Education & Training

VHIO-organized events: exchange and debate of latest discovery to spur progress against cancer

Cancer Therapeutic Resistance - Progress and Perspectives.
The Biocat and Obra Social ”la Caixa” B-Debate, 07 – 08 April 2016


Left to right: Joaquín Arribas, Co-Chair (VHIO), Albert Barberà, Director of Biocat, Jordi Portabella, Director of the Research and Knowledge Area of the Fundació Bancària ”la Caixa”, Miguel Angel Pujana, Co-Chair (ProCURE, ICO).

Co-Organized by the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), the Program Against Therapeutic Resistance (ProCURE), and VHIO, Cancer Therapeutic Resistance: Progress and Perspectives, 07 – 08 April 2016, celebrated at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum of the Fundació Bancària ”la Caixa” in Barcelona, provided unparalleled opportunity to discuss and debate the very latest insights aimed at tackling the major obstacle in combating cancer: resistance to anti-cancer therapies.

Thanks to the co-chairmanship of Miguel Angel Pujana (ProCURE, ICO) and Joaquín Arribas (VHIO), coupled with an outstanding panel of world-class speakers, participants and speakers alike exchanged expertise and explored experiences from a variety of different perspectives at preclinical, translational, and clinical research levels.

This two-day meeting highlighted both the opportunities and current challenges surrounding novel strategies and approaches that promise to overcome drug resistance and counteract tumor cell spread factors through the development of more effective and precise targeted therapies.

Just some of the many must-have conversations centered on and around the application and extension of immunotherapies to different tumor types, the cancer genome and epigenome and how latest data is being applied to advance cancer detection, monitoring and therapy, as well as current therapeutic strategies matched to molecular subtypes of disease and new avenues for molecularly targeted therapy against metastatic disease.

The meeting also updated on the latest translation of cancer 'omic' intelligence into accelerated development and application of personalized cancer medicine, explored current preclinical models and programs that track cancer progression and predict response to anti-cancer drugs, and delivered insights into the development of therapies and approaches targeted at CSCs in order to better forecast outcomes and checkmate therapeutic resistance.

In short, this first-class B-Debate meeting tiggered the many must-have conversations in our collective and determined efforts to reverse cancer drug resistance.

To view the meeting report online visit:

Towards Predictive Cancer Models, 26 – 27 May 2016: empowering predictive cancer models by pooling knowledge and sharing perspectives


Symposium Organizers and Co-Chairs: VHIO's Laura Soucek and Joaquín Arribas

Supported by an educational grant from the Fundació Bancària ”la Caixa”, VHIO organized a two-day International Symposium aimed at empowering predictive cancer models by exploring the most relevant and recent advances in predictive cancer science: Towards Predictive Cancer Models, 26 – 27 May 2016, Barcelona.

Co-chaired by Joaquín Arribas, Director of Preclinical Research at VHIO, and Laura Soucek, Principal Investigator of VHIO's Mouse Models of Cancer Therapy Group this meeting par excellence convened internationally acclaimed experts within the field to share, debate and exchange the very latest data, discuss how best to report, validate and share results, and roadmap next directions in building on the undeniable progress marked to-date by each model under the lens throughout the course of the Symposium.

During the meeting, some of the most important talks also focused on future study design, explored the 'tried, tested and validated' of a variety of modelling systems and combined approaches across various tumor types, and delivered cutting-edge data coming from within the 'stable' of novel contenders - organoids and PDX models. Additional conversation centered on how data from preclinical models can be complementary to tumor genetic testing and thus push the boundaries of sequence-based approaches.

By illustrating how current efforts aimed at advancing today's array of modeling systems are providing increasingly more predictive data as well as better evidencing reproducibility in science before moving to the clinic, this Symposium represented an important forward step in progressing prediction science against cancer.


As a reflection of the scientific program of excellence, Nature Reviews Cancer sponsored two poster prizes that were awarded to the top two posters – selected among some 50 accepted abstracts. The prize winners were Daniel Massó Vallés, VHIO's Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group, and Irene Gutierrez Perez, the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante (Alicante, Spain).

To consult the Meeting Report published in Drugs Today, please see: Cancer Therapeutic Resistance: Progress and Perspectives (April 7 – 8, 2016 – Barcelona). Hutchinson E; Pujana MA; Arribas J. 2016. Drugs Today (Barc). 52: 347-354.

VHIO´s ad-hoc Courses, Workshops & Observerships

Based on specific lines and research areas that continue to position VHIO as a leading international reference, we share our expertise, learn from eminent guest speakers, discuss and debate our latest findings through the organization of VHIO ad-hoc courses and workshops as well as VHIO Faculty presenting at International cancer conferences of excellence.

