BIH Young Science

Eine Initiative von Nachwuchswissenschaftlerinnen und -wissenschaftlern aus MDC und Charité startete als BIH Young Science mit einer Gründungsveranstaltung im Januar 2014. Die Initiative verfolgt das Ziel, den regelmäßigen Austausch und die wissenschaftliche Diskussion insbesondere auf der Ebene der Nachwuchsgruppenleiterinnen und -leiter in der fächerübergreifenden, translationalen Forschung zu intensivieren. Mitglieder der Initiative sind Nachwuchswissenschaftlerinnen und -wissenschaftler von MDC und Charité.

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Dr. med. Dr. rer. nat. Alessandro Prigione

Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC)

Robert-Rössle-Str. 10, 13092 Berlin

+49 (0)30 9406 2871
alessandro.prigione@mdc-berlin.de

    Fields of Research

  • human iPSCs
  • mitochondrial disorders

Scientific Scope, Special Techniques, Translational Perspective

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), generated through reprogramming of somatic cells back into an embryonic-like pluripotent state, hold great promises for biomedical research. Until recently, however, the contributing role of mitochondria and energy metabolism in the induction of pluripotency remained an unexplored topic. My previous works demonstrated that a “mitochondrial reprogramming” may occur during cell fate transition. Numerous studies confirmed these data and the investigation of the link between metabolic transformation and cellular reprogramming is presently an active field of research.
I now wish to build employ the iPSC technology for advancing the understanding and treatment of debilitating brain disorders due to mitochondrial impairment. This will be applied to neurological diseases affecting the mitochondria either directly, such as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) disorders, or indirectly, like Huntington’s disease (HD). The development of alternative modeling approaches is highly needed for conditions affecting the nervous system, whose understanding has been hindered by the inability to sample live neuronal cells and it is particularly important for mtDNA disorders, which lack viable modeling tools due to the hurdles associated with engineering mtDNA. Reprogramming-derived neurons can be eventually employed as disease-relevant cell type-specific cellular systems for the discovery of novel disease-modifying therapeutic strategies for these untreatable brain disorders. To reach this long-term goal, we combine unbiased systems-driven analysis of iPSC neural derivatives with the development of mitochondria-centered high-throughput screening strategies.

University Education

2004 - 2008
Ph.D. San Raffaele Scientific Institute
1996 - 2002
M.D. University of Milan

Professional Experience

2013 - now
Delbrück Fellow, MDC
2009 - 2012
Postdoc, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin
2005 - 2007
Visiting researcher, University of Davis, USA

Selected Awards, Honours, Scientific Achievements

2015
Guest Editor of the Special Issue "Mitochondria and metabolism remodeling in cellular reprogramming and differentiation” in Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology.
2014
Young Investigator eBio
2010
Oral presentation award, “1st World Congress on Targeting Mitochondria”