skip to content
Development Fund: Sandovici

CRISPR/Cas9 Training

Dr Ionel Sandovici (Obstetrics & Gynaecology)

Funding round: 2020–2021

What is your research about?

I study tissue-specific actions of imprinted genes (such as Igf2 – insulin-like growth factor type 2 – and miR-483), which are expressed in a parent-of-origin-specific manner, in development and metabolism. I have a special interest in understanding at molecular level how imprinted genes regulate the communication between the growing fetus and its placenta and the signalling between the endothelial cells lining feto-placental vasculature and the underlying trophoblast cells, especially in late stages of gestation. I’m also interested in understanding the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the so-called “nutritional programming” of adult diseases, a phenomenon by which suboptimal diet during critical periods of development (e.g. pregnancy) is associated with a higher risk for metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, in later life.

What is your chosen development activity?

I am very grateful that the Cambridge SRI has chosen to fund my application to the Development fund, which will cover the fees for my enrolment to the CRISPR course organized by CamBioScience.

How will this benefit your research?

I will learn key skills on how to design and generate bespoke ex vivo and in vivo models in the mouse, which will be key in addressing my scientific questions regarding the cross-communication between placental endothelial and trophoblast cells. In the future, I will use the new skills on CRISPR-based epigenomic editing and CRISPR manipulation of the 3D genome to uncover the role of promoter-enhancer interactions in feto-placental vasculature development. I will integrate the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in new project proposals for up-coming master and PhD studentships that will become available in our group. I will be their day-to-day trainer, thus allowing the efficient transfer the newly gained skills and knowledge to a new generation of future researchers.


Ionel Sandovici is a Research Associate in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. His research focusses on the role played by imprinted genes in placenta development and the impact of sub-optimal diet during critical periods of development on epigenetic regulation of gene expression, with consequences for higher risk of metabolic diseases in later life.