Ignacio Pérez de Castro (Iñaki)
PhD, Tenured Scientist & Group Leader
During my scientific career, I have participated in different biomedical ventures. Back in the 90’s, at the UAM, I worked in the identification of new genes associated with psychiatric disorders as well as in the search of new tumor suppressor genes. During my post-doc at NYU, I actively worked in the discovery of ras signaling from endomembranes and the description of specific roles of N-ras in T-cell function. From 2004 to 2016, I focused my activities mainly on the Aurora kinases’ field. Using mouse models for Aurora kinases A and B and Tpx2, I investigated the role of these mitotic regulators in embryo development and normal physiology of adult mammals as well as their potential as targets for anti-tumoral therapies. During this period, I also participated in the search for new microRNAs involved in cancer and cell cycle regulation. Since March 2016, I lead the Gene Therapy group at the ISCIII working on chromosome instability and cancer and the implementation of CRISPR mediated technologies on the treatment of orphan tumors and rare diseases.
PhD, Senior Researcher
(Fundación Andrés Marcio)
I studied Biology at the Autónoma de Madrid University (UAM), in the biochemistry and molecular biology specialty. During my studies, I was collaborating with the Human Molecular Genetic unit at the UAM. I did my PhD (FPI fellowship) in molecular virology, studying the morphogenesis of the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV), in the lab of Dr. Mª Luisa Salas. During this time I learned all about inducible recombinant virus, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology. Also during my phD I have been in the EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany), in the lab of Dr.Gareth Grifftiths, during a short-time, to learn how to do immnunolabeling and criosection for electronic microscopy. After defend my phD, I moved to the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) for a postdoctoral stay in the lab of Protein Technology to develop recombinant antibodies and its uses in imaging in vivo for the early detection of bladder cancer. During this time, I also learned about proteomics, such as SILAC and its uses for labeling and quantification of proteins. Later I join to the lab of Epithelial Cell Biology, to study the role of p120-catenin, an adhesion protein, implicated in cell migration, tissue repair and regulation of inflammation. Along this years, I got a Juan de la Cierva fellowship and an AICR fellowship. Since March 2016, I joined to the Gene Therapy lab, at the Rare Disease Institute in the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, under the supervision of Dr. Ignacio Perez de Castro and the supporting of Andrés Marcio Foundation. During this time I´m working in the use of the gene editing technology CRISPR to use this approach as an advance therapy in the Laminopathy, a rare disease characterized by alteration in the nuclear lamin due to mutations in the Lamin A gene.
PhD, Senior Researcher
Graduated in Biology at the Salamanca University in 2000, to pursue my PhD studies, I joined Dr Mariano Barbacid’s lab in Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO). Initially, I became interested in understanding the molecular bases of the cell cycle during the G1/S transition in both normal and tumoral contexts, a process tightly regulated by Cdk2 and its Cip/kip inhibitors. Along the following years in the lab, my interest focused on exploring the therapeutic value of different interphase Cdks in the treatment of NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) that led to the identification of a novel synthetic lethal interaction between Cdk4 and oncogenic K-Ras . After receiving my PhD degree in Molecular Biology (April 2007, UAM), I stayed in Mariano Barbacid’s lab during 1 additional year as a postdoctoral fellow. Then I moved to Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas “Alberto Sols” to continue my postdoctoral training supervised by Prof. Amparo Cano from 2009 to 2016. There, I actively participated in the design and development of different genetic mouse models to study the in vivo function of Loxl2, a member of the Lysyl oxidase family, in several normal and pathological scenarios. We found that in vivo targeting of Loxl2 in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and mammary tumors provides significant therapeutic benefits in a process involving Notch signaling and premetastatic niche formation, respectively. At the end of 2016 I was awarded with an AECC grant and joined Dr Ignacio Perez de Castro’s group placed into Instituto de Investigación de Enfermedades Raras (IIER) where I will develop my scientific career in the next years working on chromosomal instability.
PhD, Senior Researcher
I did my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the University Complutense of Madrid. Although my research began in the field of Diabetes, my incorporation in the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) in 2004 was crucial to guide my future research career in the field of Oncology. For six years I participated in several projects funded by Eli Lilly, where the main objective was to find and validate new therapeutic targets with relevance in Oncology. After this period, I joined the Clinical Research Group on Breast Cancer carrying out translational studies related to antiangiogenic drug resistance in breast cancer. Thanks to the eleven years of professional activity at the CNIO, I’ve acquired extensive knowledge in numerous experimental approaches in the field of molecular and cellular oncology as well as in the use of cellular and animal models for the translational study of tumor pathologies. At the end of 2015, I incorporated to the Research Foundation HM Hospitals. In this new stage, under the direction of Drs. Ignacio Pérez de Castro and Jesús García-Donas, I am focused on the study of two types of rare tumors, ovarian granulosa cancer and cancers associated with mutations in SDHB, using advanced methodologies in gene edition and generation and analysis of cellular models from patient samples.
During my studies at CIPFP Mislalta I won the IX Junior Prize for Initiation to Research, awarded by the Spanish Association of Laboratory Technicians (AETEL). During my internship at La Fe Hospital (Valencia) I worked mainly in the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and various chromosomal abnormalities. Since July 2016 I work as a laboratory technician within the Gene Therapy group of ISCIII in the application of CRISPR technology for the treatment of rare diseases.
I studied biology at the Rey Juan Carlos University. During the degree, I collaborated in activities to support the research activity in the fields of cell biology and environmental toxicology. In the last year of my degree, I carried out the Final Degree Project, evaluating cell death during the rehydration of a lichen specie. At the same time, I was doing practices in the Gene Therapy Unit of the Rare Diseases Research Institute, where I participated in the Advanced Therapies for the Treatment of Laminopathies project. During my stay in this laboratory, I participated in the generation of a genetic editing tool to obtain a cellular model of the disease. I was also actively involved in the phenotypic and genotypic characterization of the generated mutant lines, a study which I carried out my Master Final Project, under the supervision of Dr. Ignacio Pérez de Castro. Since July 2018, I obtained a contract as a Senior Graduate and I am working on the use of gene editing for the treatment of a type of laminopathy.
Summer Student (2018)