- Senior Researcher of VHIO´s Stem Cells & Cancer Group
I majored in Biological Sciences at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, in 2004. After that I carried out my PhD at Translational Research Laboratory in the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO-IDIBELL), Barcelona, under the supervision of Dr.Ramon Alemany and supported by an IDIBELL fellowship (2006-2009). My PhD research project focused on promoting the expansion of suicide gene-modified tumor cells to enhance prodrug-converting gene therapy in mouse models of pancreatic and colorectal cancer. In addition to my main project, I worked closely with other team members on engineering oncolytic adenovirus to treat cancer. These studies resulted in a total of six published original research papers, two of them as a first author (Mol Cancer Ther 2009 and Hum Gene Ther 2009).
In 2010 I started my postdoctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (USA), under the supervision of Dr. Khalid Shah and supported by a Fulbright fellowship from Ministerio de Educación of Spain (2012-2013). My research was based on understanding resistance of malignant brain tumors to different cytotoxic therapies and developing novel stem cell and viral based therapies targeting these tumor types. My postdoctoral research in USA resulted in a total of seven published peer-review articles and one letter to the editor. Part of these studies were published as a first author (Molecular Therapy 2015 and Stem Cells 2013) and summarized in a recent first author review (J Clin Invest 2019). Besides of scientific publications, my research paved the way for bringing therapeutic MSC-TRAIL-TK to clinics. Dr. Shah is now prepared to submit an investigational new drug application (IND) to obtain approval for Phase 1 studies.
In 2015 I moved to the Stem Cells and Cancer Group headed by Dr. Hector Palmer at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and supported by Beatriu de Pinós postdoctoral fellowship (2015-2017) and granted as Principal Investigator with a Marie Curie Action grant from European Commision (2017-2019). As senior postdoctoral scientist I focused on modulating oncogenic Wnt/b-catenin pathway in mismatch repair deficient hypermutant tumors and studying the relationship between Wnt signaling and immune infiltration (manuscript in preparation). Moreover, I have also worked on describing the sequential acquisition of genetic alterations that drives MMR deficient cells to colorectal cancer malignancies using 3D organoid cultures derived from normal human colon tissue knocked out for MMR genes by CRISPR genome editing technologies.
In addition, I have had the opportunity to contribute on the project leaded by Dr. Puig describing the effect of TET2 on controlling the survival of slow-cycling cancer cells and tumor recurrence and becoming an expert in cancer cell dormancy (J Clin Invest 2018). Following our promising results on tumor cell dormancy, during last year, I have developed a screening strategy to decipher new genes involved in tumor cell dormancy using inducible CRISPR/Cas9 transcriptional activation libraries.
During my scientific career I have supervised and co-direct PhD and master students and started a group of internal seminars called Benchstorming Seminars at VHIO.
My scientific production so far has led to 15 articles, 4 of them as first author, 1 first author review and one letter to the editor, all of them published in high-ranking journals.