Alexia Gali, our SECRET-ITN ESR from Greece, has successfully defended her PhD thesis

24th May 2023

The online doctoral defense of Alexia Gali, the ESR hosted by the beneficiary PAO in Greece, has defended her work and obtained her degree from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). Her direct supervisor, Prof. Leonidas Alexopoulos, also a professor at NTUA, was leading the examination, together with several local and international committee members. Two of the SECRET consortium members, Prof. Connie Jimenez (VUMC), Prof. Monilola Olayioye (USTUTT) and Prof. apl. Angelika Hausser (USTUTT) were also a part of the committee.

The work has also been submitted as a manuscript titled “Protein Kinase D drives the secretion of invasion mediators in triple-negative breast cancer cell lines” (Authors: Gali, A., Bijnsdorp, I.V., Piersma, S.R., Pham, T.V., Gutiérrez-Galindo, E., Tsolakos, N., Jimenez, C.R., Hausser, A. and Alexopoulos, L.G.) and is currently in peer review process at iScience.

In the picture, Alexia (left) together with the PAO team at her defense celebration dinner.

Exciting News! The first SECRET ESR to defend his doctoral thesis this April!

24th April 2023

Amirabbas Parizadeh, hosted in the Farhan lab at the Medical University of Innsbruck has susscessfully defended his doctoral work focusing on the membrane-trafficking protein TPD52L2 and its role in regulating cell migration and actin cytoskeleton remodeling. His results are expexted to be published soon.

With his SECRET-ITN journey completed, Amirabbas is moving on to new challenges, starting on a postdoctoral researcher position at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in June 2023.

In the picture, Amirabbas (center) together with his thesis defense committee members, his direct supervisor Prof. Farhan (MUI) (left) and external evaluator (apl.) Prof. Hausser (USTUTT) (right).

The SECRET ESRs hosted in Stuttgart were participating in the Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology (IZI) yearly retreat

3rd-4th April 2023

The IZI Retreat 2023, the first in-person institute meeting after the COVID-19 pandemic, was a wonderful opportunity for exchange and discussions with fellow researchers at the University of Stuttgart. The three ESRs hosted by USTUTT presented their exciting results as their projects are reaching final stages.With a focus on breast cancer, the team in Stuttgart is looking into different cancer-related processes, such as metastasis facilitated by epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Another focus is on the factors that shape the tumor microenvironment, in particular by alterations in cytoskeleton remodelling affecting various processes such as cellular secretion, motility, invasion and stemness.

The final SECRET Annual Meeting – a great way to wrap up our network-wide events series!

9th-10th March 2023

The entire SECRET-ITN team has gathered in Amsterdam for the third and final annual meeting, organised by Prof. Connie Jimenez, representative of our beneficiary in Amsterdam, the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (VUmc). We had a rich schedule over the two full days of our event, with all the ESRs presenting an overview of their PhD project work. We also had two exciting keynote speakers, Prof. Karin de Visser and Prof. Roderick Beijersbergen, both group leaders at The Netherlands Cancer Institute.

The “Inflammation and Cancer” group led by Prof Karin de Visser at NCI aims to gain novel mechanistic insights into the way the immune system influences metastasis formation and unresponsiveness to conventional therapies, with a primary focus on breast cancer. She shared some of her group’s exciting work in the keynote talk titled Intertwined Fates: Tumor-Immune Cell Crosstalk in Breast Cancer”.

The research group of Prof. Roderick Beijersbergen focuses on signalling in cancer, using large-scale, genome-wide functional genomic screening for the unbiased identification of cancer-specific targets. His keynote lecture “Identifying novel, effective combination strategies using large scale functional genomics” was addressing the importance of genome wide screens in the understanding of resistance mechanisms, leading to the development of novel (combination) strategies for the treatment of cancer.

It was a great opportunity to exchange results, ideas, suggestions and make plans for future collaborations. With this final conference, we have officially reached an important milestone, the completion of our ESR training plan.

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