team member
Coordinator REDiEX

ICREA Research Professor at
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) & Institut d’Investigació Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP)
Ctra. de Can Ruti. Camí de les Escoles, s/n 08916 BADALONA (Barcelona), Spain
phone +34 690737229, fax +34 93 312 9410, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Brief CV and Research lines

I studied at the University of Georgia where I received my PhD in 1985 followed by two WHO-postdoctoral trainings at the New York University Medical Centre and the Institut Pasteur where I specialized in molecular biology of malaria. Next, I consolidated an interdisciplinary and multi-Centric malaria research group at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 1990, I did a sabbatical year at the Centre for Molecular Biology (ZMBH), University of Heidelberg. In 2007, I joined the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, and this year conjoined the Institut d’Investigació Germans Trias i Pujol. Cornerstones of this research activity are the discovery of the largest multigene virulent family of human malaria parasites involved in spleen immune evasion and the discovery that reticulocyte-derived exosomes from infections act as intercellular communicators and can be used as a novel vaccine and platform against malaria.

My main research area is the biology of Plasmodium vivax, a neglected human malaria parasite responsible for millions of yearly clinical cases. We are presently looking for mechanistic insights of the role of reticulocyte-derived exosomes, nanovesicles of endocytic origin, in signalling the spleen and the bone marrow to unveil molecular basis of anaemia and splenomegaly and to use this information in rationale vaccine development. To pursue spleen studies, we have constructed this organ on-a-chip and are now evaluating its usage in studies of malaria and of other haematological disorders. In addition, we are exploring the use of exosomes as novel vaccines and biomarkers in other human neglected parasitic diseases. Last, we are immortalizing human hematopoietic stem cells to develop a continuous in vitro culture system for blood stages of this malaria species, a major technological key-gap to advance studies of this neglected human malaria.


team member
Affiliation

Departamento de Biología Molecular, CBM-SO, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa

Biosketch

Dr Yáñez-Mó did her PhD work on “The characterization of tetraspanin complexes in intercellular adhesions of endothelial and epithelial cells”. After a stay in Stanford University, she became responsible for setting up the Videomicroscopy Facility at the Hospital de la Princesa, being the first confocal facility in Spain to perform time-lapse microscopy in living cells. Menawhile, along her first postdoctoral period she was involved in a multi-departmental study on the ethiopathology of fibrosis on peritoneal dialysis patients published in The New Engl J Med and giving rise to a patent. Thereafter she joined the CNIC as a Junior Visiting Researcher working mainly on functional association of tetraspanins with proteases. During this period, she collaborated with the IVI (Valencia) to extrapolate the role of tetraspanin adhesion platforms in the process of embryonic implantation. In 2009 she joined the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Princesa and was appointed the Director of Technical Facilities and Young Group Leader at the Hospital Santa Cristina. Maria has recently, became founder member of the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) and of the Spanish Group of Research in Extracellular Vesicles (GEIVEX). She has organized the first GEIVEX Symposium (November 2012) and is currently a Member of the Management Committee in BM1202 European Network on Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease COST ACTION. She has currently published 66 peer reviewed papers, with 57 average citations per paper and an h index of 35.

Research interests

Tetraspanin proteins are known to be engaged in the formation of adherent platfomrs in the plasma membrane. Moreover, they are the most abundant transmembrane proteins expressed on extracellular vesicles (EVs). Our current aim in the laboratory is to use the whole set of tools raised in our lab against tetraspanins and their associated partners to address their functional role in the biogenesis and function of exosomes. This information will be crucial for the optimization of therapies based in the use of these EVs, since it will presumably reveal new mollecular targets to either block their secretion or to diminish their metastasic or angiogenic capacities, or augment their stability and immunoregulator potential.


team member
Affiliation

Ikerbasque Research Professor. Lab.3- Exosomes group. Metabolomics Unit & Platform. CIC bioGUNE, CIBERehd Derio, 48160, Bizkaia SPAIN

