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Professor Ludovic Vallier

107-Vallier-2017Professor Ludovic Vallier

Mechanisms controlling differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into definitive endoderm


Laboratory: Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre

 Departmental Affiliation: Surgery



Ludovic graduated in Molecular biology and Immunology from the University Claude Bernard Lyon I in 1997. In 2001, he earned his PhD at Ecole Normale Superieur of Lyon in the group of Jacques Samarut, under the supervision of Pierre Savatier, studying mechanisms that control the cell cycle in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. Following a year in the biotechnology industry, Ludovic joined Professor Pedersen's group at the University of Cambridge Department of Surgery. In 2008 he joined the newly opened Anne McLaren Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine (LRM) as a Principal Investigator and MRC non clinical senior fellow. 

Ludovic holds a joint appointment between the University of Cambridge (Department of Surgery) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute where he is respectively Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Senior Faculty. He is also director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre hIPSCs (human induced pluripotent stem cells) core facility.



Wellcome, NC3Rs, European Research Council, Medical Research Council, EU/IMI, CF Foundation

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LV group studies the basic molecular mechanisms controlling cell fate decisions during early embryonic development and in adult organs. For that, his group utilises human pluripotent stem cells as in vitro model of development. The resulting knowledge is then exploited for generating cells from the pancreas, liver, gut and lung. The resulting cells are then used for clinical applications including disease modelling and cell based therapy. (Credit Ludovic Vallier) 



Understanding the mechanisms controlling early cell fate decisions in human development has major importance for regenerative medicine. Indeed the generation of fully functional cell types from stem cells is only achievable by recapitulating a natural succession of cell fate choice. The first event of differentiation of the embryo proper occurs at the stage of gastrulation with the specification of the three primary germ layers ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm, from which all the cells of adult tissues are derived. The main objective of our group is to define the molecular mechanisms controlling the transition between pluripotency and the endoderm lineage. For that, we use human pluripotent stem cells (hESCs and hIPSCs) as in vitro model of development to study the interplays between transcriptional networks, epigenetic modifications and cell cycle which ultimately orchestrate the earliest step of differentiation. The resulting knowledge allows the development of new culture system to drive differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into pancreatic, hepatic, lung and gut cells. These cells are then used to model disease in vitro and we have a specific focus on metabolic disorders affecting the liver and the pancreas. Furthermore, we are currently investigating how similar mechanisms could regulate adult stem cells self-renewal /differentiation during organ regeneration. Overall, our objective is to uncover the common mechanisms controlling selfrenewal and differentiation in both pluripotent and somatic stem cells. 



Group Members

Stephanie Brown, Giovanni Canu, Rodrigo Grandy, Carola Morell, Shota Nakanoh, Daniel Ortmann, Ana Osnato, Casey Rimland, Alexander Ross, Fotis Sampaziotis, Samantha Tilson, Rute Tomaz, Brandon Wesley, Loukia Yiangou.


Plain English

The objective of our research group is to acquire the basic knowledge and the clinical tools necessary to develop new therapies against metabolic diseases. For that, we use pluripotent stem cells to model embryonic development in vitro and to produce liver and pancreatic cells with an interest for cell therapy of liver failure and diabetes.


Key Publications