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Center for Dental Medicine

Dr. Cristina Porcheri

Senior Teaching and Research Assistant at the Institute of Oral Biology / Orofacial development and regeneration

Contact: E-Mail:
Qualifications: PhD 
Affiliation: Institute of Oral Biology

Clinical Specialisations

  • Biologist

Research Interests

  • Notch signalling in head and neck epithelium
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Genetic disorders and orofacial development
  • Stem cells in homeostasis, pathology and regeneration

Head and neck cancer defines a group of solid tumors originating from the epithelium of the upper aerodigestive tract, pharynx, larynx, mouth, salivary glands and nasal cavity. The most common subtype, the squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), affects mostly structures in the oral cavity and particularly the tongue. It is the sixth most common cancer in the world, has metastatic evolution and poor prognosis. HNSCC heterogeneity and complexity reflects in a multistep progression, involving crosstalk between several molecular pathways. Squamous epithelium remain undifferentiated, recapitulating molecular and cellular events typical of the embryonic developmental period. Importantly, the Notch pathway, pivotal during embryonic life, is associated with major events supporting cancerogenic evolution: cell proliferation, self-renewal, angiogenesis, and preservation of a pro-oncogenic microenvironment. Using cutting-edge technologies (advanced imaging, transgenesis and NGS), we study the parallelisms between embryonic development and tumorigenesis, with particular focus on the role of the Notch pathway in epithelium. Our studies aim to identify the major molecular players that sustain cancer, with the ultimate goal to identify druggable targets and develop more effective treatments.

Selected publications

Porcheri C, Mitsiadis TA (2021) Notch in Head and Neck Cancer.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021;1287:81-103. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-55031-8_7. PMID: 33034028

Porcheri C, Golan O, Calero-Nieto FJ, Thambyrajah R, Ruiz-Herguido C, Wang X, Catto F, Guillén Y, Sinha R, González J, Kinston SJ, Mariani SA, Maglitto A, Vink CS, Dzierzak E, Charbord P, Göttgens B, Espinosa L, Sprinzak D, Bigas A (2020) Notch ligand Dll4 impairs cell recruitment to aortic clusters and limits blood stem cell generation.
EMBO J. 2020 Apr 15;39(8):e104270. doi: 10.15252/embj.2019104270. Epub 2020 Mar 9. PMID: 32149421

Meisel CT, Pagella P, Porcheri C, Mitsiadis TA (2020) Three-Dimensional Imaging and Gene Expression Analysis Upon Enzymatic Isolation of the Tongue Epithelium.
Front Physiol. 2020 Jul 21;11:825. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00825. eCollection 2020. PMID: 32848819

Meisel CT, Porcheri C, Mitsiadis TA (2020) Cancer Stem Cells, Quo Vadis? The Notch Signaling Pathway in Tumor Initiation and Progression.
Cells. 2020 Aug 11;9(8):1879. doi: 10.3390/cells9081879. PMID: 32796631

Porcheri C, Meisel CT, Mitsiadis TA (2020) Molecular and Cellular Modelling of Salivary Gland Tumors Open New Landscapes in Diagnosis and Treatment.
Cancers (Basel). 2020 Oct 24;12(11):3107. doi: 10.3390/cancers12113107. PMID: 33114321

Porcheri C, Meisel CT, Mitsiadis T (2019) Multifactorial Contribution of Notch Signaling in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Mar 26;20(6):1520. doi: 10.3390/ijms20061520. PMID: 30917608

Publications in ZORA (Zurich Open Repository and Archive)

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