Biosketch & Research interests

Ikerbasque Research Professor at CIC bioGUNE (Derio, Bizkaia, Spain) leading the EXOSOMES group of the metabolomics unit and the METABOLOMICS platform of the center. Dr.Falcón is a biologist with strong biochemical and cellular biology backgrounds and wide experience in performing high-content omics-based analyses. During his Ph.D at the Biomedical Research Institute "Alberto Sols" in Madrid, Dr. Falcón carried out an extensive biochemical analysis of the Ycf1 carrier of S. cerevisiae, as model for the study of CFTR protein that is responsible of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) human disease. As postdoctoral fellow in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid participated in the generation of the knockout mouse for the POMT1 gene codifying the O-mannosyltransferase protein 1, an essential enzyme in development, and with implications in muscular dystrophies. As postdoctoral researcher in the Human Genetics Department of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, USA) he focused on the biochemical and functional characterization of proteins associated with the Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) which is caused by defects in the formation of specialized organelles named lysosome-related organelles (e.g. melanosomes, platelet dense granules) using mouse and flies as model organisms. In 2006, he moved to CIC bioGUNE and started the study on EXOSOMES –extracellular vesicles of endocytic origin- as a source for biomarker discovery and a tool for therapeutic applications, and METABOLOMICS as a platform for unraveling markers and metabolic pathways altered in diseases. Thanks to a number of national and international collaborations Dr. Falcon´s group has characterized exosomes secreted by many in vivo and in vitro experimental models of several diseases, as well as from different body fluids and applied “omics” technologies in their study. In addition, identification of MOLECULAR CHAPERONES that increase in vivo stability of proteins implicated in METABOLIC RARE DISEASES-caused by protein miss-folding (e.g. Cystic fibrosis, Porphyries) is a collaborative project in which Dr. Falcon´s group is actively achieving. Currently, he founder member of Spanish association for innovation and investigation on exosomes (GEIVEX) and member of the management committee of the European Network to study Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease (Me-Had).


team member
Affiliation

REMAR-IVECAT Group, "Germans Trias i Pujol" Health Sciences Research Institute (IGTP) & Nephrology Service, "Germans Trias i Pujol" Univ. Hospital (HUGTiP), Can Ruti Campus, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain;

Biosketch

Dr. Francesc E. Borràs graduated in Biology at the University of Barcelona in 1991. His phD studies were supervised by Drs. Antonio Celada and Jorge LLoberas, and focused on cellular and molecular aspects of macrophages. In 1998 he joined the Dept. of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics at the National Blood Service in London (UK) led by Dr. Cristina Navarrete, where he started to work on DC’s biology in tolerance as a post-doctoral fellow. In 2002, he earned a junior “Miguel Servet” researcher position and joined the Immunology lab at the “Germans Trias i Pujol” Research Institute (IGTP), directed by Dr. Ricardo Pujol, where he founded and led the Dendritic Cells´ research group (DCTeam).

After completing the “Miguel Servet” program in 2008, he was further promoted to a Senior Researcher position by the “Instituto de Salud Carlos III” and the “Generalitat de Catalunya” (Dept. of Health), and founded the IVECAT Group at the IGTP. Since 2014, Dr. Borràs is coordinator of the Research Group REMAR (from “Recerca en Malalties d’Afectació Renal”), a research group funded by “Generalitat of Catalonia” (2014SGR804), which includes health professionals with an interest in studying and addressing the problems of kidney diseases.

Over the past 10 years, the group has maintained two lines of research focusing respectively on the induction of tolerance and in extracellular vesicles or exosomes. Dr. Borràs has led and supervised several research projects and doctoral thesis, and participated in the publication of over 50 manuscripts.

Dr. Borràs has been member of the board of the Catalan Society for Immunology (2008-12), assistant professor of Immunology at the UAB (2004-2012) and Chief Editor of “Revista Inmunología” (2010-13).

He is currently member of the Editorial Board of the “Journal of Extracellular Vesicles”, member of ISEV (International Society for Extracellular Vesicles) and joint member of the Management Committee of the COST ME-HAD action (http://www.mehad-cost.eu). Dr. Borràs is also co-founder and vice president of GEIVEX (Spanish Research Group on Extracellular Vesicles, geivex.org) and co-founder of “Innovex Therapeutics”, a spin-off devoted to harness clinical application of extracellular vesicles.

Research interests

Extracellular Vesicles are envisaged as a potential breakthrough in biomedicine. Their role in different aspects of cell biology make them attractive for strategies from biomarker discovery to vaccination. Our current aim in the laboratory is harnessing EVs as feasible biomarkers for pathologies that are currently miss-diagnosed or require invasive techniques for precise diagnosis. Moreover, we also aim to study the interaction/participation and potential role of EVs in the immune response with the aim to induce transplantation tolerance.


team member
Affiliation

Área de Parasitología, Departamento de Biología Celular y Parasitología, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de València, y Unidad Mixta de Investigación en Endocrinología, Nutrición y Dietética Clínica, Hospital Universitario y Politécnico “La Fe”-Universitat de València.

