Photo of Dr Dada Pisconti

Dr Dada Pisconti Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer Biochemistry

Research

Research Interest 1

My research interests revolve around stem cell biology and especially I aim to understand how the microenvironment that stem cells experience affects stem cell homeostasis and regenerative potential. This microenvironment, commonly known as niche, is defined by the complex set of molecules that reside in the immediate vicinity of a stem cell and that directly interact with the stem cells. Although much is known about the protein component of several stem cell niches, little is known to date about the function of the saccharide component of stem cell niches, including free glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans and various saccharide structures linked to glycoproteins.

The study of saccharide structure/function relationships is challenging and fascinating. It is challenging mainly for three reasons: (1) although interaction of saccharide chains with their binding partners is often strictly dictated by the structure of specific domains within a saccharide chain, assembly of saccharide chains is not template-driven, making it difficult to mutate the structure of a saccharide chain in a predictable way; (2) in the case of proteoglycans, it appears that same core proteins can be decorated with different saccharide chains when expressed in different cell types; (3) in mammals, the molecular mechanisms regulating the metabolism of saccharide chains are very complex. For all these reasons the study of saccharides in stem cell niches is challenging, however, and precisely for the same reasons, it is also extremely fascinating.

My lab makes use of cutting edge technologies in cell imaging, computational biology, molecular biology and organic chemistry to study the structure/function relationships that govern the glycobiology of stem cells. We are also interested in exploring the potential therapeutic outcomes that can be directly drawn from our basic research, including the study of strategies to potentiate endogenous stem cell mobilization and function in the context of pathological conditions and in ageing.

Research Grants

The role of Syndecan 3 in bone metabolism

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)

January 2018 - January 2021

Validation of neutrophil elastase as a target to improve muscle regeneration in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)

July 2017 - January 2019

Use of elastase inhibitors to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy

CHARLEYS FUND INC (USA), DUCHENNE UK , JOINING JACK (UK)

April 2017 - January 2019

2014 allocation - Wellcome ISSF non clinical fellowships

WELLCOME TRUST (UK)

May 2015 - October 2018

Role of serine protease activity in the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophy

MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION USA)

September 2015 - January 2019

Integrated Signalling Networks In Muscle Stem Cells: Cell Fate Regulation by Heparan Sulfates (SATCELLOMICS).

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

November 2012 - October 2014

YEAR 1 Wellcome Trust ISSF Non-Clinical Fellowships

WELLCOME TRUST (UK)

October 2011 - May 2018

Research Collaborations

Prof Francesco Falciani

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Dr Olga Vasieva

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Prof Jerry Turnbull

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