Malignant B cells Biology and 3D modelling

Malignant B cells Biology and 3D modelling


Group leader

Cristina Scielzo


The aim of Scielzo's research projects is to study the interactions occurring between leukemic cells and their microenvironment by focusing on the role of the cytoskeleton. Though the precise mechanisms are currently unknown, it is likely that the interactions between leukemic cells and the microenvironment are extremely dynamic and depend on the continuous re-circulation and homing into the lymphoid tissues where leukemic cells origin, grow and acquire pharmacological resistance. In particular, cell movement, attachment and interactive structure formations involve complex molecular mechanisms and mechanical forces, brought about by cytoskeletal reorganization into specialized microenvironments.

Research activity

Understanding those mechanisms and the responsible genes that account for the molecular and cellular interactions occurring among leukemic cells and the microenvironment is expected to lead to new therapeutic strategies.

The group demonstrated that the expression, activation and function of cytoskeletal proteins (HS1) and Kinases (LYN) conceivably play a crucial role in CLL, acting as hub molecules between the B cell receptor and the cytoskeleton. Taking advantage of primary leukemic cells and cell lines the group is developing new 3D co-culture models by prototyping a bench-top 3D bio-printer and dynamic growth in bioreactors combined them with real-time imaging strategies.