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Cristian Bellodi Group

RNA and Stem Cell Biology

Our research

Ribonucleic acid or RNA, one of life's indispensable molecules, governs the flow of the genetic information within cells. Our laboratory focuses new facets of gene expression control in stem and cancer cell at a molecular, cellular and organismal level. Using hematopoiesis as a model system to study stem cell function, we combine innovative genetic models with state-of-the-art genome-wide sequencing, mechanistic and structural approaches to investigate the function of RNA epigenetic modifications, noncoding RNAs and RNA binding proteins during development and tumorigenesis.

Pseudouridine-modified small noncoding RNAs modulate protein synthesis rates in human hematopoietic stem cells.
Pseudouridine-modified small noncoding RNAs modulate protein synthesis rates in human hematopoietic stem cells. This post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism is essential to accurately balance cell growth and differentiation (Guzzi et al., Cell 2018).

Lab Mission

Our mission is to explain at the molecular level how RNA modification and processing regulate fundamental steps of normal and malignant hematopoiesis.

Main research lines

  • Uncover the biological role of RNA epitranscriptomics in stem cells during normal and malignant hematopoiesis
  • Determine the oncogenic programs driving aberrant mRNA splicing in human cancers
  • Unravel how small noncoding RNAs impact the stem cell proteome during embryogenesis and in disease

Lab Vision

The mechanisms that direct genetic information at the post-transcriptional level during development and tumorigenesis are still largely unresolved. We are fascinated by evidence that evolutionarily conserved RNA modifications, noncoding RNAs and RNA binding proteins provide new regulatory layers of gene expression control in space and time. We are excited about the opportunity to combine cutting-edge sequencing and biochemical methodologies with genetic systems to provide molecular explanations for how RNA "specialization" impacts the function of hematopoietic stem and cancer cells.


By uncovering novel RNA-based regulatory pathways in cancer, our work has broad implications within different strategic research areas including RNA and cancer biology, aging and regenerative medicine. The long-term goal is to translate our basic discoveries into novel therapeutic strategies for targeting key nodes of gene expression frequently altered in human cancers.

Selected Publications

  1. Phung B*, Ciesla M*, Sanna A, Guzzi N, Beneventi G, Ngoc PTC, Lauss M, Cabrita R, Cordero E, Bosch A, Rosengren F, Häkkinen J, Griewank K, Paschen A, Harbst K, Olsson H, Ingvar C, Carneiro A, Tsao H, Schadendorf D, Pietras K, Bellodi C#, Jönsson G# The X-linked DDX3X RNA helicase dictates translation re-programming and metastasis in melanoma *Co-first authorship. #Co-senior and corresponding authorship. Cell Reports 2019 Jun 18;27(12):3573-3586e7.
  2. Guzzi N, Ciesla M, Ngoc PCT, Lang S, Arora S, Dimitriou M, Pimková K, Sommarin MNE, Munita R, Lubas M, Lim Y, Okuyama K, Soneji S, Karlsson G, Hansson J, Jönsson G, Lund AH, Sigvardsson M, Hellström-Lindberg E, Hsieh AC, Bellodi C. Pseudouridylation of tRNA-Derived Fragments Steers Translational Control in Stem Cells. Cell 2018 Apr 4. pii: S0092-8674(18)30288-5.
  3. Bellodi C*, McMahon M*, Contreras A, Juliano D, Kopmar N, Nakamura T, Maltby D, Burlingame A, Savage S, Shimamura A, Ruggero D. H/ACA small RNA Dysfunctions Reveal Key Roles for Noncoding RNA Modifications in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Differentiation. *Co-first authorship. Cell Reports 2013 May 30;3:1493-1502.
  4. Jack K*, Bellodi C*, Landry DM, Niederer RO, Meskauskas A, Musalgaonkar S, Kopmar N, Krasnykh O, Dean AM, Thompson SR, Ruggero D, Dinman JD. rRNA pseudouridylation defects affect ribosomal ligand binding and translation fidelity from yeast to human cells. *Co-first authorship. Molecular Cell 2011 Nov 18;44(4):660-6.
  5. Bellodi C, Kopmar N, Ruggero D. Deregulation of p53 translational control in X-linked Dyskeratosis Congenita. EMBO Journal 2010 Jun 2;29(11):1865-76.
Page Manager:

Cristian Bellodi

Cristian Bellodi

PhD, Associate Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)46 222 30 54
Email: cristian [dot] bellodi [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Lund University Research Portal

Group Members

Maciej Ciesla
MD, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow
maciej [dot] ciesla [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Roberto Munita
PhD, Postdoctoral fellow
roberto [dot] munita [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Sowndarya Muthukumar
PhD, Postdoctoral fellow
sowndarya [dot] muthukumar [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Phuong Cao Thi Ngoc
PhD, Computational biologist
sowndarya [dot] muthukumar [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Giulia Beneventi
PhD student
giulia [dot] beneventi [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Nicola Guzzi
PhD student
nicola [dot] guzzi [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Magdalena Madej
PhD student
magdalena [dot] madej [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Helena Fritz
Research Engineer
helena [dot] fritz [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Álvaro Sejas Martinez
Laboratory Assistant
alvaro [dot] sejas_martinez [dot] 6534 [at] student [dot] lu [dot] se

Visiting address

Division of Molecular Hematology
Lund Stem Cell Center, Lund University
Klinikgatan 26
SE-221 84 Lund

Room: BMC, B1224b

Molecular Hematology
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
Lund University
Box 117
SE-221 00 LUND

E-mail & phone: info [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se  +46 (0)46 222 0000