Zenobi / Brevini

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Alessandro Zenobi
Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety, University of Milan
Address: Via Celoria, 10 20133 Milan
Tel.: + 39 02 503 17973
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Alessandro Zenobi graduated in Science in Veterinary Biotechnologies (curriculum Cell Cultures) Master’s Degree at the University of Milan in October 2014 with the highest honors. Final thesis: “Role of Oxygen in Pancreatic Development Process”. Currently involved in research on Epigenetic Conversion of Skin Fibroblasts into Insulin Secreting Cells at the Laboratory of Biomedical Embryology UNISTEM in Milan.


Tutor: Tiziana A.L. Brevini
Tiziana A.L. Brevini is an Associate Professor of Anatomy and Embryology at the University of Milan, Italy. She studied the interactions between the female genital tract and the maturing oocyte in the Department of Molecular Embryology at the University of Cambridge, UK. She completed her doctorate degree in Endocrinology and Metabolic Sciences at the University of Milan, Italy, and then carried out research at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and at the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia. Her main areas of research focus on the understanding of cell differentiation and commitment, epigenetic control of cell fate, and pluripotency-related networks in mammalian cells and embryos. She serves as MC member for Epiconcept and SALAAM Cost Actions and acts as Project Reviewer for several European and US Research Councils.

Research Project

We have recently developed a method for the epigenetic conversion of adult cells from one phenotype to a different one. This approach has notable advantages compared to the alternative available procedures: it is highly efficient, it does not require any transgenic modification, it does not induce a stable pluripotent stage, it is patient-specific and therefore it avoids allogeneic rejection.


For all these reason cells derived with this approach (defined epiCC) look very promising candidates for their clinical translation as a therapy. In particular, the data available have shown that they may find advantageous application for regenerative management of diabetes.
Aim of this project is to investigate the mechanism that control epigenetic switch of cell fate, the acquisition of a different phenotype and its stability. In vitro and in vivo studies using animal models will be performed to confirm the safety and the efficacy of these cells.


A multidisciplinary approach will be used and will involve advanced techniques of stem cell culture, cell, tissue and organ cryopreserving, cell and molecular biology, methylation studies, in vivo imaging of cell growth and cell migration, immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy, cell and exosome mediated interactions, cell differentiation and mechano-sensing. The PhD student will become familiar with these techniques, will acquire skills to design and carry out experiments, will develop experimental projects and will present the results obtained at meetings and scientific manuscripts.