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


Research Assistant Professors

Georg Vogler, Ph.D.


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

Proinsulin folding and trafficking defects trigger a common pathological disturbance of endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis.

Arunagiri A, Alam M, Haataja L, Draz H, Alasad B, Samy P, Sadique N, Tong Y, Cai Y, Shakeri H, Fantuzzi F, Ibrahim H, Jang I, Sidarala V, Soleimanpour SA, Satin LS, Otonkoski T, Cnop M, Itkin-Ansari P, Kaufman RJ, Liu M, Arvan P

Protein Sci 2024 Apr ;33(4):e4949

HDAC inhibitors as pharmacological treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy: a discovery journey from bench to patients.

Mozzetta C, Sartorelli V, Steinkuhler C, Puri PL

Trends Mol Med 2024 Mar ;30(3):278-294

Author Correction: Denervation-activated STAT3-IL-6 signalling in fibro-adipogenic progenitors promotes myofibres atrophy and fibrosis.

Madaro L, Passafaro M, Sala D, Etxaniz U, Lugarini F, Proietti D, Alfonsi MV, Nicoletti C, Gatto S, De Bardi M, Rojas-García R, Giordani L, Marinelli S, Pagliarini V, Sette C, Sacco A, Puri PL

Nat Cell Biol 2024 Mar ;26(3):492

CRIPTO-based micro-heterogeneity of mouse muscle satellite cells enables adaptive response to regenerative microenvironment.

Guardiola O, Iavarone F, Nicoletti C, Ventre M, Rodríguez C, Pisapia L, Andolfi G, Saccone V, Patriarca EJ, Puri PL, Minchiotti G

Dev Cell 2023 Dec 18 ;58(24):2896-2913.e6

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