Stem cells, metastability, metabolism, tissue regeneration, transcribed ultraconserved elements (T-UCEs)
pluripotent stem cells, muscle stem cells, transgenic mice, cardiotoxin (CTX) injury model,
Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) cardiac and neural differentiation, generation of Epiblast stem cells (EpiScs) in vitro, primary myoblast isolation and differentiation, lentiviral ShRNA knock down, FACS, ELISA assay, immunofluorescence and IHC on tissue sections and cells, Automation
We collaborate with a lab (IAC, CNR, Naples) that performs RNA Seq and Chip Seq analysis. My group was involved in an international research consortium (as WP member) of the European project (EndoStem) in the FP7 program.
Our research activity mainly focuses on the control of stem cell plasticity using both pluripotent stem cells (mouse and human) and adult stem cells as model systems. By combining genetic and pharmacological approaches we aim at unraveling the molecular basis of lineage specification in mammals. In addition to investigating the fundamental biology of stem cells, we are developing molecular tools, recombinant proteins and synthetic compounds, for tissue regeneration approaches. We are also investigating the metabolic control of stem cell plasticity. Indeed, we have recently contributed to this emerging field showing that the nonessential amino acid (NEAA) L-Proline (L-Pro) acts as an epigenetic signal and is a key regulator of mouse ESC metastability. We are currently investigating the molecular connection between L-proline metabolism and epigenetic modifications in the control of stem cell identity. Moreover, we are characterising different pharmacological antagonists of L-Pro that have been identified in a high throughput screening (HTS) of two different libraries of about 2000 FDA approved compounds. Finally, we are recently involved in a project aimed at investigating the biological significance of a new class of ncRNAs, i.e. the transcribed ultraconserved elements (T-UCEs) in pluripotent stem cells (mouse and human) by combining loss of function and gain of function approaches both in vitro and in vivo.