Biosketch

Dr. Antonio Marcilla is Associate Professor of Parasitology, leading a research group studying the role of extracellular vesicles in the host-parasitic helminthes interplay.

He earned his PhD in Pharmacy (Department of Microbiology-UV) in 1991, working on the characterization of cell wall mannoproteins from the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans as target for specific diagnostic, producing several monoclonals, some of them commercialized. As a postdoctoral fellow in the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD, USA) (1993-1995), he was involved in the characterization of protein-protein interactions in signal transduction originated in cancer cells, mainly in basophils, monocytes and macrophages.

Postdoctoral positions in the Instituto de Investigaciones Citológicas de Valencia (1995-1996), (currently Centro de Investigación “Principe Felipe”), and Universitat de Valencia (1996-1998), working on the molecular biology of candidiasis.

Assistant Professor of Parasitology, Facultat de Farmàcia-UV (1998-2002), and Associated Professor (2002). He was positively evaluated as a Full Professor by the Spanish Government (ANECA, 2012).

Since his appointment at the Parasitology Department in 1998, he has been working in Molecular Parasitology, initially on vectors of the Chagas’ disease (producing molecular tools to distinguish triatomine bugs), and later on with parasitic trematodes, as well as the nematode Strongyloides stercoralis. He has been involved in the analyses and molecular characterization of the host-parasitic helminths interphase, using genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches, in order to identify new and specific targets for their control (biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and/or vaccination). He started in 2011 his research in exosomes as a source for those targets. Supervisor of 8 PhD Thesis and more than 20 Master Thesis, he has published 80 peer reviewed papers with more than 1800 cites (h index: 22).

Research interests

Our current interests deal with the characterization of parasite extracellular vesicles (EVs) in parasite-parasite and parasite-host communications, and the study of their applications in control parasitic and non-parasitic diseases.


team member
Affiliation

Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad de Granada, Granada


team member
Affiliation

Centro Nacional de Biotecnología del CSIC (CSIC-UAM), Madrid

Biosketch

Dr. Valés-Gómez has contributed very actively to the definition of the specificity of NK cell cytotoxicity, firstly during her PhD studies at Harvard University (1994-1999), analysing the interaction between different NK cell receptor-ligand pairs at a molecular level and studying their affinity of interaction using SPR (Surface Plasmon Resonance), a novel technology at the time. Later, during a first post-doctoral position at the University of Cambridge (1999-2006), she worked on the activation of human NK cells in the recognition of virally infected cells. A promotion to Senior Research Associate at Cambridge (2006-2010) allowed the start of Dr. Valés-Gómez independent research, focusing in the activating receptor NKG2D and its ligands, as a model of molecules that signal stress to the immune system. In 2010, she joined the Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology as tenured scientist where she leads the “tumour immune activation and evasion” laboratory.

Research interests

The group of Dr Valés-Gómez studies the interaction between immune receptors and their ligands, using as a model the biology of Natural Killer (NK) cells. Recent studies on the biochemical properties and cell trafficking regulation of the NKG2D-ligands have revealed very important features of these families of proteins that contribute to the immune response in cancer and autoimmunity. The new research avenues initiated at the National Centre for Biotechnology have, as main long-term goal, understanding the role of NK cells in cancer recognition. Currently, to follow this objective the group studies two models of human cancer, bladder cancer and melanoma, using both in vitro models and ex-vivo patient samples. We apply a range of biochemical and immunological techniques to understand the differentiation and proliferation of the NK cell compartment in the context of cancer and the changes provoked by therapies. The group is interested in describing the detailed phenotype of NK cells with anti-tumoral capacities and the factors required for their differentiation. In parallel, we study immune modulating molecules secreted by tumours, either soluble or as part of extracellular vesicles, such as exosomes. In this context, we are also interested in developing exosome-based tools for immune modulation and technologies that will permit easier detection of exosomal biomarkers in cancer.


