Ilaria’s main research is to determine the vital molecular players in bone marrow stem cell ageing. An understanding of stem cell ageing ultimately has an impact on the design of regenerative medicine protocols using bone marrow stem cells and will contribute to a better understanding of pathologies in older people such as myelodysplastic syndromes, or chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Ilaria has identified conditions where ageing occurs in bone marrow derived stem cells by telomere analysis in both mesenchymal and haemopoietic stem cells during in vitro and in vivo expansion and in situations of accelerated stem cell ageing such as in Down’s syndrome. She has discovered several putative networks, which change in stem cells with age, using a combination of mathematical modeling and experimental research including the Notch/Wnt signalling pathway. She is now testing molecules targeting these pathways to delay ageing.
Ilaria’s research is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Leukaemia Research Fund and AstraZeneca.