Miguel Juliá Molina

  • IBBTEC. C/ Albert Einstein 22, PCTCAN, 39011 Santande​r
  • miguel.julia@unican.es
  • 942 206799 ext. 25910
  • Tumour Microenvironment
  • Developmental Biology
  • Department of Cell & Molecular Signalling

​Math major at the University of Salamanca in 2013, Master in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the National School of Health in 2014, and PhD in Computational Biology at the University of Kent in 2019. He was a predoctoral researcher at the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (Switzerland) and at the University of Kent (United Kingdom), and bioinformatic technician and later postdoc at the Carlos III Health Institute.

At all stages of his career, he focused on the analysis of biological data related with health and development. Starting at SIB, where he worked on the study of immune system cell differentiation process after HIV infection by using single-cell RNAseq data. Subsequently, he developed his thesis at the UKC focusing on the importance of genomic variations in the development and prognosis of neuroblastoma and the pathogenicity of Ebola Virus in humans, through the study of genomic sequencing data. During his time as a technician in the ISCIII's Bioinformatics Unit, he worked on the analysis of omic data for hospitals and researchers in the health system, in particular analyzing exomes and human genomes for rare disease diagnosis, and bacterial and viral genomes for solving epidemic outbreaks. Later, as a postdoc researcher in the Department of Environmental Toxicology of the National Center for Environmental Health of the ISCIII, he worked on the design of human biomonitoring studies for the evaluation of exposure and characterization of the risk in populations derived from environmental contamination; he has also performed statistical analysis of exposure data from human health studies, as well as the development and implementation of statistical analysis protocols for the priority substances of the European project HBM4EU.

He is currently part of the laboratory of Dr. Marian Ros, where he studies developmental and evolutionary genomics on the genes involved in the formation of dorso-ventral differentiation of limbs by analyzing omic data.

​​​Tumour Microenvironment

Research lines

  • Non-cancerous cells and matricellular molecules within the tumour, collectively defined as the tumour microenvironment, participate in many hallmarks of cancer. The Tumour Microenvironment Team investigates the multicellular context of solid tumours to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating cancer progression and dissemination. The ultimate goal of these studies is to yield important insights into cancer biology leading to improved strategies for cancer therapy. To achieve this, we collaborate with academics, clinicians and engineers in a multidisciplinary approach, integrating experimental cancer models, murine and patient-derived material, complex in vitro and in silico systems and high throughput genomics and bioinformatics. 
  • Cytoskeletal regulators of cancer dissemination. Our team is interested in understanding why and how cancer cells spread through the body. Using state-of-the-art in vitro approaches and pre-clinical models, we study the reciprocal interactions between invading/metastatic cells and their microenvironment, and the molecular rearrangements that promote efficient metastatic behaviours in cancer cells, with a particular emphasis in the modulation of the cytoskeleton.

  • Mechanisms of stromal reprogramming in cancer. We investigate the environmental cues (chemical or physical) and signals from malignant cells that lead to the emergence of tumour-promoting phenotypes in otherwise normal cells of the tumour microenvironment, with a particular focus in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF). Using molecular and bioinformatics tools, we examine patterns of gene expression and signal activation in cancer stroma. We then investigate the effect of reciprocal interactions between cancer cells and normal cells in these patterns, their relevance in tumoural processes and strategies to perturb them to deter tumour progression.

  • Characterisation of the role of CAF heterogeneity in tumour progression. We have developed in vitro and in vivo systems to investigate CAF behaviour, their contribution to the hallmarks of cancer (e.g. cancer cell growth, invasion, angiogenesis, immune suppression), and the molecular mechanisms controlling them. However, there is molecular and functional heterogeneity within the CAF population, which has a major impact in tumour evolution and therapeutic response. Our team aims at examining this diversity and its contribution to metastatic dissemination and resistance.  