team member
Affiliation

Oncología Molecular, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid

Biosketch & Research interests

Hector did his PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Amparo Cano in Madrid (Spain, Biomedical Research Institute “Alberto Sols”) where he specialized in analyzing Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition Mechanisms. In this lab he described the molecular mechanisms of EMT regulated by Snail transcription factor and Lysyl Oxidase 2 (EMBO J (2005), Nat. Rev Cancer. (2007). They defined a role for beta-catenin in regulating cancer stem cell behavior in skin cancer (Nature. (2008)). Hector joined Dr. Lyden’s laboratory as a postdoctoral associate in 2008 to study the crosstalk between tumor cells and bone marrow derived cells during metastatic progression. His work defined that tumor-secreted exosomes educate bone marrow progenitor cells toward a pro-metastatic phenotype (Nature Medicine. 2012.). In 2013 he was promoted to Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York. He joined the CNIO in 2015 as the group leader of the laboratory of Microenvironment and Metastasis. His current research goals are focused on on understanding the role of tumor-secreted exosomes in the crosstalk with the tumor microenvironment during metastasis. His recent results together with Drs. Lyden and Bromberg demonstrate that tumor-derived exosomes are uptaken by organ-specific cells preparing the pre-metastatic niche influencing metastatic organotropism (Nature Cell. Biol 2015, Nature 2015).


team member
Affiliation

Centro de Biología Molecular “Severo Ochoa” (UAM-CSIC). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Biosketch

Dr. Isabel Guerrero is a senior researcher at the CBMSO since 1989. Earlier in her first postdoctoral stay at NYU Medical Center, Dr. Guerrero worked in the identification of the Ras family oncogenes (K-ras, N-ras) in mouse model systems for carcinogenesis. Next, in another postdoctoral stay at the Imperial Cancer Research Foundation (now Cancer Research UK) she started working in Developmental Biology, and identified Patched as the receptor of the Hedgehog pathway in Drosophila. Both postdoctoral stays highlight her extensive experience in the field of genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms of cell signaling. Currently leads a competitive group as Research Professor of CSIC in the CBMSO in Madrid. Her studies on the mechanisms of cell signaling during development have a great international recognition, having organized several international conferences on Hedgehog signaling pathway and its involvement in the development, maintenance of stem cells and cancer.

Dr. Isabel Guerrero group has significant collaborations with national and international groups. The group has been involved in National and European projects and networks. The principal investigator is a member of EMBO since 1997 and has served on review committees of EMBO from 2008 until 2012. Her research has been published in relevant journals in the field of cell biology and developmental biology.

In her laboratory there have been formed 13 postdoctoral, 10 PhD theses and large number of undergraduate students, and laboratory technicians.

Research interests

Her group is focused on the mechanisms of cell signaling during development with a special focus on the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway. In recent years the group has dedicated more attention to the mechanism of secretion and extracellular distribution of Hedgehog in Drosophila epithelia. This protein is highly modified lipid molecule and yet signals long-range, therefore, it exists for a cellular mechanism that enables its release and movement through the extracellular milieu. The group is currently investigating the hypothesis that Hh to signal in polarized epithelia is transported and released in exovesiculas through specialized cellular extensions or filopodia, exploring the possibility that cell signaling occurs similar to a synaptic process in tissues during morphogenesis. The group is approaching this problem at the genetic, cellular, biochemical level, making use also of mathematical models based on image analysis in vivo.


team member
Affiliation

Departamento Medicina. Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid

Biosketch

Francisco Sánchez-Madrid did his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is Professor of Immunology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, Chief of Service of Immunology and the Scientific Director of the Hospital Princesa Research Institute, Madrid, Spain.

Francisco Sánchez-Madrid has made leading contributions to knowledge about the mechanisms of leukocyte adhesion, polarity, migration and activation. This contribution has pioneered the identification and characterization of the first families of leukocyte adhesion molecules, their physiological role in the control of migration and cellular traffic, and their immense relevance to chronic inflammatory pathologies.

Sánchez-Madrid laboratory research on migration and activation receptors of human leukocytes is documented in more than 390 publications in international journals, including many recent articles in prestigious journals that have to date received more than 24.500 citations.

In the most recent years, his research group has made key contributions to understanding the functional relevance of the supra-molecular organization of leukocyte and endotelial nanoplatforms connected to cytoskeleton in the regulation of cell-to-cell communication in the immune system and the mechanisms of transfer of genetic information by exosomes.

Sánchez-Madrid’s leadership capacity is demonstrated by the fact that more than fifteen of the select group of investigators trained in my lab are now university professors and research group leaders in their own right in national and international centres. Finally, Sánchez-Madrid has consistently shown his commitment to the management and promotion of scientific research in Spain and Europe. He has served as President of the Immunology Commission of the Spanish Health Research Fund (Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria; FIS, 1998-2000), Coordinator of the National Biomedicine Plan (Plan Nacional de Biomedicina, 2001-2005), and Member of the Evaluation Panel LS6 of European Research Council for Young Investigator Grants (2007-2010).



Top