Prof. Dr. Maria Elena Torres Padilla
Director of Biomedicine

Maria Elena Torres-Padilla  combines 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. Such insights will enable the generation of high-quality, fully reprogrammed stem cells, vital for the full implementation of regenerative medicine approaches in the clinic. 


Prof. Dr. Maria Elena Torres Padilla

Positions and Career

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

Independent group leader at the IGBMC, Strasbourg
Director of Research INSERM (DR2) position obtained in the Concours de Recrutement 2012

CR1 INSERM position obtained in the Concours de Recrutement 2007

Post-doc , Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Illkirch

2002- 2006
Post-doc, The Wellcome Trust/CR UK Gurdon Institute of Cancer Research and Developmental Biology,  Cambridge, UK

Visitor at the University of California, Riverside

1998- 2002
Ph. D. Thesis, Department of Molecular Biology, Institut Pasteur, Paris

Senior Scientist, Cellular Physiology Institute, National University of Mexico

Project for obtaining degree, Cellular Physiology Institute, National University of Mexico

Undergraduate student, Cellular Physiology Institute, National University of Mexico

Undergraduate student, Department of Immunology,  Biomedical Research Institute. National University of Mexico


Université Louis-Pasteur, Strasbourg,  Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches

Institut Pasteur/University of Paris V. , Ph. D. degree (obtained with honors : Mention ‘Très honorable avec les Félicitations du Jury’)

National University of Mexico (UNAM), Licenciatura Degree in Biology


German Stem Cell Network Female Scientist Award

Selected as Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum

Elected EMBO Member

Prix Fondation Université de Strasbourg-Cercle Gutenberg

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

EMBO Young Investigator

Elected RISE1 Member of EpiGeneSys Network of Excellence                

Prize Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM) Alsace

Royal Society, Conference Award

Gabino Barreda Award. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México

Canifarma Prize. Instituto Politecnico Nacional de México 


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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Live visualization of chromatin dynamics using fluorescent TALEs

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

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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.


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