Alessandra Balduini and her research group are leading experts in the research of stem cell and megakaryocyte biology, as well as in the clinical aspects of the diseases related to platelets and clotting processes.
Alessandra began her research career in 2005 developing protocols for culturing megakaryocytes (Mks) from human cord blood (Balduini et al., 2006). Her research is oriented on the study of the mechanisms of hemopoiesis, Mk differentiation and platelet release in physiological and pathological conditions, in particular analyzing how the different components of the bone marrow microenvironment regulate these processes (Chen et al., 2007; Pecci et al., 2009; Balduini et al., 2009; Balduini et al., 2011).
Current research has focused on mechanisms that regulate Extracellular matrix component-Mk interactions in the bone marrow environment (Malara et al., 2011; Malara et al., 2011; Malara et al., 2013; Abbonante et al., 2013) and proposed a new 3D model, based on silk biomaterials, to study bone marrow platelet formation (Pallotta et al., 2011; Di Buduo et al., 2015). Using this 3D bioreactor model, we proposed that soluble factors also contribute to the regulation of Mk behavior in an autocrine manner both in physiology and disease (i.e. myeloproliferative disorders) scenarios (Balduini et al., 2011; Balduini et al., 2013; Badalucco et al., 2013).
Ongoing research has shown the importance of calcium as a new regulator of platelet production (Di Buduo et al., 2014).
Our lab is based in two different academic institutions: Department of Molecular Medicine - University of Pavia and Department of Biomedical Engineering - Tufts University.
The goal is to establish a cross-sectional program that integrates biological with bioengineering approaches to the study of hematopoiesis and bone marrow environment. This synergistic network covers a number of relevant disciplines and expertise, including biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, biophysics, science of materials and clinic. Our team is international and multidisciplinary including members with clinical, bioengineering and biological backgrounds. The structure and the organization of our lab pursue the establishment of an interdisciplinary, multi-cultural and flexible research group.
The lab's approach is interdisciplinary integrating bioengineering, cell biology and clinical expertise.