October 19th at 5pm (Lisbon Time) – Hybrid Format
Chair: Carlos Conde, ICBAS
Title: “Molecular crosstalk between fate determination and orientation in epithelial cell divisions”

Marina Mapelli graduated in Physics at the University of Milan (Italy). She spent her PhD at the EMBL of Heidelberg and Hamburg, and obtained her PhD in Crystallography from the Birkbeck College in London. As a postdoc at the European Institute of Oncology with Prof. Musacchio, she studied Mad2 complexes (Mapelli Cell 2007) and the Aurora-B kinase (Sessa & Mapelli, Mol. Cell 2005). She become group leader at the European Institute of Oncology of Milan in 2009. Since then, research in her group deals with the understanding the molecular mechanisms governing stem cell self-renewal and fate choices, under normal and pathological conditions. Self-renewal is promoted by asymmetric cell divisions coordinated with cellular and polarity. This observation set the stage for her studies, aimed at gaining insights into the functional and organisational principles of the molecular machines orchestrating asymmetric divisions. To address this biological problem, she uses an integrative structural biology approach combining high-resolution X-ray crystallography, cryo-Electron Microscopy, biochemical analyses on reconstituted protein complexes and stem cell biology in organoids. Research of the group is organised in three main lines: 1) interplay between niche contacts and fate asymmetry, specifically for Wnt-dependent niches (Culurgioni & Mari, Nat Comm 2018); 2) studies of complexes coordinating oriented cell divisions (Renna, Structure 2020; Pirovano, Nat Comm 2019; Carminati, NSMB 2016); and 3) implications of asymmetric divisions in cancer development, with focus on intestinal cancers (Palmerini, Nat Comm 2021; Lechler & Mapelli, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 2021

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