Early-Career Researchers in the Time of COVID-19: Mariaceleste Aragona
COVID-19 has unfortunately halted lab work, conferences, and in-person networking, which is especially detrimental to researchers just starting their labs. In an interview to the journal Cell Stem Cell, Associate Professor Mariaceleste Aragona describes how she was impacted by the closures.
Forcing Stem Cell Dynamics
"The functionality of each organ in our bodies is determined by the structure and correct organization of each tissue component. Tissue architecture is ensured by a perfect equilibrium between each individual cell, its neighbors, and the physical environment. In particular, this is tightly regulated in epithelia that are naturally subjected to different mechanical perturbations and constantly renewed through our lives thanks to stem cells and progenitors able to regenerate entire tissues. My research focuses on understanding how mechanical forces shape tissue architecture and change epithelial stem cell dynamics during homeostasis and organ growth. After 8 years of postdoctoral training first at the University of Padova in Italy and then at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, I was thrilled to move to Denmark to establish my laboratory at DanStem, University of Copenhagen. But while I was starting to plan the new beginning, the world was shocked by the pandemic crisis and my relocation was postponed. I was very glad about the support I received during the shutdown from my previous and current institutions, and I was impressed by the courage with which all my colleagues have faced the situation, cooperating to efficiently solve countless organizational problems. Now, I am finally ready to start, with the renewed belief that establishing a collaborative and friendly environment is a fundamental step to shape a productive team capable of facing future challenges".
Find out more about the Aragona groupat DanStem