Research lines

Our group works in the following research lines:

  • Additive manufacturing and cardiovascular tissue engineering
    (IP. Manuel Mazo)

    The fundamental axis of this research is to be able to generate mature human cardiac tissue in the laboratory by tissue engineering strategies, both for its therapeutic application and the in vitro modelling of the effects of drugs. For this purpose, we aim to improve our knowledge of the factors that determine cardiac maturity, in addition to applying the most advanced additive manufacturing strategies. This will be achieved through the implementation of a highly interdisciplinary strategy, including advanced genomic technology and gene editing in tissue engineering models, manufacturing using 3D printing strategies, smart materials (smart materials) and bioreactors among others, together with cardiac phenotypes derived from human iPSCs.

    The objectives of this line of research are:

    • To construct diseased and healthy cardiac tissue models for their use in drug testing, as well as in precision medicine applications by implementing novel manufacturing strategies and biomaterials, human iPSC derived cells, and biostimulation (bioreactors).

    • To implement advanced genomics tools in the study of the regulation of cardiac maturation, in order to apply directly this knowledge to the production of tissue engineering.

    • Coordinate the efforts of engineers, chemists, biotechnologists and clinicians to develop a new generation of therapeutic and diagnostic tools.

  • Xeno-organs (IP. Xabier Aranguren)

    To develop new therapeutic alternatives based on the generation of xenoorgans in vivo using stem cells. This will be achieved through the microinjection of pluripotent stem cells in genetically modified embryos unable to generate a certain type of organ / cell type. The generation of such organs could confer an immune advantage upon xenotransplantation in the species of origin of these stem cells.

    The objectives of this line of research are:

    • Generate naive pluripotent stem cells of different species.

    • Produce pre-implanted embryos deficient in any organ by the Crispr / cas9 technique or by transgenesis.

    • Generate rat organs in murine hosts and primate organs in pig.

  • Cardiac reprogramming strategies (IP. Xonia Carvajal)

    The major goal of our group is to gain knowledge about the molecular routes that control self-renewal, differentiation and induction of cardiovascular progenitors, as well as to enhance engraftment of these cells in animal models of myocardial infarction. This knowledge will be essential for the development of protocols for future clinical application. We aim to establish a new direct reprogramming strategy to induce cardiovascular progenitors from somatic cells. Our purpose is to evaluate the possible functional effect of cardiovascular progenitors in the treatment of myocardial infarction.

    The objectives of our line of research are:

    • Identification of new biological regulators of human cardiovascular progenitors.

    • Establishment of a novel methodology for the direct reprogramming of human fibroblasts in cardiovascular progenitors.

    • Use of new approaches to increase engraftment of cardiovascular progenitors, and thereby their potential therapeutic role.

  • Study of the molecular mechanisms involved in adverse remodeling and applications of nanotechnology, gene therapy and / or bioengineering for their treatment (PI: Beatriz Pelacho and Adrián Ruiz)

    To develop new therapeutic alternatives based on the application of cell and gene therapy, as well as its combination with bioengineering and nanotechnology strategies to prevent and treat heart remodeling after myocardial ischemia. The prior knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes together with the reparative action of the stem cells will allow the design of different strategies for the design of an effective therapeutic action and future clinical applications.

    The objectives of this line of research are:

    • Determine the molecular mechanisms involved in the adverse remodeling that occurs after the infarction to find new therapeutic targets.

    • Demonstrate the effectiveness of controlled release systems for proteins / RNA and / or viral vectors for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

    • Develop tissue engineering strategies based on the combination of collagen membranes and allogeneic stem cells.

  • Lung stem cells in lung homeostasis, regeneration and disease
    (IP: Ana Pardo-Saganta)

    Our research focuses on the functional characterization of lung stem cells at homeostasis and after injury using in vivo mouse models as well as organoid based human ex vivo models to study lung tissue homeostasis, regeneration and disease. We seek to understand the contribution of lung stem cells to the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and to the pathogenesis of specific lung diseases analyzing their cellular interactions with other lung cell types and the molecular mechanisms involved.

    We also aim to gain insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the initiation and progression of chronic lung diseases in order to develop strategies to promote tissue regeneration. A better understanding of the behavior of lung stem cells in this scenario is imperative for developing novel therapeutic strategies to regenerate the damaged tissue and restore lung architecture. However, given the complex interplay of these mechanisms and cell populations in the contribution to the development of the pathology, we think that a unifying integration of all of these processes is required to understand higher order pathogenesis which can be compared to the higher order complex intercellular physiology of normal lungs. A comprehensive understanding of pathophysiology will allow a more incisive approach to therapeutics.

    The objectives of this line of research are:

    • To define the cellular heterogeneity of lung stem cells and to characterize specific subpopulations. 

    • To study the contribution of lung stem cells to maintaining tissue balance analyzing whether lung stem cells regulate other cell types under steady state conditions and in the context of regeneration and disease.

    • To unravel the molecular mechanisms that govern key cellular interactions between stem cells and other lung cell types at homeostasis and after injury.

  • Regenerative Therapies in musculoskeletal diseases
    (IP: Froilán Granero and Ana Pérez)

    Due to the increase in life expectancy of advanced societies, diseases of the musculoskeletal system are one of the major causes of disability and chronic pain. They have a high prevalence in the general population and it is estimated that about a quarter of the European population suffers or has suffered a disease of this type. In total, more than 100 million European citizens suffer from chronic pain of musculoskeletal origin, and this type of disorders gives rise to the highest recorded rate of temporary disability over any other type of disease.

    Our goal is not only to develop new therapeutic strategies for musculoskeletal diseases but also to advance in the understanding of the basic mechanisms of the disease.

    In general, the bone tissue has a good capacity for regeneration that is not free of complications, the most serious being the appearance of fracture pseudoarthrosis. The mechanisms that result in the appearance of fracture pseudoarthrosis are unknown, so its prevention or pharmacological treatment is not possible. On the other hand, the absence of mechanisms of regeneration or repair of the joint tissue means that any damage derives in a degenerative process that leads to osteoarthritis, characterized by the total loss of joint function. Current pharmacological treatments are palliative and do not stop the progression of the disease, so there is a need to develop therapies that stop the progression of joint degeneration and activate tissue repair mechanisms.

    For the treatment of these pathologies, we are interested in the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal progenitor cells (MSCs). Our final goal is to develop effective therapies for the treatment of osteoarticular diseases and their complications, through:

    • Tissue engineering strategies that combine MSCs, biomaterials and growth factors.

    • Analysis and identification of the molecular mechanisms involved in the natural processes of osteoarticular regeneration.

"Cell therapy is one of the essential pillars of the medicine of the future, thanks to the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) and the consolidation of cell reprogramming", Dr. Felipe Prósper, Program Director.

Contact

Contact:
Marisol Ripa
Avda. Pío XII, 55
31008 Pamplona
Spain

(+34) 948 194 700 Ext. 1010
msripa@unav.es