ITALY – Rome, Universita’ Cattolica, lecture on intestinal and pancreatic stem cells

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“The role of BMI1 in adult intestinal and pancreatic exocrine stem cells” is the name of the opening lecture of the 2008-2009 Biology Lectures promoted by the Institute of General Pathology at Università Cattolica in Rome, headed by Professor Tommaso Galeotti. The seminar will take place on Wednesday, March 18 at 3:00pm, in the Aula Moscati at the University in Rome (Biology Institute, Largo F. Vito 1), and will be led by Eugenio Sangiorgi, a researcher at the Institute of Medical Genetics for the university, and by the post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Mario Capecchi, 2007 Nobel prize for Medicine winner, from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The young geneticist from Cattolica University, a student of Professor Giovanni Neri, will present the results of his work, which demonstrate the presence of multipotent stem cells in the intestine and pancreas in adult animals, the premise for a better understanding of neoplastic transformation processes, and for interesting innovative treatments that could be potentially important for intestinal tumors and for diabetes mellitus.

The agenda for future meetings includes a lecture on March 25 2009 (3:00PM –Aula Moscati) by Maria Benlloch Garcia of Universita’ Cattolica in Valencia on “Metastatic melanoma B16-F10 as a model to study tumor invasion”. Using a melanoma line of tumor cells, the researcher and her team worked on the identification of molecular characteristics that make these tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy in order to locate a more efficient treatment for a class of clinically important tumors in terms of occurrence, rapid development, and poor prognosis.

Finally, in a lecture on April 1 2009 (11:00AM – Aula Brasca) will be “Cellular and molecular mechanisms of Fragile X Syndrome: from metabolic alteration of the RNA to spinal dismorphogenesis”, by Claudia Bagni of the Department of Biology of the Universita’ Tor Vergata of Rome, who will illustrate her research on fragile X syndrome chromosomes. Her contributions were fundamental in understanding the role played by the protein produced (FMRP) by gene FMR1 on fragile X syndrome at a neural level.

These studies were the premise of a treatment strategy based on the use of drugs active at the level of the neural synapses, where interactions between FMRP and messenger RNA of other genes regulated by FMRP take place. “This second series of biology lectures,” explained Professor Francesco Ria, teacher of General Pathology at Universita’ Cattolica and promoter of the meetings, “ is dedicated specifically to advancements in basic research and intends to illustrate, through the contribution of young and established scholars, the processes that molecular damage can have on the development of important pathologies.”

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