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Image of Cinzia Allegrucci

Cinzia Allegrucci

Associate Professor in Cancer and Stem Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

I graduated in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies at the University of Perugia (Italy) in 1995. I obtained my PharmD (EU-qualified) in 1996 and PhD (Cum Laude) in Biochemistry from the University of Perugia (Italy) in 2001. I spent two years (2001-2003) as Post-doctoral Fellow at the School of Biosciences (University of Nottingham) and was then appointed as Senior Research Fellow at the School of Human Development (University of Nottingham) for the following four years. In 2007 I joined the Institute of Genetics and spin-out company EvoCell Ltd (University of Nottingham) as Senior Research Fellow. I am a Lecturer at the University of Nottingham since 2009. I am also a trained pharmacist and hold a professional membership with the UK General Pharmaceutical Council.

Expertise Summary

Dr Cinzia Allegrucci is an Associate Professor in Cancer and Stem Cell Biology

Dr Allegrucci is a pharmacist registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC reg. number 2206010)

Dr Allegrucci is a member of the Cancer Research at Nottingham Centre (CRN).

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cancerresearchnottingham/researchers/researchers.aspx

Expertise key words: epigenetics, stem cells, cancer stem cells, germ cells, reprogramming, cancer biology

Teaching Summary

I convene the Genetics and Oncology modules. I teach first, second and third year undergraduate students in the subjects of cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, oncology. I am a coordinator of… read more

Research Summary

My research interests are in Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology. We are working to understand how stem cells are epigenetically regulated during normal tissue homeostasis and in disease. The answer to… read more

Recent Publications

Applications for a PhD position are invited all year round from exceptional graduates to study epigenetic mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis and tumour reversion. Our lab is interested in understanding the epigenetic mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis. Gene function is regulated by epigenetic remodelling of chromatin via DNA methylation, histone modification and RNA interference. These epigenetic modifications play a fundamental role during development and are altered in cancer. A fundamental question in cancer research is the identification of molecular mechanisms that initiate and sustain tumour growth. We are studying how altered epigenetic regulation of gene function can transform tissue stem cells and/or somatic cells to cancer stem cells. We are also investigating how cancer-associated epigenetic alterations can be reverted by cellular reprogramming. To this end, we use oocyte extracts and the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to study how epigenetic alterations can be erased from cancer cells.

Applications for a PhD position are invited all year round from exceptional graduates to study the gene networks involved in germ cell development and cancer.

Our lab is studying the gene networks involved in primordial germ cell (precursors of gametes) specification during embryo development and how these genes become mis-regulated in germ cell tumors. The project uses both in vitro (embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), teratocarcinoma cells) and in vivo (embryos from large animals and human patient tumours) approaches.

Funding Notes:

Candidates interested in joining our lab to work in these research areas can contact Dr Allegrucci by sending an e-mail to cinzia.allegrucci@nottingham.ac.uk Position are currently available only to self-funded students. There are a number of international studentships available to international applicants: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/InternationalOffice/prospective-students/scholarships/index.aspx.

I convene the Genetics and Oncology modules. I teach first, second and third year undergraduate students in the subjects of cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, oncology. I am a coordinator of the School Interprofessional Education Program.

Current Research

My research interests are in Epigenetics and Stem Cell Biology. We are working to understand how stem cells are epigenetically regulated during normal tissue homeostasis and in disease. The answer to this biological question is fundamental to understand the basis of diseases characterised by a stem cell dysfunction and for the development of stem cell therapies.

Epigenetic alterations in carcinogenesis

The epigenetic regulation of DNA function is achieved by chromatin remodelling via DNA methylation and histone modifications and RNA interference. These epigenetic modifications play a fundamental role in development and disease. A fundamental question in cancer research is the identification of molecular mechanisms that initiate and sustain tumour growth. The recent identification of stem cells that initiate and sustain tumour growth (cancer stem cells) is opening a new promise for the understanding of tumorigenesis and for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies targeted specifically to tumour-initiating cells. My research group is investigating the epigenetic events that initiate cancer formation and how they cooperate with genetic alterations in cancer progression. We are studying epigenetic alterations in humans and using relevant veterinary species as disease models.

Epigenetic reprogramming of cancer cells

Altered epigenetic regulation of the genome is associated with tumour initiation and progression. Genome-wide DNA hypomethylation and hypermethylation of tumour suppressor genes are hallmark of cancer. Our Lab is focussing on dissecting the epigenetic mechanisms of tumorigenesis by using oocyte extracts and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technologies to epigenetically reprogram cancer cells.

Pluripotent stem cells and germ cell tumours

Our laboratory is investigating the molecular mechanisms regulating pluripotency and primordial germ cell specification. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms regulating germ cell differentiation and the formation off germ cell tumours. We use embryonic stem cells, teratocarcinoma cells and induced pluripotent stem cells to address these questions.

Comparative oncology

A significant challenge in advancing cancer research is the availability of experimental models that accurately recapitulate the complexity of the disease in humans. Many cancer types are currently studied by using a combination of models including cell lines, xenografts and genetically engineered mice. We are animals with spontaneous disease as models because of the similarities of their naturally occurring cancers with humans.

Funding

BBSRC, Royal Society, PetPLan, Evocell Ltd, University of Nottingham

Present Lab Members

Ryan Cardenas, PhD student. Project:Pluripotency gene networks in germ cell homeostasis

Leong Yeh, PhD student. Project: Epigenetic reprogramming of cancer cells

Ahmad Zyoud, PhD student. project: PIWI RNA in cancer

Past Lab Members

Somsin Petyim, PhD student. Project: Germ cell differentiation from pluripotent stem cells. Current position: Assistant Professor, MD, PhD, Mahidol University, Thailand.

Mansi Shah, PhD student. Project: Role of homeobox genes in breast cancer stem cells. Current position: Post-doctoral researcher, Paul O'Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, Glasgow

Norazalina Saad, PhD student. Project: Epigenetic reprogramming of cancer cells. Current position: Post-doctoral researcher, Laboratory of Cancer Research, University Putra Malaysia.

Editorial Board member: Frontiers in Genetics (Epigenetics) http://journal.frontiersin.org/journal/genetics

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 6116
fax: +44 (0)115 951 6415
email: veterinary-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk