Cardiogenesis of human pluripotent stem cells and strategies of cell therapy
Our research group investigates mainly the mechanisms of cardiogenesis and cardiac differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (either embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells). Specifically, we study cells featuring the trisomy 21 with the aim of uncovering the mechanisms at the basis of congenital heart defects in patients with Down syndrome.
We also study the potential of cardiac and skeletal differentiation of mesoangioblasts, a subpopulation of perivascular stem cells with great potential for muscle regeneration, in particular of genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy.
Our long term goal is translational, i.e. the set-up of muscle regeneration strategies that are easily transferrable to the clinical setting.
Our main axes of investigation include:
- The genetic, biochemical and functional analysis of cardiac progenitors and cardiomyocytes differentiated in vitro.
- The generation of tridimensional microtissues cardiaques and their functional study in terms of ionic conductances and contractility.
- The use of tissue engineering strategies using biodegradable hydrogels favoring cell differentiation (via growth factor functionalization), as well as implantation in vivo.
- The development of translational procedures of cell therapies, namely optimized procedures of cell production in GMP (good manufacture practice) conditions.
- The test of 3D-based cell therapies for the repair of damaged myocardium or skeletal muscle in animal models.