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Pluripotency & Regeneration

Dr. Luca Gentile

Dr. Luca Gentile

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We are interested in the mechanisms that drive and control pluripotency (the ability of a cell to self-renew indefinitely, keeping the ability to differentiate in every cell type of the body) and regeneration. Why do animals display such a broad range of outcomes, when it comes to regeneration? By studying different animal model systems and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hIPSCs), we aim to understand how stem cells are regulated, from the "simple" maintenance of tissue and organ homeostasis to the regeneration of the whole body.

Research topics

  • Pluripotency induction und -regulation
  • Regeneration in different model systems, in vivo & in vitro:
    - pluripotency-based regeneration (planarians)
    - heart regeneration (human cardiomyocytes)

Model systems

  • Planarians (free-living flatworms - Phylum Platyhelminthes)
  • hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (hIPSC-CMs))


  • Cell biology: reprogramming, expansion and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells; flow cytometry and cell sorting
  • Biochemistry: dsRNA-mediated RNA interference (RNAi); whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH); immunohistochemistry (IHC); protein detection and quantification
  • Molecular biology: nucleic acids purification; in vitro transcription; quantitative PCR (qPCR); Whole transcriptome analysis (RNA-seq)
  • Microscopy: stereo and bright-field microscopy; fluorescent and confocal microscopy; particle image velocimetry (PIV; measurement of CM-generated contraction force)

Selected Publications

Tran TA, Hesler M, Moriones OH, Jimeno-Romero A, Fischer B, Bastús NG, Puntes V, Wagner S, Kohl YL, & Gentile L. (2019) Assessment of iron oxide nanoparticle ecotoxicity on regeneration and homeostasis in the replacement model system Schmidtea mediterranea. ALTEX, 36, 583-596. doi.org/10.14573/altex.190206 pdf

Keller L, Pijnenburg L, Idoux-Gillet Y, Bornert F, Benameur L, Tabrizian M, Auvray P, Rosset P, Gonzalo-Daganzo RM, Gómez Barrena E, Gentile L, & Benkirane-Jessel N. (2019) Preclinical safety study of a combined therapeutic bone wound dressing for osteoarticular regeneration. Nat Comm. 10:2156-2165. pdf

Fischer B, Meier A, Dehne A, Salhotra A, Tran TA, Neumann S, Schmidt K, Meiser I, Neubauer JC, Zimmermann H, & Gentile L. (2018) A complete workflow for the differentiation and dissociation of hiPSC-derived cardiospheres. Stem Cell Res. 32:65-72. pdf