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Dr Patrizia Ferretti
W2.03
UCL Institute of Child Health
30 Guildford Street
London
WC1N 1EH
Appointment
  • Reader in Developmental Neurobiology
  • ICH Development Bio & Cancer Prog
  • Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences
Biography
Patrizia Ferretti’s initial background was in biology (University of Pisa, Italy) and neuropharmacology (Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research)/ neurobiology (post-doctoral Fellow Max Planck Institute, Goettingen, Germany). She then gained experience in molecular biology and organ regeneration in Prof. J.P. Brockes’ laboratory in London before setting up her own laboratory at the Eastman Dental Institute.

She has identified a number of cellular and molecular mechanisms which play a role in response to injury and repair and established useful models for the study of stem/progenitor cells; these include demonstrating:

  • changes in neural progenitors and in the extent of hemorrhage and apoptotic response following spinal cord injury are associated with impaired regenerative ability. Secondary response to injury can be reduced by targeting some of the pathways involved in these responses recently identified in her laboratory.

  • endogenous neuroblast migration can be effectively imaged in vivo by MRI using modified contrast agents.

  • the human spinal cord contains distinct and dynamic populations of neural precursors which are developmentally regulated and FGF signaling/FGFR1 seems important for maintaining the undifferentiated state in human neurospheres as in the regenerating salamander spinal cord.

  • PAD enzymes are important regulators of neural injury response in animal models and in human neural cells in vitro, where they are effectors of calcium-dependent apoptosis


  • new putative PAD inhibitors, developed through a close collaboration with medicinal chemists, are potential neuroprotective agents


  • paediatric ADSC are highly plastic and can be valuable for autologous cell therapy in children, and in combination with novel nanomaterials offer much promise for the repair of craniofacial deficits in these patients. This work is underpinned by valuable collaborations with clinicians and material scientists.


Altogether she has made a sustained and internationally recognized contribution to the regeneration field and the book on regeneration she edited (Cellular and Molecular Basis of Regeneration from Invertebrates to Humans; Eds. P. Ferretti and J. Geraudie. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 1998) was very well received and sold out. She has also had a major involvement in editing an electronic book on tissue engineering (2003, http://www.oulu.fi/spareparts/ebook_topics_in_t_e/list_of_contr.html) and a text entitled “Embryos, Genes and Birth Defects” (2006; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/book/10.1002/9780470090121).





Research Summary

Patrizia Ferretti has a long-standing interest in the basic mechanisms governing regeneration of a variety of complex body structures in vertebrates, and on the relationship between regeneration and the normal and abnormal development of such structures. Within this context her current work is mainly focused on the issues of stem cell plasticity and differentiation potential and their underlying molecular basis, and on how this could be used to develop models of human diseases, particularly childhood diseases, and devise strategies for restoring functionality in damaged or diseased human tissues with a particular focus on the nervous system and craniofacial abnormalities.

Ongoing work:


ROLE OF PEPTIDYLARGININE DEIMINASES IN NEURAL PROGENITORS IN HEALTH AND DISEASE

ESTABLISHMENT OF 3D MODELS FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN NEURAL CELLS

ADIPOSE-TISSUE DERIVED STEM CELLS FOR CRANIOFACIAL AND NEURAL REPAIR

ROLE OF THE CHOROID PLEXUS IN THE DEVELOPING BRAIN


http://www.ucl.ac.uk/silva/ich/research-ich/developmental-biology/research



Keywords:
Neural Stem Cells, Adipocyte-derived Stem Cell, Regeneration, Repair, Injury, Hypoxia, Spinal Cord, Brain, Choroid Plexus, Craniofacial, Cartilage, Bone, Development, Differentiation, Apoptosis  


Diseases:

Traumatic Injury, Birth Defects, Ischaemic Stroke, Hydrocephalus 


Methods:

Cell and organotypic cultures, Cell tracking, Cell transplantation, Gene and protein expression profiling, Immunohistochemistry, Fluorescence microscopy techniques, Confocal microscopy, Image analysis, In vivo electroporation, Ionophoresis and microinjection, Light microscopic techniques, Microarrays, Proteomics, Pharmacological and genetic manipulations


Species:

Human, chick, rodent, amphibians


Teaching Summary

Patrizia Ferretti’s academic posts have all been in postgraduate Institutions, hence her formal teaching has been mainly directed to postgraduate students. She has set up a new lecture course when she was a Lecturer at the Eastman Dental Institute and has contributed to various short courses and an MSc in Paediatrics and undergraduate courses at UCL-ICH and abroad (France and Italy).

She has designed and is the tutor of the Stem Cells and Tissue Repair Module that is part of the new MRes on ” Cell and Gene Therapy” at UCL Institute of Child Health.

She supervises several undergraduate and Master projects, in addition to PhD and MD students. She is also a member of the Research Degree Committee at UCL-ICH.



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