Cristiana Ulpiano

Class 2019


PhD thesis

Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC)-derived extracellular vesicles for the delivery of RNAi to modulate angiogenesis in malignancy



• Gabriel A. Monteiro, Professor @ IST/ULisboa, PT • Cláudia L. da Silva, Professor @ IST/ULisboa, PT


Proposal summary

Gene and cell therapy studies continue to advance, aiming at developing novel medicines for a broad range of diseases, including cancer. Angiogenesis is a vital process during tumour development, being a promising target for therapeutic strategies. Recent evidence indicates that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) may regulate the tumour microenvironment namely by using the multidirectional communication system established by extracellular vesicles (EVs). Therefore, MSC-derived EVs, featuring low immunogenicity and the ability to cross biological barriers, may constitute a promising vehicle for drug delivery in cancer therapies. In this project, MSC-derived EVs will be modified using direct and indirect methods, through their complementation with RNAi molecules targeting the expression of key players in Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) regulatory pathway. Throughout this work, efforts will focus on developing a well-characterized collection of MSC-derived EVs capable of diminishing angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo, and consequently a promising cell-free cancer therapy.


Poster Communications Ulpiano, C., da Silva, C.L., Monteiro, G.A.,“RNAi as a tool to inhibit the angiogenic potential of human Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells in malignancy”, MicroBiotec’19 Congress, December 5-7, 2019, Coimbra, Portugal



• General Doctoral Training (6 ECTS)

• Advanced Experimental Techniques and methodologies (6 ECTS)

• Bioentrepreneurship (6 ECTS) • Nanobiotechnology (6 ECTS)

• Outreach and Teaching Skills – Department of Bioengineering (6 ECTS)

• Advanced Topics in Bioengineering and Biosciences (6 ECTS)

Advanced courses: 10th Course on Animal Cell Technology organized by the European Society of Animal Cell Technology, performed in virtual mode, from 21st to 25th September 2020.