I am a molecular biologist highly interested in studying the molecular mechanisms that govern the biology of cancer. I hold a Bs. In biology (U. Navarra, 1997), a MS and a PhD in molecular biology (U. Cantabria 1998 and 2006). After a 5 year post-doctoral training at the NIH (Bethesda, USA) , I was recruited by IDIVAL (Santander, 2011). Since 2015, I lead my own research thanks to a RyC contract and a PCD_I3 appointment at the UC (Laboratory of Molecular Mechanisms Driving Human Cancer).
In the last 10 years, I have contributed with 28 original research publications (15/28 in 1st decil journals). My scientific trajectory has evolved from the basic field (transcriptional and signaling mechanisms) to translationally-oriented research projects in human cancers with limited survival, that lack markers for diagnosis and/or specific therapy. These aim at identifying specific disease mechanisms with potential implications for precision diagnosis and targeted therapy.
We have obtained funding from 3 FIS projects (PI: JP Vaqué 2013-2022) and two PIEs (2015-2019). Also, we have been funded by Asociación Luchamos Por La Vida (Los Corrales de Buelna, 2013-2020). Our academic activity has enabled the obtention of 5 PhDs and 8 MSs.
MAIN ACHIEVEMENTS: 1. Precision diagnosis and targeted therapy of Cutaneous T Cell Lymphomas (CTCL): An activated network of deregulated signaling mechanisms controls the biology of CTCLs. Of these, mutated PLCG1 activates NFAT via calcineurin (CaN) which constitutes a mayor disease mechanism (Vaqué JP et al. Blood 2014). Also, deregulated JAK/STAT signaling can promote progression towards advanced stages (Perez C. et al. Haematologica 2015, Perez C. et al. BJD 2020 and García-Díaz N. et al. Cancers 2021). Later we discover that PKC-Theta is a mechanistic link between PLCG1-CaN and JAK/STAT signaling, and constitutes a key mechanism controlling CTCL development and dissemination (García-Diaz N. et al. J. of Investigative Dermatology 2022). Finally, we show in a clinical trial (phase II), the activity (ORR, 60%) and safety of topical Pimecrolimus (a specific CaN inhibitor) in CTCL patients at initial stages of the disease (Ortiz-Romero PL. et al. Lancet Haematology 2022). 2. Identification of activated CREB as independent adverse marker for Merkel Cell Carcinoma patients (González-Vela MC and Curiel-Olmo S. et al. JID 2017) 3. Novel approaches for molecular diagnosis and targeted therapy of Advanced Cutaneous Melanoma and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Curiel-Olmo S et al . Oncotarget 2015 and Llerena S and García-Diaz N. Oncotarget 2018). 4. Depicted GNAQ downstream signaling network in Uveal Melanoma (Vaqué JP et al. Mol. Cell, 2013, Feng X. et al. Can. Cell 2014). 5. Transcriptional control of gene expression by MYC independently of MAX (Vaqué JP et al. Mol. Can. Res., 2008). MYC-mediated transcriptional modulation of exacerbated RAS-oncogenic signaling (Delgado MD et al. Oncogene 2000, Vaqué JP et al. JBC, 2004)