Cecilia Sahlgren is a part-time Associate Professor at the TU/e department of Biomechanical Engineering (research group Soft Tissue Engineering & Mechanobiology) and Professor of Cell Biology at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. Her research aims at understanding the basic molecular principles of signaling mechanisms regulating cell fate choices of stem cells in cardiovascular tissue engineering. Another important goal is to develop technology to specifically monitor and tune these signals at will in specific cell populations, in order to steer stem cell fate and curtail disease activities. The specific focus of her research is on the role and regulation of the evolutionary conserved Notch signaling pathway, a key regulator of stem cell function. 

The main objectives are: 1) to understand how the cellular microenvironment influences Notch signaling activities and how this impinges on cell identity and function 2) to understand how Notch activity in stem cells influence remodelling of the environment  and 2) to develop technology platforms to regulate Notch signaling in engineered tissues and probes for cellular and molecular imaging.

Increased knowledge of these processes can provide insights into regenerative processes and has the potential to find applications in material based stem cell therapy. Specific projects are focusing on Notch signaling in cardiovascular tissue and on directing engineered tissue fate by modulating Notch signaling.


Cecilia Sahlgren obtained her PhD at Åbo Akademi University (Turku, Finland) focusing on the role of intermediate filaments as signaling orchestrators in cell fate decisions. From 2005-2008, she was a postdoc researcher at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology of the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden). She then returned to Finland to establish the Cell Fate Lab at the Turku Centre for Biotechnology, a joint department of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. In 2013, she moved to the Department of Biomedical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, The Netherlands), first as assistant professor and subsequently as associate professor. In 2016, she again returned to Finland to become Professor of Cell Biology at Åbo Akademi University but kept her affiliation to TU/e, now as a part-time professor. In 2017, she was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant to investigate the interplay between blood flow and cell signaling, and to clarify their effects on the architecture of blood vessels in the ForceMorph project.

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