Research focus

The Cardiovascular System – Mechanobiology group is mainly interested in correlating defects in tissue-specific cell mechanobiology system with the onset of cardiac pathologies. In particular, CSM researchers adopt loss- and gain-of-function approaches, microfluidics and micropatterning technologies to manipulate the mechanosome of adult, pluripotent stem cells and stem cell-derived cardiac cells. CSM takes advantage of cutting-edge technologies for live imaging, cell separation and high-throughput gene and protein analysis to highlight perturbations in the mechanosensing apparatus occurring in the cardiac tissue and cells derived from patients.

Research objectives

  • Identification of potential cellular mechanosensors involved in the onset of cardiac pathologies and suitable as bio-markers of the diseases.
  • Identification of novel molecular processes involved in cardiac phenotype acquisition.
  • Generation of valuable in vitro models of cardiac diseases.

Main partners

  • University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • University of Jena, Jena, Germany
  • Campus Biomedico,University of Rome, Italy

Technological equipment

  • Laboratory equipment for cell sorting, analysis, tissue characterization:
  • Flow Cytometer
  • Cell Sorter
  • Multiphoton Microscope
  • Magnetic Cell Separator - mastering the complexity of cell processing
  • Bioreactors and stretching machines
  • Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope suited for live imaging
  • Laser Microdissection Microscope with PALM Microbeam System
  • PCR and Real-Time PCR System
  • Mass Spectrometer MALDI-TOF - mass spectrometry
  • Benchtop Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
  • Microfluidics devices

Offered services and expertise

  • Multicolor high quality confocal imaging
  • Live imaging in confocal microscopy
  • 3D confocal rendering
  • Automated MACS cell separation
  • Real Time PCR and PCR arrays
  • Multiphoton analysis of thick biological tissues

Top publications

  • MOSQUEIRA, D., PAGLIARI, S., UTO, K., EBARA, M., ROMANAZZO, S., ESCOBEDO-LUCEA, C., NAKANISHI, J., TANIGUCHI, A., FRANZESE, O., DI NARDO, P., GOUMANS, M., TRAVERSE, E., PINTO-DO-O, P., AOYAGI, T., FORTE, G. Hippo Pathway Effectors Control Cardiac Progenitor Cell Fate by Acting as Dynamic Sensors of Substrate Mechanics and Nanostructure. ACS Nano. 2014, 8(3), 2033-2047.
  • Forte, G., Pietronave, S., Nardone, G., Zamperone, A., Magnani, E., Pagliari, S., Pagliari, F., Giacinti, C., Nicoletti, C., Musaro’, A., Rinaldi, M., Ribezzo, M., Comoglio, C., Prat, M., Traversa, E., Minieri, M., Okano, T., Di Nardo, P. Human Cardiac Progenitor Cell Grafts as Unrestricted Source of Super-Numerary Cardiac Cells in Healthy Murine Hearts. Stem Cells. 2011, 29, 2051-2061.
  • FREIRE, A., NASCIMENTO, D., FORTE, G., VALENTE, M., RESENDE, T., PAGLIARI, S., ABREU, C., CARVALHO, I., DI NARDO, P., PINTO-DO-O, P. Stable Phenotype and Function of Immortalized Lin(-)Sca-1(+) Cardiac Progenitor Cells in Long-Term Culture: A Step Closer to Standardization. Stem Cells and Development. 2014, 23(9), 1012-1026.
  • Forte, G., Pagliari, S., Ebara, U., Uto, K., Tam, K., Romanazzo, S., Escobedo-Lucea, C., Romano, E., Di Nardo, P., Traversa, E., Aoyagi, T. Substrate stiffness modulates neonatal cardiomyocyte maturation in vitro. Tissue Engineering Part A. 2012,18, 1837-1848.
  • Pagliari, S., Vilela-Silva, A.C., Forte, G., Pagliari, F., Mandoli, C., Vozzi, G., Pietronave, S., Prat, M., Licoccia, S., Ahluwalia, A., Traversa, E., Minieri, M., Di Nardo, P. Cooperation of Biological and Mechanical Signals in Cardiac Progenitor Cell Differentiation. Advanced Materials. 2011, 23, 514-518.

Other selected results

  • Identification of YAP protein as the key determinant of cell-ECM interaction.
  • Identification of YAP protein as a novel marker in myocardial infarction.
  • Identification of HGF as a factor involved in MSC differentiation.
  • Generation of human cardiac progenitor cell patches for myocardial infarction treatment.

Team members

  • Giancarlo Forte, Ph.D.
  • Eva Sedláková (PI)
  • Romana Vlčková
  • Marco Cassani, Ph.D.
  • Mgr. Helena Ďuríková
  • Ece Ergir, MSc
  • Dr. Soraia Fernandes
  • MUDr. Vladimír Horváth
  • Fabiana Martino
  • Mgr. Jaromíra Nováková
  • Jorge Oliver De La Cruz, Ph.D.
  • Stefania Pagliari, Ph.D.
  • Ana Rubina Perestrelo, Ph.D.
  • Antonio Pompeiano, Ph.D.
  • Ing. Monika Siekelová
  • Nives Škorja, MSc
  • Mgr. Jana Vašíčková
  • Mgr. Bc. Vladimír Vinarský, Ph.D.
  • Mgr. Jan Vrbský, Ph.D.
  • Mgr. Hana Zpěváková

Principal Investigator

Giancarlo Forte, Ph.D.
Giancarlo Forte, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Phone: +420 54 318 511158278


Romana Vlčková
Romana Vlčková
Research Assistant
Phone: +420 54 318 511158281