Novel Bioengineering approaches for studying muscle tissue homeostasis and regeneration.
I am a PhD student at Technion University, Israel, as part of the RENOIR programme.
I have a B.Sc. in Biotechnology and a M.Sc. in Medical Biotechnology from University of Milano Bicocca, Italy.
During My master’s Thesis I worked on the “Validation Of New Markers For The Identification In Situ Of Human Adult Renal Stem Cells”.
I am enrolled for my PhD to the interdisciplinary program of Biotechnology at Technion University. During my project I will focus on guiding myoblasts towards myogenic differentiation using hydrogel stiffness and Cripto signaling. The aim is to investigate each of these mechanisms both individually and together, using a set of in vitro and in vivo experiments. The final goal is to advance the knowledge and to find the best way for the delivery, survival and myogenic differentiation of satellite cells when treating muscle disease.
Technion Research & Development Foundation Ltd.
Technion Research & Development Foundation Ltd. (TRDF)
Linked Entity: Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (TECHNION)
TRDF is the administrative arm of the Technion responsible for handling financial and administrative aspects of the involvement of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in research projects including HR management, concluding the employment contracts and paying the fellows.
TRDF Ltd. will involve Technion – Israel Institute of Technology as an Entity with a capital or legal link responsible for Hosting and implementing the research training activities.
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
For more than a century, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has been Israel’s primary technological university and the largest centre of applied research in Israel.
The Technion is currently the highest ranked university in Israel according to The Shanghai Ranking Consultancy’s Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 where it placed 69th out of 500 universities around the world. 61 experts from 20 different countries ranked the Technion 6th in The MIT Skoltech Initiative, and 1st for innovation in a challenging environment.
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In 2004, Distinguished Professors Avram Hershko and Aaron Ceichanover received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for their pioneering research on degradation of intracellular proteins. In 2011, Distinguished Professor Dan Shechtman received the Nobel prize in Chemistry for his pioneering research on quasi-crystals, thus making the Technion one of a handful of universities world-wide housing multiple Nobel-laureates simultaneously.
More than 82,000 students have graduated from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, the oldest university in Israel. These graduates play leading roles in Israeli and international high tech industry, including 58 spin-off companies.
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It is well known that extracellular stimuli from the microenvironment are crucial for cell adhesion, migration, proliferation and differentiation, and the ECM constitutes the very foundation of tissue homeostasis and development.
Despite this, the analysis of such cells/ECM interplays in vivo is hampered by the intrinsic complexity of the native environment. To overcome this limitation, we will we will use of a specific biosynthetic protein-polymer hydrogel as an ECM-analogue for culturing cells in 3D, with highly defined and precisely controllable density, microarchitecture, proteolytic susceptibility, compliance and bio functionality.
We will use this method to elucidate the dominant and influential physical factors affecting morphogenesis patterns, phenotypic states, and differentiation of various muscle progenitor cell types and will further identify the optimal environmental conditions for directing stem cells in vivo based on biophysical induction and mechanical stimulation.
We will also engineering bioactive materials and devices to reconstruct the muscle niche in vitro. Innovative biomaterials will also be exploited to optimize the in vivo delivery of either stem/progenitor cells or biological drugs in animal models of muscle diseases. In vivo administration of proteins/biological drugs require to: i) enable the protein to maintain its structure and activity over a prolonged period of time, and ii) control the release kinetics allowing the appropriate dose of protein to reach the site over a given period of time. We will use semi-synthetic biomaterials made by grafting synthetic polymers onto proteins such as collagen and fibrinogen in order to create stable, elastic gels.
The biosynthetic gels are inherently biocompatible and proteolytically degradable based on their protein backbone, making them amenable to cell-mediated remodelling and morphogenesis. The conjugated polymer provides exact control over the hydrogel’s material properties. Injectable polymer/protein biomaterials will be used to deliver different biopharma, in a controlled fashion. They will evaluate the optimal condition for in vivo delivery of the biological drugs in mouse models of acute (CTX) and chronic injury (mdx mice) and assess their ability to improve muscle regeneration and eventually ameliorate the disease phenotype.
To use novel bioengineering approaches to elucidate the dominant and influential physical factors affecting proliferation/differentiation of different progenitor cells in muscle regeneration
To engineer biomaterial delivery vehicle for temporal and spatial control of therapeutic proteins/cells in muscle regeneration