In vitro development of structured bovine muscle tissue

Current food systems and agricultural practices, in particular meat production, are under pressure because of their environmental impacts. Within this context, cultured meat is an alternative food production method, in addition to sustainable intensification of current food systems, to increase the total supply of high-quality protein in a sustainable manner. The Medical Cell Biology Research Group focuses on the in vitro development of structured bovine muscle tissue that holds the potential to become a more environmentally- and animal-friendly alternative for conventional meat.

  • Establishment of bovine Embryonic Stem Cell (bESC) culture and their myogenic differentiation potential
  • Establishment of bovine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (biPSC) culture from somatic cells (for instance fibroblasts, myoblast) and their myogenic differentiation potential Scaffold evaluation as cell support through static and dynamic cell seeding approaches via electrospinning, bioreactor and 3D-printing.

We will not only develop 3D in vitro cultures but enhance myotube hypertrophy via mechanical and electrical tissue stimulators towards more adult myofibers.

Research project

The CUSTOMEAT research project, cultured stem cells for customized meat design.

  • researchers: Chloë Deelkens and Jolanda van Hengel (in collaboration with other faculties at Ghent University and the KULAK)
  • funding: Research Foundation (FWO)  for Strategic Basic Research, from the 1st of November 2020 until today



  • Jolanda van Hengel, principal investigator