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Francesca Spagnoli

Dr, MD PhD

    • 582

    Personal profile

    Research interests (short)

    Cell identities are assigned by the interplay of extrinsic signals and intrinsic determinants. My main research interest is to understand the mechanisms regulating cell identity and plasticity of key metabolic organs, such as the pancreas and the liver. We use a combination of genetic approaches with genomic strategies and imaging in mouse embryos and human stem cells to study how distinct cell types, such as liver and pancreas, arise from common progenitors and acquire specialized shape to form functional organs. What is the gene regulatory network upstream of the fate decision between liver and pancreas? Is the establishment of distinct cellular identities and morphogenetic programs interdependent? How plastic are these cellular states? Can we harness cell plasticity between liver and pancreas towards novel regenerative therapies? Ultimately, the long-term goal of our research is to translate these concepts into a better understanding of the pathogenesis as well as treatment options of diabetes.

    Biographical details

    After graduating from Medical School, Francesca received her Ph.D. in Genetics from the Pasteur Institute and UPMC in Paris, France. She then did her postdoc at The Rockefeller University, New York, USA, in the Brivanlou lab. In 2008, she established her own research group at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, Germany, where she has initiated new lines of investigation on the control of pancreatic cell identity and lineage reprogramming strategies. Francesca has recently moved to London to become a Group Leader at the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, King's College London. She has been the recipient of prestigious grants, including an ERC Starting grant and ERC Proof-of-Concept grant, and more recently became the coordinator of a FET Open European consortium on bioengineering pancreatic tissue.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    Genetics, Doctor rerum naturalium, Ph.D. Degree, Institut Pasteur

    Award Date: 1 Feb 2001

    Medicine, Doctor of Medicine, Medical Doctor Degree, School of Medicine, University of Rome, Italy, Sapienza University of Rome

    Award Date: 25 Jul 1995


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