Simona Chera joined the lab

DSC00735Before coming to Bergen, Simona was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer (maître-assistant) in the laboratory of Prof. Pedro Herrera, at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, in Switzerland. During the past 6 years in that position Sim have been able to perform cutting-edge research in the field of pancreatic β-cell regeneration and cell plasticity, leading to islet cell type interconversion phenomena. As result, they were able to characterize two age-dependent regenerative mechanisms involved in spontaneous murine pancreatic regeneration (Thorel., et al. 2010 Nature and Chera et al. 2014 Nature) Briefly, they found that prepubescent mice always recover from diabetes after near-total β-cell ablation, however through a completely novel cellular mechanism: the massive recruitment and dedifferentiation of another hormonal cell type, the somatostatin producing δ-cells, to a very early progenitor stage. These cells re-enter the cell cycle and recapitulate embryonic development to become insulin producers. Moreover, by characterizing the molecular differences between the adult and the juvenile regenerative mechanisms, it was possible to pharmacologically trigger the extremely efficient juvenile regenerative program in adult diabetic mice. These results are part of a manuscript published last october in Nature (Chera et al., 2014).

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