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

EV-mediated promotion of myogenic differentiation is dependent on dose, collection medium, and isolation method.

Hanson B, Vorobieva I, Zheng W, Conceição M, Lomonosova Y, Mäger I, Puri PL, El Andaloussi S, Wood MJA, Roberts TC

Mol Ther Nucleic Acids 2023 Sep 12 ;33:511-528

Post-translational modifications of ATG8 proteins - an emerging mechanism of autophagy control.

Nieto-Torres JL, Zaretski S, Liu T, Adams PD, Hansen M

J Cell Sci 2023 Aug 15 ;136(16)

Muscle denervation promotes functional interactions between glial and mesenchymal cells through NGFR and NGF.

Nicoletti C, Wei X, Etxaniz U, D'Ercole C, Madaro L, Perera R, Puri PL

iScience 2023 Jul 21 ;26(7):107114

Mitochondrial MICOS complex genes, implicated in hypoplastic left heart syndrome, maintain cardiac contractility and actomyosin integrity.

Birker K, Ge S, Kirkland NJ, Theis JL, Marchant J, Fogarty ZC, Missinato MA, Kalvakuri S, Grossfeld P, Engler AJ, Ocorr K, Nelson TJ, Colas AR, Olson TM, Vogler G, Bodmer R

Elife 2023 Jul 5 ;12

A single DPE core promoter motif contributes to in vivo transcriptional regulation and affects cardiac function.

Sloutskin A, Itzhak D, Vogler G, Ideses D, Alter H, Shachar H, Doniger T, Frasch M, Bodmer R, Duttke SH, Juven-Gershon T

bioRxiv 2023 Jun 12 ;

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