LEAD RESEARCHERS

Dr. David Warburton


Professor David Warburton is a world leader in child health and regenerative medicine. Born and medically educated in London, at Harvard and Brown, he has made a broad translational impact in pediatrics. His major contributions range from clinical studies establishing management practices of extreme prematurity, to infants of diabetics, to basic mechanisms of organ morphogenesis, repair and regeneration. He is thus a seminal figure in neonatal- perinatal medicine, developmental biology, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. His most highly cited work established and leads the field of molecular embryology of the lung, showing how growth factors and matrix molecules direct formation and repair of the gas exchange surface.

Active UK collaborations include Liverpool, Cardiff and London, supported by UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, MRC, BBSRC and build on his NIH and CIRM funded programs. He mentors UK Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows (Basic Science and Clinical), supported by funders ranging from MRC and Wellcome Trust to Royal College of Surgeons of England. An elected Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Physicians as well as Paediatrics and Child Health, he regularly gives keynotes at major US and world scientific meetings as well as teaching in Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham and London. In Los Angeles, he hosts UK and other foreign scientific delegations including the Ministers of Science, Heads of Welsh and Scottish Parliaments, Lords Mayor of Manchester and London and HRH Prince Andrew. His personal contribution and enthusiastic support for UK/US Science collaboration has been recognized by several awards including, in 2009, the Order of the British Empire. His commitment to the development of science for human benefit is evident from his many scientific and clinical discoveries, his personal mentoring through to his public advising.

 

Dr. Roger De Filippo


Dr. Roger De Filippo is an Associate Professor of Urology at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and attending surgeon in Pediatric Urology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Before joining the faculty at USC, Dr. Filippo completed both a research and clinical fellowship in tissue engineering and pediatric urology at the Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School. De Filippo heads the GOFARR Laboratory for Organ Regenerative Research and Cell Therapeutics in Urology at the Saban Research Institute, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Using techniques in tissue engineering, stem cell research, and regenerative medicine, Dr De Filippo and his team of researchers are actively pursuing novel therapies in many areas of disease conditions but especially in acute and chronic kidney disease. Please see links for academic bio: chla.org/urology or pediatricurologyla.com.

 

Dr. Laura Perin


Dr. Laura Perin is an Assistant Professor at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. Before joining the faculty at USC she was a research fellow at Harvard School of Medicine, where she obtained her PhD, and a postdoctoral fellow at Children Hospital of Los Angeles. She is a recipient of many intramural and extramural awards including CIRM, American Urology Foundation, Alport Foundation, etc. Her research focuses on the application of human and mouse amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSC) in animal models of acute and chronic kidney, pancreas and lung. In addition, Dr. Perin is investigating the mechanism of action of stem cells and how AFSC provide organ protection thorough their modulatory effects.

 
 
 

LABORATORY STAFF
 

Dr. Stefano Da Sacco


Dr. Stefano Da Sacco is a Post Doc Fellow at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2006, after graduating in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Padova (Italy), Dr. Da Sacco joined the GOFARR Lab where he worked as a research scholar and obtained his PhD in Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering in collaboration with the University of Padova (Italy) and the University of Southern California. While at Children’s Hospital, Dr Da Sacco was awarded of intramural and extramural funding including CIRM and NIH. His current work focuses on the study of renal progenitor cells from human amniotic fluid and their ability to differentiate into functional podocytes, cells that are essential for blood filtration within the kidney.

 

Dr. Sargis Sedrakyan


Sargis Sedrakyan is a Post Doc Fellow working at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/USC under the mentorship of Dr. Roger De Filippo and Dr. Laura Perin. He is a recipient of The Saban Research Institute pre-Doctoral award and the CIRM training grant for investigating the role of amniotic fluid stem cells in pathophysiology of renal chronic inflammation and fibrosis. He is particularly interested in the mechanisms of chronic kidney disease progression and is currently investigating the renoprotective role of amniotic fluid stem cells in chronic renal model of Alport Syndrome.

 

Dr. Valentina Villani


Valentina Villani is a Postdoc Fellow at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She joined the GOFARR Lab under the supervision of Dr. De Filippo and Dr. Perin in 2010 during her PhD program in Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering with the University of Padova (Italy), where she was awarded an international exchange program fellowship. As a PhD student she studied the application of stem cells from amniotic fluid for the treatment of diabetes, one of the leading causes of kidney disease. Her current research interest focuses on the establishment of a pancreatic progenitor cell line from amniotic fluid that can be differentiated to functional insulin-producing cells.

 

Astgik Petrosyan


Astgik Petrosyan is a PhD student at University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Program in Biomedical and Biological Sciences, and has worked at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles since 2009.  Her research interest focuses in the application of amniotic fluid stem cells (AFSC) for kidney regeneration. Astgik is the recipient of the USC Diploma in Innovation grant towards research in the application of amniotic fluid cells and extracellular matrix under the supervision of Dr. Laura Perin at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

 

Maria Lavarreda-Pearce


Maria Lavarreda-Pearce joined the GOFARR Lab in 2013, after obtaining her Bachelors of Arts degree in Biology from California State University Northridge (CSUN). Her current research focuses on the study of kidney progenitor cells from human amniotic fluid, which have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into functional podocytes. Maria is a recipient of NIH Underrepresented Minority Grant, CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research Award and Research Internship in Science and Engineering from German Academic Exchange Service Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) during her undergraduate studies.

 

Nikita Tripuraneni


Nikita Tripuraneni joined the GOFARR lab in 2013 after obtaining her Master in Molecular Biology and immunology from the University of Southern California. For her masters thesis her research was conducted at the Eli and Edythe Broad center of Regenerative Medicine at USC where she studied bone healing. She is currently working as a Lab Manager/ Research Specialist and her current research focus is kidney repair and regeneration.

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