University of Bayreuth, Presse release No. 180/2022 - 03 November 2022

Bayreuth expert in biofabrication wins award for innovative therapy proposal in ophthalmology

Dr. Sahar Salehi-Müller from the Department of Biomaterials at the University of Bayreuth has been awarded a Sicca Award by the Dry Eye and Surface Diseases Section of the Professional Association of Ophthalmologists in Germany (BVA). The expert in biofabrication and artificial tissue structures accepted the award at the annual congress of the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) in October 2022 in Berlin. The Sicca Awards are sponsored by Bausch + Lomb GmbH in Berlin. They serve to support and motivate young scientists conducting research on sicca syndrome in German-speaking countries.

After the award ceremony (from left to right): Thomas Kaercher, MD, ophthalmology specialist in Heidelberg; award winner Dr. Sahar Salehi-Müller, University of Bayreuth; Prof. Gerd Geerling, MD, President of the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) and Director of the Universitäts-Augenklinik Düsseldorf. Photo: ©

Sicca syndrome is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the secretory glands of the eyes and mouth. As a result, tear and fluid production are disturbed. The consequences include increased dryness and more frequent inflammation of the eyes, which can damage vision in the long term. Dr. Salehi-Müller, a group leader at the Faculty of Engineering, has been working on tissue engineering for many years. One focus is on biomedical applications of 3D printing technology that are adapted to the individual needs of patients. For example, she has developed new materials for corneal regeneration in the human eye in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Mahshid Kharaziha from the Isfahan University of Technology in Iran, who is currently a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Chair of Biomaterials in Bayreuth. In a paper published in 2021, Dr. Salehi-Müller and her team were able to show that composite films made of modified gelatin and silk nanofibrils are excellently suited for this purpose. Cells of the corneal stroma are able to accumulate and proliferate in large numbers on the films. The films have the advantage that their mechanical properties are similar to those of natural corneal tissue.

Dr. Sahar Salehi-Müller during her lecture at the 2022 annual congress of the German Ophthalmological Society. Photo: ©

At this year's annual congress of the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG), Dr. Sahar Salehi-Müller presented the biofabrication of the composite films using 3D printing and proposed that the films be used to treat sicca syndrome. For this proposal, she was awarded one of the 2022 Sicca Awards. This is already the second time that the Bayreuth materials researcher has been able to prevail over numerous proposals submitted by ophthalmic clinics and ophthalmic practices and has won a Sicca prize. In 2013, she was honored for the results of her doctoral thesis, which investigated artificial scaffolds for corneal regeneration in the eye. 

A. Farasatkia, M. Kharaziha, F. Ashrafizadeh, S. Salehi: Transparent silk/gelatin methacrylate (GelMA) fibrillar film for corneal regeneration. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 120, January 2021, 111744. DOI:

Dr. Sahar Salehi-Müller

Dr. Sahar Salehi-Müller

Chair of Biomaterials
University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49 (0)921 55-6727

Christian Wißler, Wissenschaftskommunikation

Christian Wißler

Deputy Press & PR Manager, Research Communication
University of Bayreuth

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5356