Back to the childhood by Monica Nafria Fedi.
“I am studying the role of the B-Myb gene during the reprogramming process and in iPSCs. This 3D stereo collage shows a cell colony that has regressed to an undifferentiated cellular state.”
"In an early stage of development (4-5 days after fertilization), human embryos consist of a small cellular structure that contains embryonic stem cells. These stem cells are pluripotent, which means that can become any embryonic tissue and make exact copies of themselves. These properties give them incredible potential for use in medicine: to repair organs damaged by accidents or failing due to the effects of aging. However, obtaining them entails embryo destruction, thus raising ethical issues. Therefore, strategies to convert adult cells into embryonic stem cell-like cells have been developed. These converted cells are called induced Pluripotent Stems cells (iPSCs).
Initially, all the cells in the picture were human skin cells. By increasing the expression of four specific proteins in the cells, they underwent a process called reprogramming. During this 30-day process, they lost skin-cell type properties and acquired a stem cell-like profile. For that, the individual skin-cells have formed colonies growing in a 3D dimension. Once iPSCs colonies were obtained, they were stained with a fluorescent tag and imaged with a confocal microscope."
Monica Nafria Fedi is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Infection and Immunity.