Valentina Greco PhD

Associate Professor of Genetics, of Cell Biology and of Dermatology

Research Interests

Organ regeneration in vertebrate systems; Stem cells; Stem cell niche organization; Cancer

Research Summary

Stem cells and the microenvironment in which they reside - the so called niche - are central for the development and regeneration of all our organs, and their deregulation leads to a disease state. Despite the key relevance of stem cell niches and their conserved features, the dynamic interactions between stem cells and the niche are still not well understood.

The aim of my lab is to understand how stem cells and the niche contribute to tissue regeneration and what goes awry during disease states such as cancer using the murine skin hair follicle as a model system. The major challenge in studying these questions is the lack of accessibility to stem cell niches and consequently the inability to visualize the same stem cells over time to determine their specific behavior and long-term fate.

My laboratory has recently established the ability to study cellular mechanisms, in real-time, within an intact stem cell niche during physiological hair follicle regeneration in live mice. My lab integrates cell biology, genetics, genomics and two-photon imaging of live mice to understand 1) the functional role that stem cell niche components exert during hair follicle regeneration, 2) the signaling mechanisms that control hair follicle stem cell behaviors and 3) how basic mechanisms of hair follicle regeneration are hijacked during disease such as skin cancer.

Selected Publications

  • Mesa KR, Rompolas P, Zito G, Myung P, Sun TY, Brown S, Gonzalez D, Blagoev K, Haberman A and Greco V*. Niche induced cell death and epithelial phagocytosis regulate hair follicle stem cell pool. Nature in press.
  • Deschene RE#, Myung P#, Rompolas P, Zito G, Sun TY, Taketo MM, Saotome I and Greco V*. 2014. ß-catenin activation regulates tissue growth via a non-cell autonomous mechanism within the hair stem cell niche. Science. (* corresponding author; # equal contribution). PMID 24653033.
  • Zito G, Saotome I, Liu Z, Ferro EG, Sun TY, Nguyen DX, Bilguvar K, Ko CJ and Greco V*. 2014. Spontaneous tumor regression in keratoacanthomas is driven by Wnt /Retinoic Acid signaling cross-talk. Nature Communications. (* corresponding author). PMID 24667544.
  • Rompolas, P. Mesa K R and Greco, V*. 2013. “Spatial organization within a niche as a determinant of stem cell fate”. Nature, in press .(*corresponding author).
  • Mesa Kailin R and Greco, Valentina#. 2013. “Linking morphogen and chromatin in the hair follicle”. Dev Cell. 29;25(2):113-4 .(# corresponding author).
  • Greco, V. The death and growth connection. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2012. 14(1):6. PMID: 23212474
  • Rompolas, P., Deschene, E., Zito, G., Gonzalez, D., Saotome, I., Haberman, A., and Greco, V.*. “In vivo live imaging of stem cell and progeny behaviour in physiological hair follicle regeneration”. Nature. Jul 26. 2012. (* corresponding author).
  • Greco, V.* and Guo, S. “Compartmentalized organization: a common and required feature of stem cell niches?”. Development. 2010. 137(10):1586-94. (* corresponding author)
  • Greco Valentina*, Chen Ting*, Rendl Michael, Pasolli Amalia, Stokes Nicole and Fuchs Elaine. 2009. “ A Two-Step Mechanism for Stem Cell Activation during Hair Regeneration”. Cell Stem Cell, Feb 6; 4:1-15.
  • Jinsong Li*, Greco Valentina*, Guasch Geraldine*, Mombaerts Peter and Fuchs Elaine. 2007. “Mice cloned from skin cells”. PNAS, Feb 20;104(8):2738-43.


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