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IBEC Seminar: Prof. Aitor Aguirre

Tuesday, December 19, 2023 @ 10:00 am11:00 am

Reverse engineering human heart  development with pluripotent stem cells

Prof. Aitor Aguirre, Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering (IQ) and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State University 

During development, an exquisitely orchestrated series of biological processes lay down the map for the entirety of our bodies and carry it out to perfection. However, occasional errors occur (due to mutations, environmental factors, and other causes) and lead to congenital defects, the most common birth defect in humans affecting 1% of all newborns. Certain conditions such as obesity, diabetes, infections or drug use can increase this risk much further.
To tackle CHDs, we are reverse engineering human heart development on a dish with the use of pluripotent stem cells, creating heart organoids or synthetic mini-hearts. By recapitulating  aspects of heart development in vitro, under fully controlled conditions, we can dissect gene networks and morphological changes that give rise to specific parts of the heart to understand and prevent CHD, such as single ventricle defects. Furthermore, we can also use these mini-hearts as models to study the exposure to environmental conditions and other factors that are very poorly known.

Dr. Aguirre obtained his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of the Basque Country and his Ph.D. in Material Science at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC). For his postdoctoral training Dr. Aguirre joined The Salk Institute under the supervision of J.C. Izpisua-Belmonte, where he explored in vivo reprogramming applied to cardiac regeneration, making significant contributions to non-coding RNA biology in human cardiac development (Cell Stem Cell, 2014; Circulation, 2015). Dr. Aguirre became Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego in 2017 and joined the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering (IQ) and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State University one year later. He became associate professor in 2023 and is currently the Chief of IQ’s Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Division and the Director of MSU’s Stem Cell Core Facility. Dr. Aguirre has extensive experience in cardiac development, cardiovascular disease, tissue engineering and -omic approaches. Dr. Aguirre has received numerous awards and nominations including the Hispanic Center of Excellence award at the University of California, a career development NHLBI K01 award and frequently serves in grant review panels for the NIH and European Commission, among others.


Tuesday, December 19, 2023
10:00 am–11:00 am
Event Category:


Sala Baobab, Tower I, Floor 11
Baldiri i Reixac
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