Dr Daniela Loessner

Reader in Bioengineering and Cancer
Group Leader
Research Focus

My research interests are to apply tissue-engineered technologies to study the role of the microenvironment in modulating cancer progression and therapy response. I develop 3D models that mimic the human disease and use this to develop novel therapies.

Key Publications

Functionalization, preparation and use of cell-laden gelatin methacryloyl-based hydrogels as modular tissue culture platforms. Nature Protocols (2016) 11(4): 727-746. PMID: 26985572

Gelatine methacrylamide-based hydrogels: an alternative 3D cancer cell culture system. Acta Biomaterialia (2014) 10(6): 2551-2562. PMID: 24590158

Engineered microenvironments provide new insights into ovarian and prostate cancer progression and drug responses. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews (2014) 79-80: 193-213. PMID: 24969478

Bioengineered 3D platform to explore cell-ECM interactions and drug resistance of ovarian cancer cells. Biomaterials (2010) 31(32): 8494-8506. PMID: 20709389

Other Activities

Member of

  • The Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)
  • The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • The European Association for Cancer Research (EACR)

My research interests are to understand the role of the extracellular and cellular microenvironment in modulating cancer progression and therapy response applying tissue-engineered technologies.

I am developing bioengineered 3-D platforms that will enable us to:

  • Recreate the tumour microenvironment
  • Dissect the complex cellular communications, taking place within tumour spheroids and between tumour spheroids and their extracellular microenvironment
  • Molecularly profile the tumour microenvironment and identify novel targets that can be pursued therapeutically
  • Preclinically screen new therapeutics or combination therapies to inform clinical trials
Recent Publications

A humanized bone microenvironment uncovers HIF2 alpha as a latent marker for osteosarcoma. Wagner F, Holzapfel BM, Martine LC et al. Acta Biomater (2019) 89(2) 372-381

A 3D tumor microenvironment regulates cell proliferation, peritoneal growth and expression patterns. Loessner D, Rockstroh A, Shokoohmand A et al. Biomaterials (2019) 190-191(2) 63-75

Humanization of the Prostate Microenvironment Reduces Homing of PC3 Prostate Cancer Cells to Human Tissue-Engineered Bone. McGovern JA, Shafiee A, Wagner F et al. Cancers (Basel) (2018) 10(2)

SpheroidSim-Preliminary evaluation of a new computational tool to predict the influence of cell cycle time and phase fraction on spheroid growth. Little JP, Pettet GJ, Hutmacher DW et al. Biotechnol Prog (2018) 34(2) 1335-1343

Kallikrein-related peptidases 4, 5, 6 and 7 regulate tumour-associated factors in serous ovarian cancer. Wang P, Magdolen V, Seidl C et al. Br J Cancer (2018) 119(2) 1-9

Kallikrein-related peptidases represent attractive therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer. Loessner D, Goettig P, Preis S et al. Expert Opin Ther Targets (2018) 22(1) 745-763

Humanization of bone and bone marrow in an orthotopic site reveals new potential therapeutic targets in osteosarcoma. Wagner F, Holzapfel BM, McGovern JA et al. Biomaterials (2018) 171(2) 230-246

A humanised tissue-engineered bone model allows species-specific breast cancer-related bone metastasis in vivo. Quent V, Taubenberger AV, Reichert JC et al. J Tissue Eng Regen Med (2018) 12(2) 494-504

A Method for Prostate and Breast Cancer Cell Spheroid Cultures Using Gelatin Methacryloyl-Based Hydrogels. Meinert C, Theodoropoulos C, Klein TJ et al. Methods Mol Biol (2018) 1786(1) 175-194

Magnetic resonance microimaging of cancer cell spheroid constructs Momot KI, Bas O, Holzapfel NP et al. Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging (2017) 5(1) 41-54

For additional publications, please click here

Postdoctoral Research Assistants
Dr Juliana Candido 

PhD Students
Eleonora Peerani, David Osuna de la Pena

Research Assistant
Shreya Sharma


I joined the Centre for Cancer and Inflammation in March 2017. Until February 2017, I was leading the interdisciplinary 3-D Cancer Models Team at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation in Brisbane, Australia.

I received my PhD from the Faculty of Chemistry, Technical University of Munich, Germany, and undertook my postdoctoral research training at Queensland University of Technology, EPFL and University of Chicago.