The main objective of the project described in this proposal is to provide a stable framework for the re-integration of a European researcher, who has been conducting academic research in the US for over 5 years, into a European SME. The project will allow the host institution to benefit from the knowledge and experience acquired by the applicant in his previous training and work in Europe and the US. The applicant's strong backgrounds in molecular and cellular biology, as well as developmental biology are as of significant interest to the company.
As a result of this action, the applicant will continue his professional activity in his field of expertise in the European Union by conducting the company's stem cell differentiation project. Regarding the scientific content of this proposal, the applicant plans to utilize human adipose derived stroma (stem) cells to search for factors that initiate the differentiation into cardiomyocytes. The in vitro-differentiation of stem cells recapitulates, to our current under standing, the processes that take place during embryogenesis. Cardiac differentiation has been studied in great detail in vertebrates, and the expression of several genes during cardiogenesis delineates distinct developmental phases.
We will use the promoters of these genes and couple them to fluorescent markers (GFP) and Luciferase, in order to achieve a qualitative and quantitative read out, respectively. One of the main objectives is to develop with the host SME a cell-based differentiation platform for high throughput screenings. Secondly, we will use a selection marker (puromycin) to obtain pure cardiac and pre-cardiac cell populations, which will be used for DNA-microchip analysis to search for new genes involved in cardiogenesis. The long-term goal i s to translate results from the chip analysis and high throughput screening into pre-clinical and clinical trials, using pre-differentiated (cardiac) cells for cell therapy purposes.
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