Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D.

Alessandra Sacco portrait photo

Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of Curriculum, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Alessandra Sacco's Research Focus

Childhood Diseases, Muscular Dystrophy, Sarcopenia/Aging-Related Muscle Atrophy

Skeletal muscle wasting is a devastating pathology that occurs in several human conditions, including muscular dystrophies, aging, and HIV. There is currently no cure for it. Muscle stem cells offer great promise for future therapies, but their use is currently limited by our poor understanding of the regulatory mechanisms directing their behavior. We are interested in understanding how extrinsic and intrinsic factors regulate muscle stem cells in vivo. Current projects include:

  • Developing stem cell-based strategies for treating muscle wasting diseases
  • Understanding how aging affects the muscle stem cell compartment.

Alessandra Sacco's Bio

Alessandra Sacco completed her studies at La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. In 2002, Dr. Sacco joined the laboratory of Prof. Helen M. Blau at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow (2002-2009), where she studied cell fusion between hematopoietic cells and muscle cells, as a potential mechanism for tissue repair. Recently she defined strategies to isolate adult skeletal muscle stem cells and performed single cell transplantation experiments, providing the first definitive evidence that adult muscle stem cells are able to self-renew in vivo. She received research funding from Muscular Dystrophy Association (2006-2008). In 2010, Dr. Sacco was recruited as Assistant Professor at SBP.

DAR Accessory


Gilbert PM, Havenstrite KL, Magnusson KE, Sacco A, Leonardi NA, Kraft P, Nguyen NK, Thrun S, Lutolf MP, Blau HM
Science 2010 Aug 27;329(5995):1078-81
Bhutani N, Brady JJ, Damian M, Sacco A, Corbel SY, Blau HM
Nature 2010 Feb 25;463(7284):1042-7
Cosgrove BD, Sacco A, Gilbert PM, Blau HM
Differentiation 2009 Sep-Oct;78(2-3):185-94
Sala D, Cunningham TJ, Stec MJ, Etxaniz U, Nicoletti C, Dall'Agnese A, Puri PL, Duester G, Latella L, Sacco A
Nat Commun 2019 Apr 17;10(1):1796
Boscolo Sesillo F, Fox D, Sacco A
Cell Rep 2019 Jan 15;26(3):689-701.e6
Madaro L, Passafaro M, Sala D, Etxaniz U, Lugarini F, Proietti D, Alfonsi MV, Nicoletti C, Gatto S, De Bardi M, Rojas-GarcĂ­a R, Giordani L, Marinelli S, Pagliarini V, Sette C, Sacco A, Puri PL
Nat Cell Biol 2018 Aug;20(8):917-927