Post Doctoral Researcher
University of Cambridge/Wellcome Trust Senior Internship for Interdisciplinary Research fellow
University of Cambridge
Cambridge CB2 1LR
The ability to sense and adapt to the surrounding environment by appropriately regulating gene expression is a fundamental property of all cells. My main research interest is to develop a quantitative understanding about the process of stem cell fate decisions. In particular, I am interested in how individual cells sense and process complex external signals and integrate them in the context of noisy molecular environments in order to effect discrete responses.
In plants, stem cells responsible for the generation of all above ground organs such as leaves and flowers are located in a well-defined niche at the centre of the shoot apical meristem (SAM). The normal establishment of the beautifully complex plant developmental patterns observed in nature requires a strict spatiotemporal control of stem cell function, in order to simultaneously assure a balance between coordinated differentiation of cells towards the periphery of the meristem and maintenance of stem cell pools at the centre. In my current project, I employ a combination of experimental and computational approaches to provide a single-cell level characterization of the structure and dynamics of regulatory networks involved in stem cell maintenance and differentiation in Arabidopsis thaliana. More specifically, I am using live imaging techniques to acquire high-resolution single-cell data on the dynamics of gene expression within the core regulatory network. I am doing so both in the context of developing meristems using confocal microscopy, and single meristem-derived protoplasts in combination with microfluidic technologies that allow the fine-grained and systematic manipulation of the microenvironment (in collaboration with Kevin Chalut, at the Wellcome Trust/Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute). These data will be integrated with detailed computational models of SAM development in order to provide a quantitative understanding of the complex regulatory cross-talk impacting the dynamics of the stem cell niche.
My most recent work, developed during my PhD in Carsten Peterson’s group at Lund University and subsequently Tariq Enver’s group at the UCL Cancer Institute, has focused on the inference and dynamical modelling of gene regulatory networks underlying stem cell fate decisions in the haematopoietic system.
Teles J, Enver T, Pina C. (2014). Single-cell PCR profiling of gene expression in hematopoiesis. Methods Mol Biol 1185: 21-42.
May G, Soneji J, Tipping AJ, Teles J, McGowan S, Wu M, Guo Y, Fugazza C, Brown J, Pina C, Olariu V, Taylor S, Tenen DG, Peterson C, Enver T. (2013). Dynamic analysis of gene expression and genome wide transcription factor binding during lineage-specification of multipotent progenitors. Cell Stem Cell 13:754-68.
Teles J, Pina C, Edén P, Ohlsson M, Enver T, Peterson C. (2013). Transcriptional regulation of lineage commitment – a stochastic model of cell fate decisions. PLoS Comput Biol 9:e1003197.
Manesso E, Teles J, Bryder D, Peterson C. (2013). Dynamical modelling of haematopoiesis: an integrated view over the entire system in homeostasis and under perturbation. J R Soc Interface 10(80):20120817.
Pina C, Fugazza C, Tipping AJ, Brown J, Soneji S, Teles J, Peterson C, Enver T. (2012). Inferring rules of lineage commitment in haematopoiesis. Nat Cell Biol 14: 287-194.