  • “Harnessing Stromal Fibroblasts to Reduce Resistance and Improve Colon Cancer Therapeutics” | ERC Consolidator Grant 2021 (101045756) | 2022-2027 | IP: Fernando Calvo.
  • “Microscopy platform with super-resolution and high content analysis (HCA) capabilities” | MINECO – Infrastructure and Equipment Call (EQC2021-007003-P) | IPs: Ignacio Varela, Piero Crespo, Maria Angeles Ros, Fernando Calvo, Juan Carlos Acosta. 
  • ​"Silencing the pro-tumor crosstalk between cancer-associated fibroblasts and the tumor microenvironment in colorectal cancer” | Proyectos de Generacion de Conocimiento (PID2021-128107OB-I00) | 2022-2025 | IP: Fernando Calvo.​​
  •  “Multidisciplinary dissection of the chemotherapy resistance mechanisms in triple negative breast cancer: A step towards improved clinical care” | AECC – Coordinated Projects 2021 (PRYCO211372RODR) | 2021-2025 | IPs: Angel Nebreda, Ignacio Varela, Juan Miguel Cejalvo, and Fernando Calvo. 
  • "Targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts using HDAC inhibitors to improve therapies for breast, ovarian and colon cancers" | LAB AECC 2019 (LABAE19044CALV)| 2020-2023 | PI: Fernando Calvo
  • "Cortocircuitar el microambiente tumoral para entorpecer el desarrollo de cánceres agresivos" | BBVA Leonardo Awards 2019 (IN[19]_BBM_BAS_0076) | 2019-2021 | IP: Fernando Calvo
  • "Identification and characterization of strategies to modulate cancer-associated fibroblasts to deter tumour progression (STOPCAF)" | Proyectos de I+D+i RETOS INVESTIGACIÓN-MINECO - RTI2018-096778-A-I00 | 2019-2021 | PI: Fernando Calvo.
  • Ramon y Cajal Research Fellowship | Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (RYC-2016-20352) | 2018-2021 | PI: Fernando Calvo.
  • Contrato Ramón y Cajal | Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (RYC-2016-20352) | 2018-2023 | PI: Fernando Calvo.
  • Collaborative Agreement The Institute of Cancer Research - CSIC | The Institute of Cancer Research, UK | 2018-2020 | IP: Fernando Calvo.
  • "Investigating the physical and biological determinants of cancer cell extravasation" | Multidisciplinary Project Award (C57744-A2367) | Cancer Research UK | IPs: Fernando Calvo y Emad Moeendarbary (Imperial College London, UK) | 2017-2021.  
  • "Investigating the role of stromal Dkk3 in breast cancer progression and metastasis" | Worldwide Cancer Research (Ref 15-0273) | 2015-2018 | IP: Fernando Calvo. 
  • "Functional characterization of breast cancer-associated fibroblasts" | CRUK Postdoctoral Fellowship | Cancer Research UK | 2010-2013 | IP: Erik Sahai.

Studentships to my team

  • “Mechanical Regulation of CAF epigenome” | Ignacio Marina (internship) | CSIC – JAE-Intro at IBBTEC, Spain | 2021-2022. 
  •  “Role of stromal HSF1 in tumour progression by cancer-associated fibroblasts” | Beatriz Rodríguez | Universidad de Cantabria – PhD Studentship at IBBTEC, Spain | 2021-2025.  
  • “Investigating the crosstalk between CAFs and macrophages in cancer” | David García (internship) | CSIC – JAE-Intro at IBBTEC, Spain | 2020-2021. 
  •  “Epigenetic reprogramming of CAFs” | María Subijana (PhD) | Proyectos de I+D+i RETOS INVESTIGACIÓN-MINECO – FPI/PhD Studentship  at IBBTEC, Spain | 2020-2024. 
  • “Investigating the role of stromal HSP90 in shaping aggressive tumour microenvironments” | Silvia Dominguez (PhD) | AECC-Cantabria at IBBTEC, Spain | 2020-2023. 
  • “Role of HSP90 in tumour progression by cancer-associated fibroblasts” | Guillermo Iborra (PhD) | Universidad de Cantabria – IBBTEC, Spain | 2019-2022 | Granted – the candidate turned it down for personal reasons. 
  • "Investigating the role of stromal IGFBP5 in breast cancer progression, dissemination and therapeutic resistance" | Maria Semiannikova | The Institute of Cancer Research, UK | 2017-2021. 
  • "Role of Borg proteins in cancer cell invasion and metastasis" | Aaron Farrugia (PhD) | The Institute of Cancer Research, UK | 2014-2018.

Fernando Calvo González (IP)

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Catalina Capó Serra

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Patricia Carnicero Jiménez

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Diane Coursier

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Silvia Domínguez García

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Francesca Nonatelli

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Carmen Pérez López

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Javier Rodríguez Martínez

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Beatriz Rodríguez Ortiz

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María Subijana Fernandez de Larrinoa

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