We are interested in understanding how adult tissues achieve efficient regeneration and how dysfunctional response to injury results in disease. Specifically, our research focuses on unveiling the molecular mechanisms and the modifications of the epigenetic landscape that govern cellular plasticity and determine cell-fate changes that ensure tissue regeneration upon injury and adaptation to environmental changes in disease.
Thanks to its exceptional degree of plasticity, the adult liver has a remarkable regenerative potential, despite being a slowly self-renewing organ in homeostasis, opposite to the intestine or the skin. However, liver regenerative capacity is impaired in chronic liver diseases, which affect over 29 million people in Europe and can degenerate into liver cancer.
In our lab, we use and establish both 3D human and mouse adult organoids, which recapitulate the transcriptional and epigenetic landscapes of regenerative cells and mimic disease, and in vivo models.
We adopt an interdisciplinary approach combining establishment and genetic modifications of 3D organoid cultures, modelling of tissue dynamics upon injury and molecular characterisation of epigenetic, transcriptional and metabolic profiles both in vivo and in vitro, to understand how adult regenerative processes are regulated and explore novel therapeutic strategies for human liver diseases and cancer.