SECRET-ITN seminar – April session (20.04.2021)
As part of the April session, we heard from Monilola Olayioye from the Institute for Cell Biology and Immunology at the University of Stuttgart, and Lina Prasmickaite from the Oslo University Hospital.
Prof. Dr. Monilola Olayioye‘s talk “The YIN & YANG of Rho GTPase Signalling in Tumour Progression” was summarising the lab’s work on Rho signalling, as Rho GTPases play a pivotal role in the regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics associated with diverse cellular processes such as membrane trafficking, cell migration and invasion. Rho signalling is regulated positively by GEF proteins and negatively by GAP proteins. The GAP protein Deleted in Liver Cancer 1 (DLC1) has emerged as an important tumour suppressor, whose downregulation in various types of cancer may be as common as that of p53. The Olayioye lab has shown that DLC1 loss facilitates the aberrant migration of breast cancer cells, whereas DLC3 expression is crucial for the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity and cell-cell adhesions. The group is especially interested in unravelling how specific GEF-GAP networks regulate spatiotemporal Rho signalling and how dysregulation contributes to the metastatic behaviour of cancer cells.
Dr. Lina Prasmickaite from the Gunhild Mælandsmo Lab at the Dept. Tumour Biology, Oslo University Hospital, was discussing “Therapeutic strategies for resistant cancer”. Gunhild Mælandsmo’s group is studying biological and therapeutic aspects of treatment of resistant and metastatic cancer. The goal is to understand the underlying biological mechanisms involved in cancer spreading and resistance and use such information to identify novel targets or biomarkers that could contribute to guiding treatment decisions. In our research we use: i) pre- clinical model systems (in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo) to study molecular determinants and test novel therapies; ii) patient material from clinical intervention studies to unravel novel targets and biomarkers. This talk will address how the phenotypic plasticity and stromal interactions modulate response to treatment, suggesting novel therapeutic opportunities.
Workshop presentations (07.-09.04.2021)
A three day transferrable skills workshop was aimed to boost the presentations of the SECRET ITN ESRs. Dr. Harriefeld organised an interactive and well-structured course, fostering active participation and engagement from the PhD students and paving the way to strong presentations designed to address the right audience.
SECRET-ITN seminar – March session (23.03.2021)
The March session of the SECRET Seminars had talks from our two Freiburg-based PIs, Julia Schüler from our third private sector beneficiary, Charles River Discovery Research Services Germany, and Tilman Brummer from the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Cell Research at the University of Freiburg.
Julia studied veterinary medicine at the Freie Unversität Berlin (Germany) and at the Tierspital Zürich (Switzerland). She then joined the lab of Prof. Dr. Heiner Fiebig, founder of Oncotest GmbH, working on orthotopic implantation of solid cancer PDX in immunocompromised mice. After receiving her PhD from the University of Berlin, Julia joined the Max-Planck Institute for Immunobiology, Freiburg, focusing on Toll-like receptor signaling. She later rejoined Oncotest, now Charles River Laboratories, holding leadership positions in in vivo contract research as well as R&D. Julia is particularly interested in modeling tumor biology, the tumor microenvironment, hematological malignancies, translational biomarker research, immuno-oncology and discovery platform development.Julia’s talk,“A preclinical in vivo platform to develop future treatment options in immuno-oncology”, brought the network a comprehensive overview of the work done at CRDS.
Tilman, giving a talk titled “Targeting the RAS/ERK pathway”, holds a W3 Professorship for Signal Transduction and Medical Cell Research (Heisenberg professorship supported by DFG). His laboratory focuses on intracellular signaling pathways and how their intricate regulation is disturbed in human diseases and is influenced by clinically relevant drugs. The main focus of the work falls on serine/threonine kinase B-Raf, an important oncoprotein and pharmacological target of growing relevance, implicated in cell proliferation, survival and angiogenesis. Currently, Tilman’s group is working on the mechanisms controlling B-Raf activity and how they are disabled by tumor-associated mutations. The Brummer laboratory also investigates how dysregulated RAS/ERK signaling shapes the transformed phenotype of the tumor cell and its microenvironment.