I received my M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry in 2007, and my Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 2011, both from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2012, I moved to Italy to take up a postdoctoral position in the Department of Oncology at the Mario Negri Institute, in Milan. In 2015, I started a second postdoctoral research at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), in Bellinzona, Switzerland. I joined Dr. Stefano Campaner’s group in December 2019. My current research project at IIT focuses on understanding genetic factors that are critical to maintain genome stability in cancer cells and in devising therapeutic strategies based on the selective destabilization of cancer cells genome.
Oncogenes are able to highjack normal cells transforming them into tumor cells by driving their uncontrolled growth. In doing so, oncogenes fail to properly activate safeguarding mechanism that are meant to correct potential errors in the execution of cellular programs. This creates inherent weak-spots in tumors cells which we are trying to identify in order to design targeted therapies. c-Myc is one of these oncogenes, frequently found deregulated in human cancers. In particular, it is a transcription factor acting as a master regulator of genes involved in cell cycle progression, cell growth, differentiation, metabolism and apoptosis. Both in vitro and in vivo models indicate that its overexpression is associated with the activation of the DNA damage response (DDR) and that c-Myc-driven cancers prone to experience ramping genomic instability. In this context, I am studying c-MYC-regulated genes that we have found to be required to properly coordinate oncogene-driven transcription and DNA replication, by focusing on two aspects:
- the implementation of Next Generation Sequencing methods to derive a genome wide map of DNA breaks when transcription collides with DNA replication.
- Utilize genome editing technologies based on CRISPR/Cas9 to engineer genetic models of cancer for the study of genome instability.