Aitor Aguirre

Portrait photo of Aitor Aguirre

Office: 517-353-7072
Lab: 517-353-7071
View publications on MSU Scholars
Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Divison


Aitor Aguirre is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He joined MSU from the University of California, San Diego, where he focused on large-scale metabolomics and functional genomics applied to human cardiac regeneration, development and disease states.

Dr. Aguirre obtained his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of the Basque Country, Spain. He obtained his Ph.D. in Material Science and Tissue Engineering at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia and the Technical University of Catalonia. He subsequently worked at the Salk Institute as a postdoc in 2011, where he made seminal contributions to our understanding of the genetic mechanisms of cell dedifferentiation, cardiac regeneration, and human development.

The Aguirre Lab

Research in the Aguirre Lab focuses on investigating cell plasticity and tissue remodeling in health and disease. We use a combination of zebrafish genetics, human stem cells, biochemistry, functional genomics, metabolomics, and tissue engineering approaches to dissect signaling pathways and understand how the cardiovascular system develops, ages and responds to injury or disease states. This information will allow us to better understand and treat congenital and pediatric disorders and will be critical to developing new regenerative medicine therapies to promote tissue regeneration and slow down the aging process.

Human stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes are powerful tools for the study of human cardiovascular disease in a dish, as well as models for understanding human development, cell dedifferentiation and cardiomyocyte responses to injury. In the picture, we can see the final stages of an efficient derivation of human cardiomyocytes from induced pluripotent stem cells (Red: Nuclei, Green: sarcomeres)

Zebrafish is a popular vertebrate development model due to its many advantages: external fertilization, large number of eggs, easy handling and availability of well-developed genetic tools.

Embryonic vascular tree of a transgenic reporter zebrafish line. These transgenic lines, together with cardiac reporter lines, allow us to study the development of the cardiovascular system in vivo in real time.