Biotechnological approaches to cardiac differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells
Claudia di Guglielmo, Control of stem cell potency group
Heart diseases are a major cause of death and disability in developed countries. Human induced pluripotent stem cells can be differentiated into cardiomyocytes, representing a valid tool to be used as a platform for research and clinical applications in regenerative medicine. However, current differentiation protocols have disadvantages related to insufficient purity and lack of scalability. We applied biotechnological strategies such as the use of transgenic cell lines and tissue engineering devices to overcome those drawbacks. This approach offers the possibility to dissect the mechanisms underlying cardiac differentiation, as well as providing valuable in vitro systems for drug screening of patient-specific heart muscle cells.
Muscle Synergy analysis as a tool to improve stroke rehabilitation
Oiane Urra, Biomedical signal processing and interpretation group
Stroke is the first cause of adult disability with upper-limb hemiparesis being the most frequent dysfunction. After rehabilitation, one third of the patients result permanently disabled. Consequently, intensive research aiming to develop novel therapies promoting neuroplasticity are being carried out to allow rehabilitation of these patients. In this thesis, we propose to combine novel neurorehabilitation and biofeedback strategies and to evaluate its therapeutic effect from a physiological (changes at muscular and neuroplastic level), kinematic and functional perspective with the objective of guiding the design of more successful and cost-effective therapies.