Laura Baque Vidal
PhD student on regenerative medicine in Lanner's lab.
Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) offer an unlimited source of cells that can be used to derive cell tissues for cell replacement. The usage of human PSCs in regenerative medicine is limited by the immune reaction derived from allogeneic cell transplants. Human embryonic stem cells or hESCs (a type of PSCs) are derived from donated embryos that have a mixture of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) from their parental sources. hESCs and patients will most likely differ on the combination of HLAs, therefore the hESC-graft will be unmatched from the patients' HLA profile. Using hESC-derived cells that has not been HLA-matched would cause rejection in a patient recipient, so the patient will need lifelong immunorepressors or will totally reject the graft.
Our main aim is to provide an universal hESC cell line that woud not drive rejection on any potential patient using gene editing techniques, specifically CRISPR/Cas9.
After the extraordinary efforts of my former colleagues in the lab (Petrus-Reuer, Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 2020; Plaza Reyes and Petrus-Reuer, Nat Comm, 2020; and Petrus-Reuer and Winbland, Stem Cells Report, 2020), we are ready to take our RPE product to clinical trials. Together with Saint Eriks Eye Hospital and Novo Nordisk A/S (https://news.ki.se/karolinska-institutet-st-erik-eye-hospital-and-novo-…), we aim to test our RPE product in a Swedish small group of patients in the next few years.
My involvement in this project is on the development and validation of some quality control assays of the RPE product as well as the production of the cells. I have been involved in the development and validation of the delivery of the target dose.
Our protocol to produce robustly hESC-RPE has been published before by Plaza Reyes and Petrus-Reuer, Nat Comm, 2020, but we were intrigued to know how this differentiation occurs. For that we employed scRNAseq to transcriptionally characterize different timepoints throughout the hESC-RPE protocol until the final drug product to be used on clinical applications.
This work has been published in the pre-print (Petrus-Reurer, S. Lederer, A. R., Baqué-Vidal, L. et al. Molecular profiling of retinal pigment epithelial cell differentiation. bioRxiv 2021.01.31.429014 (2021).) and will be published soon by a per-reviewed journal.
-Sept 2021- June 2022 supervisor of Nefeli Beri from Biomedicine Master Program from Karolinska Institutet on her Research project entitled "Cryopreservation of human embryonic stem cell derived retinal pigmented epithelium for clinical applications" and Master Thesis entitled "Device tolerability and dose accuracy study for CellThRPE1", passed with honors.
-Sept 2021-June 2022 co-supervisor of Hugo Metzger from the Molecular and Cellular Biology Bachelor's degree program from the University of Strasbourg, France, with the research project entitled "Investigating the mechanism of action hPSC-RPE cryopreservation".
-2018-2017 Master's degree on Biochemistry, molecular biology and biomedicine by the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Master's thesis on molecular phsychiatry entitled "Defining a metabolomic signature for lithium response using a peripheral cell model of biopolar disorder", supervised by Carlos J. Villaescusa and Vincent Millischer, performed on Neurogenetics Unit in Karolinska Institutet.
-2017-2013 Bachelor's degree on Biochemistry by the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Academic honours, awards and prizes
Awarded with the KI travel grant 2022 to assist in ARVO Annual Meeting in Denver 2022.
Awarded with the KI travel grant 2023 to assist in ISCT Annual Meeting in Paris 2023.
Awarded with the ISCT 2023 Early Stage Professionals Abstract Award.