UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Francesco Saverio Tedesco

Prof Francesco Saverio Tedesco

Professor of Neuromuscular Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Cell & Developmental Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2012

Research summary

We study skeletal muscle regeneration to develop of novel experimental therapies for neuromuscular disorders. We are interested in understanding how skeletal muscle (the most abundant human tissue) sustains regeneration and how this process could be improved to develop therapies for incurable diseases such as muscular dystrophies. 

Our work pioneered the use of human artificial chromosomes and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for muscle gene and cell therapies (Tedesco et al., Sci Transl Med 2011 and 2012; Maffioletti & Gerli et al., Nat Protoc 2015; Benedetti et al., EMBO Mol Med 2018). Current research projects are also investigating the use of small molecules to improve muscle stem cell delivery (Gerli & Moyle et al., Stem Cell Reports 2019) and the application of iPS cell-derived myogenesis for complex neuromuscular disease modelling and tissue engineering (Maffioletti & Sarcar et al., Cell Reports 2018; Steele-Stallard et al., Front Physiol 2018). 

The overall goal of the Tedesco lab is the clinical translation of these novel regenerative strategies into therapies for muscle disorders.

Teaching summary

I am currently first supervisor of five PhD students; I have also been supervising several visiting and rotating PhD students. Several MSc students have completed his dissertation project in my group and another one has received a distinction for the MRes project done under my supervision. I am the personal tutor for  UCL BSc students in Biomedical Sciences and in 2012 I was part of the UCL Medical School Clinical Shadowing Programme for MBBS students. I am a member of the UCL CBD teaching committee and I co-lead the UCL module CELL0012  "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine".


Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow |
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health | 2018
Universita Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano
Doctorate, Dottorato di Ricerca | 2010
Open University
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2010
Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
First Degree, Medical Licence | 2007
Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
Other higher degree, Laurea Specialistica | 2006


I graduated in Medicine and Surgery with honours in 2006 at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Italy). During and after medical school I was a visiting scientist at the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France) in the laboratory of Professor Shahragim Tajbakhsh, where I studied asymmetric cell division and stem cell self-renewal. I then continued my studies in the laboratory of Professor Giulio Cossu at San Raffaele Scientific Institute (Milan, Italy), where I obtained my PhD in 2010. During my PhD I started a collaboration that launched novel research lines in the aforementioned laboratory, resulting in a publication in a field not previously explored by my supervisor: human artificial chromosomes (HACs; Tedesco FS et al., Sci Transl Med 2011; commentary: Tremblay JP and Frederickson RM, Mol Ther 2011). After my PhD I coupled post-doctoral research in muscle regeneration with clinical practice and training between Italy (San Raffaele Hospital, Milan) and UK (UCL and UCL Hospitals). During this period I led a team of one research assistant and two MSc students to consolidate the research projects developed during my PhD. Additionally, I started to work on a another research line not previously explored by my supervisor: pluripotent stem cell-derived myogenesis (Tedesco FS et al., Sci Transl Med 2012; commentary: Vilquin JT, Mol Ther 2012). Moreover, I also became a co-investigator in a first-in-human clinical trial based upon transplantation of donor muscle stem cells for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (EudraCT no. 2001-000176-33). 
I joined UCL Department of Cell and Developmental Biology in January 2012 as a Senior Research Associate, funded by an MRC Translational Stem Cell Grant on which I was Co-Investigator. In August 2013 I was then appointed Principal Research Associate (starting April 2014) and I established my independent research group.