Virginia Tajadura


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Personal profile

Research interests

Cancer progression is accompanied by biochemical changes in proteins and by changes in the tumour microenvironment (TME). The tumour microenvironmet comprises other cell types like fibroblasts, immune cells, stem cells or endothelial cells that are part of the tumour mass and the secreted proteins that form the extracellular matrix. This TME supports tumour growth and allows metastasis, the most life threatening event in cancer. We are studying the changes in O-linked glycosylation of proteins expressed by the cancer cells, and the effect they have in:

1- the cancer cell transcriptional program and epigenetic changes

2- their role in cell:cell communication in the TME

3- and in cell:extracellular matrix interactions

Specific changes in O-glycosylation occur early in tumour development and affect most of the proteins that localise to the palsma membrane or are sereted by the cells. Our research shows that, among other effects, changes in O-glycosylation lead to a change in the transcriptional response upon stimulation of growth factor receptors and the differential expression of extracellular signalling molecules that has an effect in the cancer celll environment. Glycomimetic drugs that mimic the interaction of glycans and proeins are effective drugs and some of them are already in clinical trials for the treatment of AML and myeloma. 

We are using a combination of cell, molecular biology and bioinformatic techniques to find biomarkers that can be used in the cliniic:

1- as novel biomarkers for diagnostic or prognosis

2- develop new tumour specific therapies, inlcuding co-adjuvant treatments to target components of the microenvironment or

3- develop gene signatures to stratify patients for treatment acording to their molecular expression signature and associated prognosis.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, “Schizosaccharomyces pombe Rgf3p is a specific Rho1 GEF that regulates cell wall β-glucan biosynthesis through the GTPase Rho1p” , University of Salamanca

Award Date: 1 Jan 2008

External positions

CRUK Visiting Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

1 May 201130 Sept 2011


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