I graduated with a degree in Biology from the Universidad de Sevilla in 1998, and started my research training in the Cell Biology Department. After a brief period at the Center for Molecular Biology (CBM, CSIC-Univ. Autonoma de Madrid) in Madrid, I started my PhD work in 2000 at the Center for Cancer Research in Salamanca (CSIC-Univ. de Salamanca), under the supervision of Prof. Pedro A. Lazo. My PhD thesis is related to the characterization of the VRK1 human protein kinase as an important mediator during cell proliferation and a modulator for the p53 tumour suppressor.
Between 2005 and 2011 I worked with Prof. Anne J. Ridley in London, first at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and later at King’s College London. During that period I specialized in the study of cell adhesion, motility and invasion controlled by the Rho family of GTPases and the ROCK kinases, with the goal of gaining new insights into the cancer metastasis process. I also acquired expertise on siRNA, image-based functional screenings and live microscopy.
From 2011 I worked as a senior research associate in the laboratory “Pathophysiology of neural stem cells”, directed by Dr. Ricardo Pardal at the Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla, IBiS (Univ. de Sevilla-CSIC-Consejería de Salud). There I explored the cellular signaling that connects cell migration and stemness in aggressive neuroblastoma.
As an Assistant Professor on the Dpt. of Cell Biology, Universidad de Sevilla (from 2017), I pursue independent research projects related to Rho GTPases signalling in cancer and continue collaborating with Dr. Ricardo Pardal at IBiS, as well as with different international research laboratories. In particular I am developing a project on drug and target discovery and validation for the treatment of pediatric tumours together with the UC San Diego in California, USA, where I have spent 18 months as a visiting research scholar (2015-2016). I am also involved in teaching activities at the University of Seville at the graduate and postgraduate level.