🟣Aragona Group

The structure and the correct organization of each tissue component determine the functionality of each organ in our body. Tissue architecture is ensured by a perfect equilibrium between each cell, its neighbors, and the physical environment. In particular, this is tightly regulated in epithelia that are constantly renewed through our lives thanks to stem cells and progenitors able to regenerate entire tissues. Stem cells cancan renew and differentiate in other cell types and sense and cope with different external cues. Specifically, we focus on mechanobiology, which studies mechanisms converting physical lines into chemical signals by mechanotransduction.

The questions we want to address include how tissues remodel their cellular division and cell-fate patterns and how the cell-cell and cell-matrix connections are adjusted to coordinate biological function and collectively react to external stress by activating specific transcription factor programs. We investigate these biological questions in tissues naturally subjected to different mechanical perturbations, such as the skin and the urinary tract. Understanding these fundamental principles will improve our basic understanding and significantly impact the development of new regenerative medicine tools.

Using lineage tracing in mouse models, embryo tissue explants for live imaging during organ formation, and transcriptomic and chromatin profiling at the single-cell level, we study how mechanical stimuli are integrated by the cells and translated into signaling pathways that, provide positional information for cell fate decisions, directly shape tissue architecture.

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