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Dr Francesco Tedesco
Appointment
  • Reader
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Biography

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.

Research Summary

My research is focused on the study of muscle regeneration, using in vitro and in vivo models of muscle disorders. I am also developing novel gene and cell therapy strategies for muscle disorders by means of human artificial chromosomes, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and biomaterials. I am interested in understanding how skeletal muscle sustains tissue regeneration and how we can improve this process for incurable diseases such as muscular dystrophies.

Our work was the first to show safe and efficacious pre-clinical gene replacement therapy with a human artificial chromosome into an animal model of a genetic disease (specifically, Duchenne muscular dystrophy). We were also amongst the first to report on the therapeutic potential of disease-specific (i.e. limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D) iPS cells that have been genetically corrected, transplanted back into an ad hoc generated mouse model and shown to provide therapeutic potential. I am working towards the clinical translation of these strategies into future therapeutic tools for muscle disorders.


Teaching Summary

I am currently the first supervisor of four PhD students, two MRes students and one BSc student. I have also been supervising two visiting PhD students and two MRC and BBSCR PhD students during their rotation. One MSc student has 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 nine 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 lecture in the UCL module CELL3001 on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine of Professor Arnett and in the MSc module on Gene and Cell Therapy of Dr Ferretti. In 2012 I was invited to organise and lead workshops in two different international summer schools on stem cells, development and regenerative medicine.

Appointments
01-JAN-2012 – 31-MAR-2014 Senior Research Associate Cell and Developmental Biology University College London, United Kingdom
Academic Background
  FHEA ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow  
2010 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Cell and Molecular Biology Open University
2010 PhD Dottorato di Ricerca – Cell and Molecular Biology Universita Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milano
2007 Med Licence Medical Licence – Medicine/Surgery Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
2006 LAUSPE Laurea Specialistica – Medicine/Surgery Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
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