I am a Senior Scientist at CIEMAT, and I work in the Molecular Oncology Unit, which is a CIEMAT-Hospital Research Institute 12th October. Also, I belong to the group of Tumor Progression Mechanisms of the CIBERONC of the ISCIII.
I got my PhD in the Center of Molecular Biology "Severo Ochoa" (CBMSO) in 1996, in the program of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Autonomous University of Madrid. During this period and the subsequent 5 years I acquired knowledge and exhaustive experience in technologies and methodologies to decipher, among others, the mechanisms of gene expression regulation of gene promoters of the African swine fever virus, in the laboratory of Dr. Eladio Viñuela. The main achievement was the creation of a vector system for inducible expression for functional analysis of viral genes, which is still used today (J Virol 1998).
In 2001 I started a 3 year postdoctoral stay in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Storey of Cancer Research UK (CRUK, London) where I worked with oncogenic subtypes of human papillomavirus (HPV). An important milestone was the demonstration of invasive stromal capacity of cells infected with HPV in 3D models (Cancer Res 2005).
In 2004, I started working at CIEMAT with Dr. Jesús M. Paramio on molecular mechanisms and transgenic models of epithelial carcinogenesis, including those based on deregulation of the PI3K / Akt / mTOR, p53, and pRb pathways. Among the technologies used is the transcriptomic analysis of human tumors and transgenic mice, for i) validation of animal models of cancer, ii) understanding of mechanisms of carcinogenesis, iii) determination of biomarkers of metastatic disease, and iv) description of mechanisms and biomarkers of sensitivity / resistance to treatments. Among the achievements, we should highlight the description of p53-dependent gene expression programs associated with metastatic disease (Cancer Res 2008, Mol Cancer 2010, PLoS One 2012, Sci Rep 2012) (3 patents).
In 2012, I started a 3-year stay at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR) in Switzerland. I worked on mechanisms of oncogenesis in prostate cancer models based on loss of PTEN, a very frequent molecular aberration in this type of cancer (Nature Genetics 2018, Nature Communications 2015, Cell Reports 2014, Nature 2014).
I am currently working i) in the knowledge of the molecular basis of initiation, progression and metastasis of Squamous Head and Neck Cancer (HNSCC) as well as ii) in the design of new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools. We have recently reported alterations in the expression of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in HNSCC (Clin Epigenetics 2017), and we have shown that overexpression of the PIK3CA oncogene is associated with poor prognosis and YAP activation in this cancer (Oral Oncology 2018 ).
I have published 70 scientific articles in international journals. I have participated in 18 granted projects. Currently I am the principal investigator of 2 national research projects at HNSCC. I have taught several seminars as a guest in Universities and Research Centers. I am a visiting professor of different postgraduate courses at several Spanish universities. I am a Consulting Editor of Clinical and Translational Oncology; Scientific Evaluator of several international journals; Scientific Evaluator for the European Commission, ANEP, and international organizations. Member of scientific societies: SEBBM, ASEICA, EACR, and SEV. I have directed 8 Doctoral Thesis / Master's Thesis.