Rodrigo Santos

Rodrigo Luiz dos Santos

2011 - 2014

Studentship Details


Dates of Study: May 2011 - Jun 2014

PhD Supervisor: Dr Jose Silva

Studentship Sponsor: Foundation for Science and Technology in Portugal

Thesis TitleMechanisms of induced pluripotency: The role of the Nucleosome Remodelling and Deacetylase complex

Public OutreachRodrigo was a regular contributor to the University of Cambridge annual Science Festival, taking a lead role in organisation of the activities in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Rodrigo also visited his ex-secondary school in Portugal to talk to the children about what stem cells are and why we should study them.

Post PhD

In July 2014 Rodrigo began working as a scientist in the Cell Cell Engineering Team at Horizon Discovery in Cambridge, UK.

Research Illustrations

Image 1:

Image 1

Legend:Reprogramming of skin cells boosted by NuRD activity. Green fluorescence indicates emerging iPS cell colonies.


Image 2:

Image 2

Legend: My work describes that the key developmental chromatin complex NuRD is required for efficient iPSCs generation and that its enhanced activity facilitates induced pluripotency in a context dependent manner. The cover art depicts NuRD as a tram, whose function is required for both cell differentiation (top) and to promote reversion back to a naïve pluripotent cell state (bottom). Lack of NuRD activity decreases induced pluripotency efficiency both in rate and extent, path depicted as a walking man.

Plain English

My work described for the first time that the key DNA regulator NuRD is required for the efficient generation of iPSCs. In addition, its enhanced activity can further boost the generation of iPSCs. This demonstrates that NuRD, an essential DNA regulator for the generation of specialised cells such as skin and brain cells, is also key to the reversion of the specialised cells back into an early embryonic state (iPSCs).

Key Publications

  1. dos Santos RL, Tosti L, Radzisheuskaya A, Caballero IM, Kaji K, Hendrich B and Silva JC (2014). MBD3/NuRD Facilitates Induction of Pluripotency in a Context-Dependent Manner. Cell Stem Cell 15, 102-10.
  2. Radzisheuskaya A, Chia G le B, dos Santos RL, Theunissen TW, Castro LF,  Nichols J and Silva JC (2013). A defined Oct4 level governs cell state transitions of pluripotency entry and differentiation into all embryonic lineages. Nat Cell Biol 15, 579-90.

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