Personal Details

Dr. Anika Böttcher
Group Leader Intestinal stem cells

Phone: + 49 89-3187-43150
Building/Room: Campus Neuherberg, building 3620, room 034c


Understanding endocrine lineage formation and specification in gut and pancreas

The gut as the body’s digestive and largest endocrine system serves as a central regulator of energy and glucose homeostasis. Intestinal functions are carried out by specialized epithelial cells lining the gut: absorptive enterocytes, antimicrobial-peptide secreting Paneth cells, hormone-secreting enteroendocrine cells (EEC), mucus-secreting goblet and chemosensory tuft cells. Intestinal cells are constantly generated from intestinal stem cells (ISCs). ISCs are defined by multi-lineage potential and self-renewal capacity, but also by properties that are not hard-wired, such as their proliferative, epigenetic and metabolic state. Stem cell fate is regulated by the niche. However, how the niche determines secretory cell type specification is not well understood. 

Excess nutrient uptake and altered hormone secretion in the gut contribute to a systemic energy imbalance causing obesity and increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. This functional maladaptation is thought to emerge at the level of the intestinal stem cells. 

Therefore, a detailed understanding of the niche and how it regulates self-renewal and differentiation in health and disease is required for better treatment options of obesity and associated comorbidities. 

Our projects aim to

i) delineate how niche composition and mechanics regulate intestinal stem cell fate.

ii) uncover how hormone-producing enteroendocrine cells are recruited from intestinal stem cells and which pathways regulate enteroendocrine subset specification.

iii) elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying intestinal maladaptation to an obesogenic diet.

iv) reveal the cellular and molecular mechanisms in gut and pancreas underlying the potent effects of weight-lowering bariatric surgeries. 


Academic and Research Activities

since 2017

Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration Research, Neuherberg, Germany Project group leader "Intestinal stem cells"

2010 - 2017Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Institute for Stem cell Research & Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration Research, Neuherberg, Germany
Postdoctoral training
Sept. 2005 – Sept. 2010Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany; Department of Molecular Medicine
PhD thesis “Dissecting the integrin-linked kinase (ILK) kinase activity in vivo” Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Fässler
June 2004 – Aug. 2005Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Germany
Department of Medical Biochemistry
Diploma thesis “Adjustable expression of oligomeric Ras-Raf binding domains to block Ras-mediated cellular signalling in a reversible manner”
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Friedrich
Aug. 2002 –  June 2003 University of Lund, Sweden
Graduate Studies in biology (genetics and immunology)
Sept. 1999 – Sept. 2004 Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Germany
Graduate studies in biology



Kim, M., Ogawa, M., Fujita, Y., Yoshikawa, Y., Nagai, T., Koyama, T., Nagai, S., Lange, A., Fässler, R., and Sasakawa, C. (2009a). Bacteria hijack integrin-linked kinase to stabilize focal adhesions and block cell detachment. Nature 459, 578-582.

Lange, A., Wickstrom, S.A., Jakobson, M., Zent, R., Sainio, K., and Fässler, R. (2009). Integrin-linked kinase is an adaptor with essential functions during mouse development. Nature 461, 1002-1006.

Smeeton, J., Zhang, X., Bulus, N., Mernaugh, G., Lange, A., Karner, C.M., Carroll, T.J., Fässler, R., Pozzi, A., Rosenblum, N.D., et al. (2010). Integrin-linked kinase regulates p38 MAPK-dependent cell cycle arrest in ureteric bud development. Development 137, 3233-3243.

Wickstrom, S.A., Lange, A., Hess, M.W., Polleux, J., Spatz, J.P., Kruger, M., Pfaller, K., Lambacher, A., Bloch, W., Mann, M., et al. (2010a). Integrin-linked kinase controls microtubule dynamics required for plasma membrane targeting of caveolae. Dev Cell 19, 574-588.

Wickstrom, S.A., Lange, A., Montanez, E., and Fässler, R. (2010b). The ILK/PINCH/parvin complex: the kinase is dead, long live the pseudokinase! Embo J 29, 281-291.