Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Mechanisms


Understand the definition and concept of stem cell in comparison to somatic cells. Review the history of the field and present the fundamental characteristics of embryonic, adult and pathological (cancer, senescent) stem cells.

The aim is to provide general knowledge and an integrated concepts in stem cell biology at the molecular biology (to explain the molecular mechanisms/signaling pathways, genetic and epigenetic regulation of genes important in these cells), cellular (chemical and physical interactions between cells that define the cellular niche and determine the fate of stem cells) and genomic levels. Display the properties, the potential and limitations of using pluripotent stem cells (embryonic or reprogrammed – such as iPS) and adult regenerative medicine.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Gustavo Tiscornia


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





"Stem Cells: From Mechanisms to Technologies" - By Michal K. Stachowiak, Emmanuel S. Tzanakakis - World Scientific Publishing Co (2012).


"Stem Cells and Cancer Stem Cells, Volume 2: Therapeutic applications in disease and injury" - by M.A. Hayat - Sringer (2011).


"Principles of Regenerative Medicine" - By Anthony Atala, Robert Lanza, James A. Thomson, Robert Nerem - Academic press, Elsevier (2010).

Teaching method

 1/3 of teaching time will consist of lectures covering basic concepts. All PowerPoint slides will be made available to the students in order to minimize note talking. Great importance will be placed on practical modules where student will acquire the basic methodology required to culture stem cells. The final 1/3 of teaching time will be devoted to student seminars and discussion groups. The student will be given different papers to read and instructed to present a one page summary for their peers. They will briefly present the contents of their paper. Each student will have a different paper, chosen by the Professors in order to allow each student to contribute individual information to the discussion session. Students will also be required to ask 3 conceptual or practical questions regarding their assigned paper.

Evaluation method

The final grade will be determined by a presentation/discussion on material related to the discipline (75% of grade) and the presentation of a paper (25% of grade).

Subject matter

Embryonic Stem Cells (ESC)

Isolation, culture, characterisation, and Safety as well as Ethical Issues

Maintenance of ESC in conditions preserving undifferentiation

Differentiation strategies

Current and future applications for research

Current and future therapeutic applications

Animal models of disease


iPSC and transdifferentiated cells

Reprogramming principles, methods limitations and advantages over ESC and future improvements

Directed reprogramming (transdifferentiation) of somatic cells into cells with different functions

Therapeutic applications and use as disease models

Applications in industry


Adult stem cells

Mesenchymal, hematopoietic, fat-derived, umbilical cord stem cells.

Characteristics, plasticity and mechanisms of action (replacement, paracrine factor secretion, cell fusion)

Therapeutic applications

Tissue-specific stem cells: neural, muscle, pancreas, skin

Identification and isolation

Importance of the niche

Applications in animal models of disease


Programs where the course is taught: