Molecular Biology of Stem Cells

1) Introduction and Background

- Adult and embryonic stem cells;
differentiation potential; stem cell niche; examples of adult stem cells;

- Non-coding RNAs involved in the control
of gene expression in cell differentiation and development.

- Molecular biology techniques for the
study of stem cells.


2) Molecular basis of pluripotency

- Origin of embryonic stem cells;
regulatory circuits in the formation of the mammalian blastocyst.

- Regulation of pluripotency: signaling,
"naive" and "primed" states of pluripotency,
transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory networks, epigenetic
control of pluripotency, regulation by miRNAs and lncRNAs.

- Molecular basis of pluripotent stem cell
differentiation; examples of differentiation to generate cell types for therapy
and research; strategies to improve the efficiency of differentiation.

- Pluripotent stem cells in basic research
and regenerative medicine.


3) Cell reprogramming and

- From nuclear transfer to iPS cells;

- Molecular mechanisms of reprogramming;
deterministic and stochastic models; early, intermediate and late phases in
reprogramming; epigenetic memory.

- Patient-specific iPS cells; applications
of reprogramming in basic research and regenerative medicine; "genome
editing" techniques to correct mutations; generation of organoids in

- Transdifferentiation: methods and
applications; epigenetic basis of transdifferentiation; examples of
transdifferentiation to obtain cells of therapeutic interest (muscle, neurons).