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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


Professor Ludovic Vallier

Stem cells to study liver development and diseases


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 is respectively Professor of Regenerative Medicine affiliated to the department of Surgery and director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre hIPSCs (human induced pluripotent stem cells) core facility. He also became co-deputy director of the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute in 2019, was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2020 and joined the editorial board of Stem Cell Reports as associated editor. In parallel, he has been involved in the creation of several biotechnology companies including DefiniGEN and BiliTech.



European Research Council, CF Trust, Open Target, Milner Institute, Rosetrees Trust, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Wellcome Leap.

LV group studies the basic molecular mechanisms controlling cell fate decisions during foetal development and in adult liver. For that, his group utilises human pluripotent stem cells and primary organoids  as in vitro model of development. The resulting knowledge is then exploited for generating hepatic cells. The resulting cells are then used for clinical applications including disease modelling and cell-based therapy. (Credit Ludovic Vallier, Katerina Zacharis and Dominika Dziedzicka).



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 generating hepatic tissue. For that, we use human pluripotent stem cells (hESCs and hIPSCs) and primary organoids as in vitro model of development to study the interplays between transcriptional networks, epigenetic modifications and cell cycle which ultimately orchestrate the organogenesis of the liver. The resulting knowledge allows the development of culture systems to produce not only hepatic cells in vitro but also pancreatic, hepatic, gut and lung cells. These cells are then used to model diseases or for cell-based therapy applications. We have a specific focus on metabolic disorders affecting the liver including NAFLD/NASH. Thus, our overall objective is to acquire the basic knowledge necessary for generating a diversity of cell types for clinical applications.


Vallier group 2020


Group Members

Stephanie Brown, Carola Morell, Shota Nakanoh, Anna Osnato, Fotis Sampaziotis, Rute Tomaz, Brandon Wesley, Chris Gribben, Dominika Dziedzicka, Fatima Lugtu, Katerina Zacharis, Laetitia Pinte, Marion Perrin, Marta Vila-Gonzalez, Teresa Brevini, Vasileios Galanakis, Fabian Bachinger.


Plain English

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


Key Publications

For full list see Google Scholar