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., Ph.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

Autophagy in major human diseases.

Klionsky DJ, Petroni G, Amaravadi RK, Baehrecke EH, Ballabio A, Boya P, Bravo-San Pedro JM, Cadwell K, Cecconi F, Choi AMK, Choi ME, Chu CT, Codogno P, Colombo MI, Cuervo AM, Deretic V, Dikic I, Elazar Z, Eskelinen EL, Fimia GM, Gewirtz DA, Green DR, Hansen M, Jäättelä M, Johansen T, Juhász G, Karantza V, Kraft C, Kroemer G, Ktistakis NT, Kumar S, Lopez-Otin C, Macleod KF, Madeo F, Martinez J, Meléndez A, Mizushima N, Münz C, Penninger JM, Perera RM, Piacentini M, Reggiori F, Rubinsztein DC, Ryan KM, Sadoshima J, Santambrogio L, Scorrano L, Simon HU, Simon AK, Simonsen A, Stolz A, Tavernarakis N, Tooze SA, Yoshimori T, Yuan J, Yue Z, Zhong Q, Galluzzi L, Pietrocola F

EMBO J 2021 Aug 30 ;:e108863

LC3B phosphorylation: autophagosome's ticket for a ride toward the cell nucleus.

Nieto-Torres JL, Encalada SE, Hansen M

Autophagy 2021 Aug 23 ;:1-3

Methods for the Differential Analysis of Hi-C Data.

Nicoletti C

Methods Mol Biol 2022 ;2301:61-95

LC3B phosphorylation regulates FYCO1 binding and directional transport of autophagosomes.

Nieto-Torres JL, Shanahan SL, Chassefeyre R, Chaiamarit T, Zaretski S, Landeras-Bueno S, Verhelle A, Encalada SE, Hansen M

Curr Biol 2021 Aug 9 ;31(15):3440-3449.e7

Fat-body brummer lipase determines survival and cardiac function during starvation in Drosophila melanogaster.

Blumrich A, Vogler G, Dresen S, Diop SB, Jaeger C, Leberer S, Grune J, Wirth EK, Hoeft B, Renko K, Foryst-Ludwig A, Spranger J, Sigrist S, Bodmer R, Kintscher U

iScience 2021 Apr 23 ;24(4):102288

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