LAB MEMBERS

Victoria Sanz Moreno , Lab Head

Vicky Sanz-Moreno received her first degree in chemistry and later a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Oviedo in Spain, followed by a PhD in chemical sciences in the laboratory of Piero Crespo at the University of Cantabria, awarded in 2002. After a short postdoc in the same lab funded by a Lady Tata Memorial Trust Fellowship, she moved to the Institute of Cancer Research in London as a CRUK and Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow to work with Chris Marshall. In 2008, she received the Applied Biosystems and EACR 40th Anniversary Research Award for her work on RhoGTPases and tumour cell plasticity.

In 2011, Vicky started her independent research group with a CRUK Career Development Fellowship at King’s College London in the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics to study Transcriptional Programs in Melanoma metastasis. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the CRUK Communications and Brand Ambassador Prize for communicating science to the public through media work.

In 2017, Vicky was awarded the BSCB Women in Cell Biology Early Career Medal and a CRUK Senior Fellowship to study the role of Rho-kinase in melanoma progression, dissemination and therapy response. In 2018, she was badged Cancer Research UK Werth Trust Fellow.

In 2018, Vicky was promoted to Professor of Cancer Cell Biology and her lab joined Barts Cancer Institute- a Cancer Research UK Centre of Excellence (Queen Mary University of London).

In 2019, Vicky received The Distinguished Alumnus Award from Colegio Inmaculada (Asturias) and Paper of the Year Award at BCI (Georgouli Cell 2019).

In 2021, she was elected by school students to be part of “Ruta de las Cientificas”- a phone App celebrating the achievements of 9 women in STEM.

In 2022, she received the Estela Medrano Memorial Award from the Society for Melanoma Research and the VP Award for Research Excellence from Queen Mary’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.

In 2023 Vicky received the Research Impact Award at Barts Cancer Institute.

Vicky’s group is interested in how ROCK and the actomyosin cytoskeleton cross-talks with transcription factors, and how this communication influences metastatic behaviour in both cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment.

When she is not in the lab, Vicky enjoys listening to music, trying new food and going to the movies / theatre with her family

Eva Crosas Molist, Postdoctoral Researcher

Eva studied a degree in Pharmacy at the University of Barcelona, in Spain, where she started being involved in biomedical research as undergraduate student. Afterwards, Eva joined the lab of Dr Isabel Fabregat, at IDIBELL, where she was awarded a studentship from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain and she obtained her MSc and PhD in Biomedicine (University of Barcelona), studying the role of the NADPH oxidase NOX4 in the physiopathology of the liver.

During her PhD, Eva visited for a brief period the labs of Prof Krause (Switzerland) and Dr Sanz-Moreno (UK), being the latter chosen for her postdoc. Eva was awarded a research associate position funded by Cancer Research UK and later, a postdoctoral fellowship from Fundación Ramón Areces (Spain), to develop her research studying the crosstalk between cytoskeleton and mitochondria during tumour progression and invasion. Outside of the lab Eva loves nature and takes any chance to go for a walk or trekking.

Oscar Maiques, Postdoctoral Researcher

Oscar holds a Biotechnology BsC and a Biotechnology in Health Sciences MSc (Univeristy of Lleida Spain). His PhD in the Oncological pathology group (IRBLleida) was co-supervised by Prof Xavier Matias-Guiu and Prof Rosa M Marti, where Oscar studied the role of T-Type Calcium Channels during melanoma progression and autophagic flux.

Molecular and digital pathology are close to Oscar’s heart as he masters techniques such as Immunohistochemistry and Tissue microarray design that confers a translational impact to life sciences. He is a highly motivated researcher that joined Dr. Victoria Sanz-Moreno’s Lab in 2018. His project will focus on studying Myosin II function during melanoma progression and its cross-talk with inflammatory and immune responses.

Remi Samain, Postdoctoral Researcher

Remi completed Pharmacy studies in Grenoble University (France) and during this time he became interested in research. After a specialization in biotechnologies and innovative therapies in Paris XI University, he joined Corinne Bousquet’s lab in the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse as a PhD student. He obtained a fellowship from the “Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale”, and his work focused on pancreatic cancer therapies, particularly on interactions between cancer cells and tumour microenvironment. In 2019, Remi joined Prof. Sanz-Moreno’s lab as a post-doctoral researcher funded by Barts Charity to bring his expertise in cell&tumour biology of pancreatic cancer. His project will investigate the effects of manipulating the cytoskeleton of stromal and cancer cells in pancreatic tumour progression and metastasis.

