Gustavo Tiscornia


University of Algarve

Department of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine, Bld 7

Phone: + 351 289 800 095 (internal extn. 7535)



Academic Degrees

  • 2001, Ph.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
  • 1989, Licenciate in Biological Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.



  • 2011-Present – Assistant Professor at University of Algarve.
  • 2007-2011 – Ramon y Cajal Researcher at the Center for Regenerative Medicine of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2001-2006 – Postdoctoral Reseacher at the Salk Institute for Biological Research, USA.


Research Interests

Research in the last decade has led to a paradigm shift: we have transitioned from the view that once established cellular fate is essentially irreversible, to the view that cell fate is more plastic and can be manipulated by expression of key regulators, signaling pathways and culture conditions. This has been forcefully illustrated by the recent demonstration of direct reprogramming, in which adult somatic cells can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent, embryonic stem cell like state through the forced expression of a small number of transcription factors or microRNAs. The development of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSc) technologies has generated great interest due to its potential use for disease modeling and regenerative medicine. With this technology, adult cell from patients suffering from genetic diseases can be reprogrammed to the iPSc state and differentiated to the target cell type, providing an human in vitro model to study basic mechanisms of disease and a platform to test potential pharmacological compounds. Dr Tiscornia’s recent work has focused on iPSc disease models of Gaucher Disease and Tay Sachs disease, both lysosomal storage disorders. The derivation of iPSc also offers the possibility of correcting patient cells genetically and generating healthy differentiated cells for possible cell therapy approaches. Dr Tiscornia is also interested in the related concept of transdifferentiation, an approach where reprogramming  techniques are used to induce direct cell phenotype transitions without passing thorough an intermediate pluripotent state. In particular, he will be focusing on direct transdifferentiation of adult human cells to the pancreatic beta cell lineage, an approach aimed at developing cell therapy treatment for diabetes.


Project Grants

Project leader

The High Q Foundation, (2004) Lenti-viral delivery of siRNA against Huntington.

Spanish MCyT, (2007) The Role of MicroRNAs in Stem Cell Self Renewal and Differentiation.


Selected Publications (2008-2012)

G.   Tiscornia, E. Lorenzo Vivas and J. C. Izpisúa Belmonte, 2011. Diseases in a Dish: modeling human disease with induced pluripotent stem cells. Nature Medicine Vol.17(12): 1570-1576.

G. Tiscornia, N. Monserrat and J.C. Izpisúa Belmonte, 2011. Modelling Long QT Syndrome in iPS cells: Be still, my beating heart..., Circ. Res. 108: 648-649.

G. Tiscornia and J.C. Izpisúa Belmonte, 2010. MicroRNAs in Stem Cell Function and Fate, Genes & Dev. 2010. 24: 2732-2741.

A. Raya, I. Rodríguez-Pizà, G. Guenechea, R. Vassena, S.Navarro, M. J. Barrero, A. Consiglio, P. Río, E. Sleep, G. Tiscornia, E. Garreta, T. Aasen, A. Veiga, I. M. Verma, J. Bueren and J. C. Izpisúa Belmonte, 2009. Generation of disease-free Hematopoietic Progenitors from Fanconi anemia-specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Nature 460, 53-59.

F. Gonzalez, M. Barragan Monasterio, G. Tiscornia, N. Montserrat Pulido, R. Vassena, L. Battle Morera, I. Rodriguez Piza and , J. C. Izpisua Belmonte, 2009.  Generation of Mouse Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells by Transient Expression of a Single Non-Viral Polycistronic Vector, PNAS 106: 8918-8922.

T. Aasen, A. Raya, M.J. Barrero, E. Garreta, A. Consiglio, F. Gonzalez, R. Vassena, J. Bilić, V. Pekarik, G. Tiscornia, M. Edel, S. Boué and J. C. Izpisúa Belmonte, 2008.  Efficient and rapid generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from human keratinocytes, Nature Biotechnology 26, 1276-1284. (Featured on the cover).




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