LSFM. 3000 cells per spheroid were formed by the liquid overlay method in 96-well multiwell plates. (A) Drug treatment was quantified by the LDH assay. (B) Adapted three-dimensional image processing workflow to quantify the toxicity of drugs in spheroids by measuring the number and volume of stained nuclei in real time.

Pampaloni F, Richa R, Ansari N, Stelzer EH. Live spheroid formation recorded with light sheet-based fluorescence microscopy  Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1251:43-57.

Cell interaction and growth in a 3D heterotypic hair-follicle spheroid model mimicking diffuse hair-loss. T Hengel, S Krischok, K Riegel, N Ansari, E Stelzer and HF Abts, Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2014; 134, S40-S48.

Ansari N, Hardung S, Hötte K, Rakel S, Antonietti P, Kögel D, Stelzer EH,Pampaloni F. Quantifying the autophagy-triggering effects of drugs in cell spheroids with live fluorescence microscopy. Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1165:19-29.doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-0856-1_3.

Wenzel C, Riefke B, Gründemann S, Krebs A, Christian S, Prinz F, Osterland M, Golfier S, Räse S, Ansari N, Esner M, Bickle M, Pampaloni F, Mattheyer C, Stelzer EH, Parczyk K, Prechtl S, Steigemann P. 3D high-content screening for the identification of compounds that target cells in dormant tumor spheroid regions.
Exp Cell Res. 2014 Apr 15;323(1):131-43. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.01.017. Epub 2014 Jan 27.

Bunse S, Garg S, Junek S, Vogel D, Ansari N, Stelzer EH, Schuman E. Role of N-cadherin cis and trans interfaces in the dynamics of adherens junctions in living cells. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 2;8(12):e81517. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081517. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID: 24312555.

Godoy P, Hewitt NJ, Albrecht U, Andersen ME, Ansari N,...Recent advances in 2D and 3D in vitro systems using primary hepatocytes, alternative hepatocyte sources and non-parenchymal liver cells and their use in investigating mechanisms of hepatotoxicity, cell signaling and ADME. Arch Toxicol. 2013 Aug; 87(8):1315-530..

Pampaloni F, Ansari N and Stelzer EHK. High-resolution deep imaging of live cellular spheroids with light-sheet-based fluorescence microscopy. Cell Tissue Res. 2013 Apr; 352(1):161-77.

Ansari N, Müller S, Stelzer EHK and Pampaloni F. Quantitative 3D cell-based assay performed with cellular spheroids and fluorescence microscopy. Methods Cell Biol. 2013 Jan; 113:295-309.

Ansari N, Agathagelidis M, Lee C, Korf HW and von Gall C. Differential maturation of circadian rhythms in clock gene proteins in the suprachiasmaticus nucleus and the pars tuberalis during mouse ontogeny. European Journal of Neuroscience 2009 Jan; 29: 477-489.

Pfeffer M, Müller CM, Mordel J, Ansari N, Korf HW and von Gall C. The mammalian molecular clockwork controls rhythmic expression of its own input pathway components. Journal of Neuroscience 2009 May; 29(19): 6114-23.

Unfried C, Ansari N, Yasuo S, Korf HW and von Gall C. Impact of Melatonin and molecular clockwork on the expression of thyrotropin beta chain (Tshb) and Tsh receptor in the mouse pars tuberalis. Endocrinology 2009 Oct; 150(10): 4653-62.

Dinet V, Ansari N, Torres-Farfan C and Korf HW. Clock gene expression in the retina of melatonin-proficient (C3H) and melatonin-deficient (C57BL) mice. Journal of Pineal Research 2007 Jan; 42 (1): 83-91.