Vittoria Graziani, postdoctoral researcher

Vittoria obtained her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in biology at University of Campania, Caserta, Italy. She then joined the laboratory of professor Fiorentino for her PhD, where she isolated, characterised and investigated the effects of small molecules of natural origin exerting anti-tumour effects against colorectal cancer cell models resistant to anti-EGFR therapies. During this period, she participated in a collaborative project between Prof Sasi Conte and Prof Victoria Sanz-Moreno at King’s College London, where she used NMR metabolomics to study metastatic melanoma cells. Next, she joined Prof Arsenian-Henriksson at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) as a postdoral researcher, where she studied MYC-driven medulloblatoma. She joined VSM lab at BCI in 2021, where she focuses on the crosstalk between mechano-sensing and metabolic reprogramming during tumour dissemination. Outside the lab, Vittoria likes hiking, climbing, listening to music, reading and visiting art exhibitions.

Lourdes Chulia, postdoctoral researcher

Lourdes studied Pharmacy at the University of Valencia (UV), in Spain, where she discovered her fascination in biomedical research. She developed a PhD in the lab of Dr Julian Carretero and Javier Pereda in the UV with a University of Valencia “Atracció al Talent” Fellowship. Her research was focused on the role of the enzyme NNMT during fibroblast-myofibroblast transition, senescence and metabolism of fibroblasts isolated from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. During her PhD, she did a short stay at Professor SH. Phan in the University of Michigan. In 2022, Lourdes joined Prof. Sanz-Moreno’s lab as a post-doctoral researcher funded by a “Margarita Salas” Post-doctoral Fellowship from the Ministry of University of Spain to studying the crosstalk between cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs), matrix organization and the acquisition of tumour invasive properties. Her principal aim is to reduce the aggressiveness of melanoma and increase therapy responses. Outside the lab, Lourdes holds a music degree, loves playing the oboe in classical concerts and teaching music to children. She enjoys walking around London and discovering new places.

Paramita Kundu, postdoctoral researcher

Paramita obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the West Bengal State University, India; and moved on to an Integrated Masters-PhD program at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. For her PhD, she explored epigenetic changes in tumor progression in glioblastomas utilizing DNA methylation arrays, apart from looking at similar changes in other disease models such as Oral Submucous Fibrosis. She also worked extensively in characterizing synthetic anti-cancer compounds in collaboration with chemists to understand their biological properties and mechanism(s) of action. In 2022, she joined the VSM lab as a postdoctoral fellow, where she is going to explore the contribution of nuclear-cytoplasmic distribution and traffic of transcription factors that aid the aggressiveness of melanoma and explore possible epigenetic aspects of melanoma initiation and progression. Outside the lab, Paramita loves movies and theatres, travelling, reading, hiking and is interested in arts and culture.

Adrian Varela, Postdoctoral researcher

Adrián obtained his degree in biology in 2014 and his master’s degree in biomedical research in 2015 at the University of A Coruña, in Spain. He also obtained his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology by the University of A Coruña in 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Maria D. Mayán and Dr. Eduardo Fonseca (CellCOM Research Group). He studied the role of connexin43 in tumour progression and drug resistance in BRAF-driven tumours. During his PhD, he did lab visits to the Ramón y Cajal Institute for Health Research, Madrid and to the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology (IECB), Bordeaux. In 2022, he obtained a postdoctoral fellowship from Xunta de Galicia-GAIN and in January 2023 he joined Prof. Victoria Sanz-Moreno’s lab at Barts Cancer Institute (Queen Mary University, London). His project focuses on the crosstalk between the cytoskeleton of cancer cells and their secretory potential during therapy. Outside the lab, he likes music, cinema and festivals. He enjoys organizing dinners and cooking for his friends. He also enjoys hiking trails, going to the gym and gardening.

Jo Monger, Research Assistant

Jo originally studied a BSc in Veterinary Science at the Royal Veterinary College in London, then later developed a passion for Molecular Biology during an MSc in Molecular Medicine at Imperial College. Since then she has become almost a hybrid Research Assistant; equally experienced in running in vivo and in vitro experiments within London Universities. She has spent the past two years within Barts Cancer Institute working within the field of pancreatic cancer. Jo joined the Sanz-moreno lab in 2019 to study the role of the tumour microenvironment in melanoma and pancreatic tumoursusing mouse models. Outside of the lab Jo has piano lessons and enjoys high energy spinning classes with music.

