San Raffaele Hospital (OSR), Milan, Italy

Project description

The goal of the project is to learn from robustly regenerating organisms how to enhance the ability of mammalian (mouse and human) stem/progenitor cells of the mesoderm to engraft and repair skeletal and cardiac muscle in different forms of muscular dystrophy.  Clinical protocols of cell therapy show currently little efficacy for most mesoderm tissues (Cossu et al. Lancet 2018), due to poor survival, proliferation, migration and integration into the host tissue. These functions are far more efficient in organisms that regenerate efficiently than in mammals. The project aims to express or silence genes (or non-coding RNA) that share homology with genes known to orchestrate regeneration in lower phila in mesoderm progenitor cells such a mesoangioblasts (vessel-associated myogenic progenitors: Dellavalle et al. Nat Cell Biol. 2007). Robust regulatory controls will ensure that the transgene can be activated or silenced as needed. Transduced cells will be challenged in mouse models of acute regeneration and of muscular dystrophies, including immune deficient dystrophic mice that allows transplantation of human progenitors and analysis of their efficacy or possible toxicity.

Doctoral Candidate

Izabela Kasprzak

Hello, I’m Izabela Kasprzak from Poland, holding a Master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Warsaw. During my studies, I explored the role of NKX protein in the localization of human topoisomerase I in prostate cancer cells. Post-graduation, I was awarded the Fulbright scholarship under the BioLab program, enabling me to conduct research at the University of Virginia in the USA. For the past 4 years, my focus has been on neuroscience, particularly studying circuits and epilepsy. I’m an open-minded individual with a fascination for regeneration processes. In the REGENERATE-IT program, I am excited to join Giulio Cossu’s lab at San Raffaele Hospital (OSR) in Milan, Italy. My research (project 8) will center around exploiting regeneration genes from lower phyla to enhance the potency of human mesoderm progenitor cells. Outside the lab, I enjoy playing squash, cooking, and exploring different cultures and parts of the world through travel.

Izabela Kasprzak

Principal Investigator

Giulio Cossu, PhD
Cell Therapy for Myopathies Unit, Head
Institute of Experimental Neurology – HSR Research
Ospedale San Raffaele and Visiting Scholar UniSR
Via Olgettina 60. 20133 Milan, Italy
Tel: +39 02 26435195
ORCID: 0000-0001-5863-9593

Research in Giulio Cossu – HSR Research group focuses on the study of skeletal muscle development and repair and on the development of novel therapies for muscular dystrophy

Prof. Giulio Cossu

San Raffaele Hospital

IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele is a university hospital and scientific institute established in 1971 to provide specialized care for the most complex health conditions and to perform cutting-edge translational research. Thanks to 100 high-tech laboratories and pre-clinical facilities, 50 medical specialties50.000 hospitalizations per year and more than 880 ongoing clinical trials, at Ospedale San Raffaele basic science translate quickly into clinical practice and clinical needs drive basic research.