Sancho Lab

Pancreatic plasticity and regeneration

Rocio is a Lecturer and Group Leader at the Centre for Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine (CGTRM) at King’s College London. Rocio Sancho obtained her PhD in immunology at the University of Cordoba (Spain). She completed her postdoctoral research in the Mammalian Genetics lab at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute where she specialised in studying intestinal tissue stem cells and their function in homeostasis and cancer.

As a Senior Scientist in the Adult Stem Cell lab at the Francis Crick Institute she turned her interests in mammalian cell differentiation to the study of cell fate decisions in adult pancreatic progenitors and began to explore their potential to treat diabetes.

Rocio Sancho
Group Leader
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Mario completed his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and a master’s degree in Healthcare biology at the University of Padua – Italy, before obtaining his PhD (also at the University of Padua) with a project on skeletal muscle regeneration and repair, with a focus on diaphragm and muscle tissue engineering. During his PhD he did a mandatory placement in London, at the UCL Institute of Child Health. He returned to London for a Postdoc on cartilage regenerative medicine at QMUL, before joining the Sancho Lab at the KCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, focusing on a factor that regulates beta cell fate determination (NGN3) while also collaborating on a project on the molecular mechanisms underlying a mutation found in Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY).

Mario Alvarez-Fallas
PostDoc
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Sergio completed his BSc in Biology (2014), and Master’s in Translational Biomedical Research, both from the University of Córdoba, Spain, before undertaking a Research Initiation Fellowship in the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology, and Immunology, where he developed his interest in cancer and cell biology. In 2020, Sergio obtained his PhD in Biomedicine, focused on finding new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for endocrine-related tumours. During his PhD, he did three short-term stays at QMUL in London, Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, and Université Livre de Bruxelles, he developing his skills in endocrinology and development. He has recently joined Sancho Lab as PostDoc, to study the importance of the environment during the differentiation of beta cells.

Sergio Pedraza-Arevalo
PostDoc
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Theoni obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of East Anglia, and a Master’s degree in Stem Cell Technology at the University of Nottingham. She then joined the biomedical research team at the Griffin Institute for two years before moving to the CSCRM at King’s College London, working in the field of liver regeneration and stem cells. In 2017 she embarked on the IRTG trans-campus PhD program, carrying out her research at both KCL, in the Sancho Lab, and TU Dresden. Her project focuses on identifying novel regulators of Pdx1, a master regulator of β-cell development, and delineating the respective molecular regulatory pathways in both adult and induced pluripotent stem cells. The project will provide insightful information on how to stabilise Pdx1 and improve the efficiency of β-cell generation.

Theoni Demcollari
PhD Student
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Thea graduated with a BSc Biochemistry degree from the University of York in 2017. During her degree, she completed an industrial placement at the Earlham Institute, investigating the role of microbiota on inflammatory bowel disease. After undertaking her final year undergraduate project on mesenchymal stromal cell fate decisions, Thea embarked on a 4-year PhD at KCL's Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, starting with a 1-year MRes during which she rotated between three different labs before joining the Sancho Lab for the rest of her PhD. Her project focuses on the interaction between proendocrine factor Ngn3  and deubiquitinase Usp7, and the effect that disrupting this interaction has on Ngn3 stability and β-cell differentiation.

Teodora Manea
PhD Student
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Chris developed an interest in stem cell biology while studying towards his BSc Human Biosciences degree at Northumbria University, graduating in 2017. During his degree he undertook a summer studentship at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health modelling Bardet-Biedl Syndrome using iPSCs, and a placement at the Department of Haematology, Cambridge, investigating iPSC reprogramming. Upon joining MRC DTP program at King’s, he spent the first year rotating across several labs prior to starting his PhD project in the Sancho Lab. His project aims to elucidate the reprogramming network through which ductal cells give rise to insulin-producing beta cells, combining both wet lab techniques and computational modelling to better understand cell fate changes.

Christopher Lambert
PhD Student
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Cristina obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from King’s College London, graduating in 2020. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she developed an interest in stem cell biology after completing her final year dissertation on the epigenetic regulation of muscle stem cells. Upon joining the Wellcome Trust ‘Advanced Therapies for Regenerative Medicine’ PhD Programme, she rotated across three different labs and ultimately joined the Sancho Lab to continue the rest of the PhD. Her project focuses on modelling Congenital Hyperinsulinism (CHI) using patient derived induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. By recapitulating this rare monogenic disorder in vitro, she aims to elucidate the molecular mechanisms leading to aberrant β-cell function.

Cristina Garrone
PhD Student
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Former members:

Research Assistant at the Sancho Lab from 2017-2019. Currently doing a PhD at the University of Manchester.

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Alexandra Gonçalves
Research Assistant

PhD student at the Sancho Lab from 2017-2021. Currently doing a PostDoc in Sarah Teichmann Lab at the Sanger Institute (Cambridge).

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Ana Maria Cujba
PhD Student