San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy

Human hematopoietic development and disease modeling


Group Leader

Andrea Ditadi


The Ditadi lab is a young and dynamic group that focuses on an ambitious and fundamental research program integrating developmental, cell and molecular biology. Our overarching research goal is to understand and recapitulate normal and pathological human hematopoietic development, both at the signaling and genetic level, with a particular interest in generating blood cell products to be used in the regenerative medicine framework. We harness the potential of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC; comprising human embryonic stem cells - hESC - and induced pluripotent stem cells - hiPSC) to crack the code of the orchestrated network of pathways and factors that lead to the emergence of blood cells.

We are continuously looking to add dedicated and enthusiastic individuals at all career stages to our team. If you are interested in joining our group, we welcome applications and informal inquires contacting

Research activity

Our research group focuses on the following two areas:

  1. Dynamic regulation of hematopoietic development: in this project, we aim at understanding the sequence of events that promotes the generation of blood cells, in particular hematopoietic stem cells and other therapeutically relevant blood cell types, such as lymphocytes and macrophages.  Interestingly, during evolution the production of blood cells has been ‘outsourced’ to a different lineage, precisely to a subset of endothelial cells named hemogenic endothelial cells (HECs). As such, HSCs and all blood cells are generated via a process similar to a «lineage reprogramming». Using cutting-edge technologies applied to PSC and embryos as model systems, we investigate the molecular mechanisms regulating hematopoietic commitment, self-renewal and lineage specification in HECs.
  2. Ontogeny of blood disorders: Using iPSCs derived from patient affected by hematopoietic disorders, we want to identify the genetic requirements of specific critical stages of the development of the hematopoitic system and investigate the molecular mechanisms at the onset of these hematological diseases, representing the ultimate frontier of functional genetics. Collectively, our studies will provide new opportunities to study the genetic origins for blood disorders and to develop novel strategies for their treatment, including their application for cell therapy in the frame of regenerative medicine.