Development, Aging and Regeneration Program

developing human islets

Probing biology and disease

Our cells constantly receive cues from both inside and outside the body, prompted by conditions such as injury, aging, infection, stress or even food.

To adjust to these cues, cells send and receive signals through biological pathways. Our research into the codes and cell changes associated with normal development and aging, and distinguishing them from those linked to disease and disability, will lead to new strategies to protect our health.

The model model organism - the fruit fly and its beating heart

Directors' statement

We are using model organisms—mice, fish, flies, worms and human stem cells to (1) unravel gene functions linked to mutations and epigenetic factors; (2) explore the development and regenerative capacity of the brain, heart, muscles, pancreas, limbs, liver and other organs; and (3) probe the biology of aging and organ/tissue maintenance to maintain a well-functioning organism. These insights provide the tools needed to uncover novel therapeutic targets for heart disease, neurodegeneration, muscle disorders, diabetes, cancer and other debilitating diseases.

Pier Lorenzo Puri, M.D. and Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., Program Directors



Age-dependent electrical and morphological remodeling of the Drosophila heart caused by hERG/seizure mutations.

Ocorr K, Zambon A, Nudell Y, Pineda S, Diop S, Tang M, Akasaka T, Taylor E

PLoS Genet 2017 May ;13(5):e1006786

Nuclear Pores Regulate Muscle Development and Maintenance by Assembling a Localized Mef2C Complex.

Raices M, Bukata L, Sakuma S, Borlido J, Hernandez LS, Hart DO, D'Angelo MA

Dev Cell 2017 Jun 5 ;41(5):540-554.e7

Spatiotemporal regulation of autophagy during Caenorhabditis elegans aging.

Chang JT, Kumsta C, Hellman AB, Adams LM, Hansen M

Elife 2017 Jul 4 ;6

Genetic architecture of natural variation of cardiac performance from flies to humans.

Saha S, Spinelli L, Castro Mondragon JA, Kervadec A, Lynott M, Kremmer L, Roder L, Krifa S, Torres M, Brun C, Vogler G, Bodmer R, Colas AR, Ocorr K, Perrin L

Elife 2022 Nov 16 ;11

A circular RNA Edis-Relish-castor axis regulates neuronal development in Drosophila.

Liu W, Liang W, Xiong XP, Li JL, Zhou R

PLoS Genet 2022 Oct ;18(10):e1010433

The circular RNA Edis regulates neurodevelopment and innate immunity.

Xiong XP, Liang W, Liu W, Xu S, Li JL, Tito A, Situ J, Martinez D, Wu C, Perera RJ, Zhang S, Zhou R

PLoS Genet 2022 Oct ;18(10):e1010429

Nascent polypeptide-Associated Complex and Signal Recognition Particle have cardiac-specific roles in heart development and remodeling.

Schroeder AM, Nielsen T, Lynott M, Vogler G, Colas AR, Bodmer R

PLoS Genet 2022 Oct ;18(10):e1010448

SerpinE1 drives a cell-autonomous pathogenic signaling in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.

Catarinella G, Nicoletti C, Bracaglia A, Procopio P, Salvatori I, Taggi M, Valle C, Ferri A, Canipari R, Puri PL, Latella L

Cell Death Dis 2022 Aug 26 ;13(8):737

Cell fate determining molecular switches and signaling pathways in Pax7-expressing somitic mesoderm.

Fung CW, Zhou S, Zhu H, Wei X, Wu Z, Wu AR

Cell Discov 2022 Jun 28 ;8(1):61

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