Associate Professor Tiziano Barberi has been engaged in stem cell research since the beginning of his scientific career. He started as a graduate student at the Istituto Superiore di Sanita (the Italian Institute of Health) studying the molecular and cellular factors governing hematopoiesis. After graduation in 1998, he moved to the New York, USA at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), where he started a postdoctoral fellowship working on the directed differentiation of mouse ESC (mESC). In 2003, he published a milestone article in Nature Biotechnology, the first to describe a comprehensive method to differentiate mESC into specific neuronal subtypes in a stepwise fashion.
This highly cited work led the way to the development of differentiation
protocols for generating neural cells from human ESCs (hESC). To
strengthen his international credentials, in January 2005 he earned a
second postgraduate degree, a PhD in cell biology from the University of
Tubingen in Germany. Meanwhile, while working at MSKCC as a research
associate, he focused on the directed differentiation of hESC.
produced two additional milestone papers in which he described, for the
first time, how to generate mesenchymal precursors (PLoS Medicine,
2005) and skeletal myoblasts (Nature Medicine, 2007) using a multistep
FACS purification protocol. In the summer of 2006, he became an
independent investigator, Assistant Professor at the Beckman Research
Institute of City of Hope in Duarte, California.
With significant funding from the California Institute of Regenerative
Medicine (CIRM) and the NIH, he concentrated his research efforts on the
mesodermal and neural differentiation of hESCs. While at City of Hope,
he started to teach PhD students a special class in Stem Cell Biology,
reviewed publications for several journals, and served as grant reviewer
on numerous occasions. Together with his previous co-workers from
MSKCC, he published the first report describing the generation of neural
crest progenitors from hESC in late 2007 (Nature Biotechnology).
In August 2009, Associate Professor Barberi accepted a group leader
position and an Associate Professorship at the Australian Regenerative
Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University. His internationally
recognized expertise in the directed differentiation of ESC was sought
to strengthen Australian stem cell research and will now contribute to
the Stem Cells Australia initiative.