Maria Elena Torres-Padilla and her team combine high resolution microscopy, single cell omics and cell biology approaches to uncover the origin of stem cells and the epigenetic principles that control cellular plasticity. 


Prof. Dr. Maria Elena Torres Padilla

Since 2016
Director Institute of Epigenetics & Stem Cells
Professor, Chair of Stem Cell Biology at the Faculty of Biology Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Group leader at the IGBMC, Strasbourg 

Since 2012
Directeur de Recherche at INSERM 

Co-Director of the Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Department, IGBMC 

Coordinator of the Nuclear Dynamics & Signalling Programme, IGBMC 


HDR (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches): Université Louis-Pasteur, Strasbourg

Ph. D. degree, Degree obtained with honors : Mention ‘Très honorable avec les Félicitations du Jury’. Institut Pasteur/University of Paris V.
Thesis entitled "Etude de l’expression et de l’activité transcriptionnelle des isoformes de HNF4a, récepteur nucléaire essential pour la différenciation hépatique"

Licenciatura Degree in Biology, Degree obtained with honors. Faculty of Sciences. National University of Mexico (UNAM). Mexico. Gabino Barreda Award.
Thesis entitled « Pharmacological and functional characterization of B2-Bradykinin receptor in Rat1 fibroblasts. » 

Magna Cum Laude. Instituto Miguel Angel, Mexico.


Canifarma Prize. Instituto Politecnico Nacional de México

Gabino Barreda Award. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México 

Since 2003
Member of the Faculty of Biology, University of Cambridge

Royal Society, Conference Award

Prize Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM) Alsace

Elected RISE1 Member of EpiGeneSys Network of Excellence

EMBO Young Investigator

Prix de la Fondation Schlumberger pour l’Education et la Recherche

Prix Fondation Université de Strasbourg-Cercle Gutenberg

Elected EMBO Member

Selected as Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum

German Stem Cell Network Female Award


Selected Publications

Heterochromatin establishment during early mammalian development is regulated by pericentromeric RNA and characterized by non-repressive H3K9me3

Burton A, Brochard V, Galan C, Ruiz-Morales ER, Rovira Q, Rodriguez-Terrones D, Kruse K, Le Gras S, Udayakumar VS, Chin HG, Eid A, Liu X, Wang C, Gao S, Pradhan S, Vaquerizas JM, Beaujean N, Jenuwein T, Torres-Padilla ME.
Nature Cell Biology  22(7):767-778.

More Details

Genome-lamina interactions are established de novo in the early mouse embryo

Borsos M*, Perricone SM*, Schauer T, Pontabry J, de Luca KL, de Vries SS, Ruiz-Morales ER, Torres-Padilla ME§ ‡,  Kind J §.  Nature 569:729-733.     

 * equal contribution; § co-corresponding authors; lead contact

More Details

A molecular roadmap for the emergence of early-embryonic-like cells

Rodriguez-Terrones D, Gaume X, Ishiuchi T, Weiss A, Kopp A, Kruse K, Penning A, Vaquerizas JM, Brino L, Torres-Padilla ME.

Nature Genetics 50(1): 106-119.

More Details

LINE-1 activation after fertilization regulates global chromatin accessibility in the early mouse embryo

Jachowicz J, Bing X, Pontabry J, Boskovic A, Rando O, Torres-Padilla ME. Nature Genetics49(10):1502-1510

More Details

Early embryonic-like cells are induced by down-regulating replication-dependent chromatin assembly

Ishiuchi T, Enriquez-Gasca R, Mizutani E, Bošković A, Ziegler-Birling C, Rodriguez-Terrones D, Wakayama T, Vaquerizas JM, Torres-Padilla ME. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology22(9):662-71.

More Details

Higher chromatin mobility supports totipotency and precedes pluripotency in vivo

Boskovic A, Eid A, Pontabry J, Ishiuchi T, Spiegelhalter C, Ram EVSR, Meshorer E, Torres-Padilla ME. Genes & Development28(10):1042-7.

More Details

Chromatin signatures and retrotransposon profiling in mouse embryos reveal regulation of LINE-1 by RNA

Fadloun A, Le Gras S, Jost B, Ziegler-Birling C, Takahashi H, Gorab E, Carninci P, Torres-Padilla ME. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology20(3):332-8.

More Details

Live visualization of chromatin dynamics using fluorescent TALEs

Miyanari Y, Ziegler-Birling C, Torres-Padilla ME. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 20(11):1321-4.

More Details

Heterochromatin formation in the mouse embryo requires critical residues of the histone variant H3.3

Santenard A, Ziegler-Birling C, Koch M, Tora L, Bannister AJ, Torres-Padilla ME. Nature Cell Biology12(9):853-62.


More Details