Samantha George, PhD student

Sam obtained her integrated Masters degree in Cell Biology from University College London. During this time, she completed an internship at the Francis Crick Institute working on a project modelling the behaviour of cancer associated fibroblasts. She spent two of her academic years in the Acton Lab at the MRC LMCB, investigating cell spreading and adhesion characteristics in fibroblasts during lymph node remodelling, alongside the role of podoplanin in both invasion and anti-tumour immunity in melanoma. Sam started her 4-year PhD in the Sanz-Moreno lab in 2019 to investigate pathological crosstalk of melanoma cells with immune cells in the tumour microenvironment. Outside of the lab Sam is a keen gymnast and cheerleader who likes to compete in national competitions, alongside travelling and attending music festivals

Jaume Barcelo Perez, PhD student

Jaume obtained his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Biomedical Science at the University of Valencia in Spain including a year abroad at Imperial College in London, where he did his BSc. dissertation in Molecular Dynamics simulation of the calcium-dependent binding of calmodulin and c-Myc and its implications in cancer. He then stayed in London to complete his Masters Degree in Cancer and Molecular and Cellular Biology including his MSc. dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Victoria Sanz-Moreno looking for transcriptomic markers of drug sensitivity to ROCK inhibitors in cancer. Jaume officially joined the lab in 2020 as a Barts Charity-funded PhD student investigating drug sensitivity to cytoskeletal manipulation in cancer. Outside the lab Jaume loves going to music gigs, exploring London, going to pubs and playing the bass.

Josh Martin , PhD student

Josh obtained his BSc in Reproductive Biology from the University of Edinburgh, with a year aboard spent at Queens University, Canada. During his honours year, Josh completed his dissertation by investigating candidate reproductive cancer risk genes in Drosophila. Subsequently, he completed an MSc by research in Biomedical Science at the University of Edinburgh, where he worked on two separate research projects investigating the role of c-Abl in breast cancer and the Hippo pathway in prostate cancer, respectively. He is now undertaking a CRUK funded PhD under the supervision of Professors Vicky Sanz-Moreno and Sussan Nourshargh where he will be investigating how cancer cells hijack immune cell mechanisms to cross endothelial barriers. When not in the lab, Josh is a keen cyclist and skier and also enjoys watching rugby, playing golf, going to the pub with friends and exploring London.

Yumiko Teigen, PhD student

Yumiko obtained a BSc in Natural Sciences (main field: biological sciences) at the Open University. Later she completed an MSc in Cancer, Molecular pathology and Genetics, at Barts Cancer Institute (BCI), Queen Mary University of London. During this time, she completed her lab placement in Dr. Pearce’s lab at BCI, investigating how tumour extracellular matrix modulates macrophage function. She started her 3-year PhD, funded by CRUK, in May 2022. She officially joined Prof Sanz-Moreno lab in September 2022 – her project will focus on how chemotherapy controls Myosin ll function in triple negative breast cancer. Her project will further explore the crosstalk between macrophages and cancer cells during anti-cancer therapies. Outside the lab, Yumiko has obtained a professional diploma in classical ballet at age of 18, and has years of professional work experience in dance industry, both within the UK and Japan. She is a mother of two and loves travelling with her family, and going out for foods and drinks!

PAST LAB MEMBERS

  • Dr Gaia Cantelli
  • Rimple Dalmeida
  • Dr Cecilia Herraiz Serrano
  • Dr Tokuwa Kanno
  • Dr Pahini Pandya
  • Leonie Kohlhammer
  • Yaiza Jung
  • Guang Yang
  • Hoyin Lam
  • Mirella Georgouli
  • Bruce Fanshawe
  • Jose Luis Orgaz Bueno
  • Irene Rodriguez Hernandez
  • Anna Perdrix
  • Laura Stennett

LAB VISITORS

  • Dr Paula Colon Bolea, Francesca Di Giuseppe, Silvia Diez Fernandez, Gemma Ferrer Mayorga, Chu Ting Hine Simon, Rachel Hunt, Na Ra Kang, Cecilia Osorio, Dr Patricia Ruiz Ortanon, Lorea Valcarcel, Dr Angeles Villaronga, Samuel Wallis, Candice Ashmore Harris, Maia Rowe Sampson, Saba Malik, Lena Boheme, Alexander Mastrogiannopoulos, Vittoria Granziani, Oscar Maiques, Nanni Sissaye, Jaume Barcelo Perez, Aroub Mohammed Almaghrabi, Angela Albitre, Rocio Garcia Gomez, Oliver Cameron