Simona Chera obtained her PhD from Department of Genetics and Evolution, at the Faculty of Science, University of Geneva, in 2008, with a focus on cellular and molecular mechanisms acting in regeneration. Afterwards, she was a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Pedro Herrera lab, characterizing the two age-dependent regenerative mechanisms involved in spontaneous murine pancreatic β-cell regeneration (Thorel et al. 2010, Nature and Chera et al. 2014, Nature). In March 2015, she moved to Bergen, as a postdoctoral fellow in Ræder lab, working on a project involving the differentiation of pancreatic β-cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells, derived from fibroblasts donated by patients with Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY). She is now an Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen and NCMM Young Associate Investigator.
The main focus throughout her career has been the characterization of the cellular processes and molecular cues governing the balance between tissue regeneration and homeostasis. This has resulted in numerous publications.
In 2015 she received two prestigious grants: the Novo Nordisk Foundation Excellence Project for Endocrinology Research, for characterizing and reversing β-cell senescence and proliferation quiescence in monogenic diabetes; and two Young Talent Research Projects funded by the Research Council of Norway, aiming at characterizing the cellular and molecular basis of the gradual failure of insulin-producing β-cells in diabetes by using a novel in vivo strategy involving transplanted induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from monogenic diabetes patients (MODY patients).
- 2017. Converting adult pancreatic islet α cells into β cells by targeting both Dnmt1 and Arx. Cell Metabolism. 25: 622-634. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.01.009
- 2017. Probing the missing mature β-cell proteomic landscape in differentiating patient iPSC-derived cells. Scientific Reports. 7:4780: 1-14. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04979-w
- 2016. Stress-induced adaptive islet cell identity changes. Diabetes, obesity and metabolism. 18: 87-96. doi: 10.1111/dom.12726
- Chakravarthy H, Gu X, Enge M, Dai X, Wang Y, Damond N, Downie C, Liu K, Wang J, Xing Y, Chera S, Thorel F, Quake S, Oberholzer J, MacDonald PE, Herrera PL, Kim SK. Converting Adult Pancreatic Islet α Cells into β Cells by Targeting Both Dnmt1 and Arx, 2017 Cell Metabolism (in press) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2017.01.009
- Cigliola V, Thorel F, Chera S, Herrera PL. Stress-induced adaptive islet cell identity changes 2016 Diabetes Obes Metab. 2016 Sep;18 Suppl 1:87-96. doi: 10.1111/dom.12726.
- Chera S, Herrera PL. Regeneration of Pancreatic Insulin-Producing Cells by In Situ Adaptive Cell Conversion, 2016 Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 40:1-10, 10.1016/j.gde.2016.05.010
- Chera S, Baronnier-Caffé D, Ghila L, Cigliola V, Jensen JN, Gu G, Furuyama K, Thorel F, Gribble FM, Reimann F, Herrera PL. Diabetes recovery by age-dependent conversion of pancreatic δ- or α-cells into insulin producers 2014 Nature 514(7523):503-507 [Comment in Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014: Diabetes: reprogrammed pancreatic δ-cells restore insulin production].
- Fujikawa T, Berglund ED, Patel VR, Ramadori G, Vianna CR, Vong L, Thorel F, Chera S, Herrera PL, Lowell BB, Elmquist JK, Baldi P, Coppari R. Leptin engages a hypothalamic neurocircuitry to permit survival in the absence of insulin 2013 Cell Metabolism 18(3):431-44. [Comment in Cell Metab. 2013 Leptin, GABA, and glucose control.]
- Thorel F, Damond N, Chera S, Wiederkehr A, Thorens B, Meda P, Wollheim CB, Herrera PL. Normal glucagon signaling and β-cell function after near-total α-cell ablation in adult mice 2011 Diabetes 60(11):2872-82.
- Thorel F, Nepote V, Avril I, Kohno K, Desgraz R, Chera S, Herrera PL. Conversion of Adult Pancreatic α-cells to β-cells After Extreme β-cell Loss 2010 Nature 464(7292):1149-54. [Comments in: Nature. 2010: Diabetes forum: Extreme makeover of pancreatic alpha-cells; and Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2010: Differentiation: from alpha to beta].
- Chera S, Ghila L, Dobretz K, Wenger Y, Bauer C, Buzgariu WC, Martinou JC, Galliot B. Apoptotic cells provide an unexpected source of Wnt3 signaling to drive hydra head regeneration Developmental Cell 17(2), 279-89 2009
- Chera S, Ghila L, Wenger Y, Galliot B. Injury-induced activation of the MAPK/CREB pathway triggers apoptosis-induced compensatory proliferation in hydra head regeneration 2011 Dev Growth Differ. 53(2):186-201
- Galliot B, Chera S. The Hydra model: disclosing an apoptosis-driven generator of Wnt-based regeneration 2010 Trends Cell Biol. 20(9):514-23
- Chera S, Buzgariu W, Ghila L, Galliot B. Autophagy in Hydra: a response to starvation and stress in early animal evolution 2009 Biochim Biophys Acta. 1793(9):1432-43
- Galliot B, Quiquand M, Ghila L, de Rosa R, Miljkovic-Licina M, Chera S. Origins of neurogenesis, a cnidarian view 2009 Dev Biol. 332(1), 2-24
- Buzgariu W, Chera S, Galliot B. Methods to investigate autophagy during starvation and regeneration in Hydra 2008 Methods in Enzymology 451, 409-37
- Miljkovic-Licina M, Chera S, Ghila L, Galliot B. Head regeneration in wild-type hydra requires de novo neurogenesis 2007 Development 134:1191-1201
- Galliot B, Miljkovic-Licina M, Ghila L, Chera S. RNAi gene silencing affects cell and developmental plasticity in hydra 2007 C. R. Biol. 330:491-497
- Chera S, Kaloulis K, Galliot B. The cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) as an integrative HUB selector in metazoans: clues from the hydra model system 2007 BioSystems 87:191-203
- Galliot B, Miljkovic-Licina M, de Rosa R, Chera S. Hydra, a niche for cell and developmental plasticity 2006 Sem. Cell Dev. Biol. 17:492-502
- Chera S, de Rosa R, Miljkovic-Licina M, Dobretz K, Ghila L, Kaloulis K, Galliot B. Silencing of the hydra serine protease inhibitor Kazal1 gene mimics the human SPINK1 pancreatic phenotype Journal of Cell Science 119:846-857 2006
- Kaloulis K, Chera S, Hassel M, Gauchat D, Galliot B. Reactivation of developmental programs: the CREB pathway is involved in hydra head regeneration 2004 Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:2363-2368
- Gauchat D, Escriva H, Miljkovic-Licina M, Chera S, Langlois MC, Begue A, Laudet V, Galliot B. The orphan COUP-TF nuclear receptors are markers for neurogenesis from cnidarians to vertebrates 2004 Dev. Biol. 275:104-123