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LMCB - MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

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Luigi Aloia's picture

LMCB Junior Group Leader

l.aloia@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Profie | Europe PMC | PubMed | CV & awards | ORCID

Twitter @LuigiAloia82

Cellular plasticity and tissue regeneration

Research Synopsis

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. 

Selected Publications

Aloia L et al, (2019). Epigenetic remodelling licences adult cholangiocytes for organoid formation and liver regeneration. Nature Cell Biology 21(11):1321-1333 DOI: 10.1038/s41556-019-0402-6 
Aloia L et al, (2016). Cellular plasticity in the adult liver and stomach. The Journal of Physiology 594(17):4815-25 DOI: 10.1113/jp271769 
Aloia L et al, (2015). Direct interaction between Id1 and Zrf1 controls neural differentiation of embryonic stem cells. Embo Reports 16(1):63-70 DOI: 10.15252/embr.201439560
Aloia L. et al., (2014). Zrf1 is required to establish and maintain neural progenitor identity. Genes & Development 28(2):182-97 DOI: 10.1101/gad.228510.113
 

Research Themes

Cellular plasticity, Cell-fate specification, Tissue remodelling, Tissue regeneration, Cancer Biology, Epigenetics, Liver chronic diseases and cancer

Technology

3D adult organoids, ChIP-seq, ATAC-seq, Flow cytometry, Confocal microscopy, Live imaging, Translational research