Welcome CVRC’s Newest Member: Dr. Valentina Lo Sardo, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Cell & Regenerative Biology.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Italy. I was born in Palermo, in the south and then moved to Milan, in the north of Italy when I was 18, to attend college. I lived in Milan for 12 years and then moved to US.
What is your educational/professional background?
I received my master and PhD in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology from the University of Milan. For my early training, I joined the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Pharmacology of Neurodegenerative Diseases headed by Prof. Elena Cattaneo at the University of Milan. To pursue my passion for stem cell biology, I moved to the US, and I joined the Scripps Research Institute in California, where I worked in Dr. Kristin Baldwin’s laboratory. I am a stem cell biologist by training, and I have always worked at the intersection of stem cell biology and human genetics. During my early training, my research was focused on a rare genetic disease that affects the human brain. I used stem cells and their differentiation potential to understand the role of hunting, the Huntington Disease-causing gene, during neuronal development and maintenance. During my postdoctoral training years, I continued to pursue my passion for understanding human genetics using stem cells. I worked on a fascinating portion of the human genome linked to genetic susceptibility for Coronary Artery Disease.
What is the main goal of your current research program?
My lab’s research is focused on understanding common genetic variants linked to susceptibility to Cardiovascular disease. We study the 9p21.3 Cardiovascular disease risk locus and its role in vascular cells, and we intend to expand our research to other similar genetic loci. The 9p21.3 is the first CAD locus identified by genome-wide association studies, but it is still very mysterious. Using reprogramming of somatic cells, induced pluripotent stem cell, genome editing, and transcriptomics, we aim to elucidate the gene network regulated by the 9p21.3 and understand the molecular mechanism that can lead to increased susceptibility for CAD.
What attracted you to UW-Madison?
UW-Madison is a leading institution for stem cell biology and it has a fantastic group of scientists that share an interest in cardiovascular biology. When I started my faculty position search, it was my first choice. I was very honored to be recruited here as an Assistant professor, and I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing community.
What are you hobbies/other interests?
I love cooking. I am not sure this is because of my Italian blood, but I have a very strong passion for cooking and preparing meals for family and friends. I really enjoy walking and biking with my family and Madison seems a perfect place for this.
Articles regarding Dr. Lo Sardo’s research and lab:
- Introduction to the community: early-career researchers in the time of Covid-19
Takayama K, Weaver LN, Lummertz da Rocha E, Lo Sardo V, Gehart H, Vu LP.Cell Stem Cell. 2020 Dec 3;27(6):853-855. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2020.11.011. PMID: 33275897
Dr. Lo Sardo Contact Information