Exchanging latest discovery in cancer science and medicine, VHIO organized and hosted a total of 29 Courses, Workshops, Observerships and Perceptorships in 2016.

CML Up To Date (PDF)

Dates: 4 February
Coordinator: Coordinator: Dr. Guillermo Orti Pascual

Preceptorship en Síndromes Linfoproliferativos B (PDF)

Dates: 11 – 12 February
Director: Prof. Francesc Bosch

Conceptos Actuales de Inmuno-oncología Clínica y Traslacional (PDF)

Dates: 15 – 16 February
Coordinators: Dr. Jordi Rodón/Dr. Juan Martín-Liberal

Sesión de Expertos en Cáncer de Colon, Cérvix y Ovario (PDF)

Dates: 8 – 11 March
Coordinators: Ana Oaknin & Cristina Nadal

Medical Education Program: Cervical Cancer (PDF)

Dates: 14 – 15 April
Coordinator: Ana Oaknin

Preceptorship en Síndromes Linfoproliferativos B (PDF)

Dates: 21 – 22 April
Director: Francesc Bosch

Curso Avanzado sobre el Manejo del Cáncer del Pulmón (PDF)

Dates: 28 – 29 April
Director: Enriqueta Felip

Towards new horizons in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (PDF)

Dates: 19 - 20 May
Program Director: Josep Tabernero

II Curso-Taller para Pacientes con Cáncer de Mama (PDF)

Dates: October 2015 – June 2016
Course Coordinators: Eva Muñoz & Vanesa Ortega

Obeservership: Síndromes Linfoproliferativos

Dates: 15 – 17 June, and 28 – 30 September
Course Director: Francesc Bosch

Curso de Cáncer de Pulmón (PDF)

Dates: 17 – 19 October
Course Director:Enriqueta Felip

Towards New Horizons in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (PDF)

Date: 25 October
Director: Josep Tabernero

Curso de Genética Aplicada a la Oncología de Precisión (PDF)

Dates: 7 - 8 November
Course Coordinators: Jordi Rodón, VHIO’s Principal Investigator of the Early Clinical Drug Development Group, and Ana Vivancos, VHIO’s Principal Investigator of Cancer Genomics Group.

Preceptorship en Síndromes Linfoproliferativos B (PDF)

Dates: 15, 16, 17 & 18 November
Director: Francesc Bosch

Neuroendocrine Tumors Preceptorship (PDF)

Dates: 17 – 18 November
Chairs: Eric Baudin & Jaume Capdevila

Quarta Actualizació en Tractament Antitrombòtic (PDF)

Date: 23 November
Organizing Committee: Amparo Santamaria Ortiz, Verònica Pons Escoll, Pavel E. Olivera Sumire, Tania Canals Pernas, Erik Johansson

II Inmuno-Oncología Nuevo Paradigma en el Tratamiento del Cáncer (PDF)

Dates: 29 November
Directors: Enriqueta Felip, Joan Carles, Eva Muñoz

Conceptos Actuales de Inmunonocología Clínica y Traslacional (PDF)

Dates: 12 – 13 December
Coordinator: Juan Martín Liberal

Preceptorship en síndromes linfoproliferativos B (PDF)

Dates: 12 – 13 December
Director: Francesc Bosch

Benchstorming Seminars


Launched in February 2016 by co-Chairs and Founders Verónica Rodilla and Jordi Martínez Quintanilla, Post-Doctoral Fellows of VHIO´s Growth Factors and Stem Cells & Cancer Groups respectively, our series of Benchstoming Seminars represent an excellent educational opportunity for junior faculty at VHIO to both present and exchange on and around their respective research interests across VHIO´s various research programs.

Not only do our young researchers learn more about their other colleagues and research lines currently underway, they can also express their ideas surrounding a given topic presented at each seminar; the specially crafted informal format favors free thought, flow, and interaction between the speakers and participants.  

In 2016, a total of 16 researchers presented, discussed and ´benchstormed´ their research areas as follows:

  • Date: Thursday 4th February 
  • Speaker: Verónica Rodilla, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Studying the consequences of killing senescent cells at different 6me points of tumor development in vivo

  • Date: Thursday 18th February
  • Speaker: Jordi Martínez Quintanilla, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Stem Cells & Cancer Group, PI: Héctor G. Palmer 
  • Talk title: Therapeutic inhibition of the oncogenic Wnt/β-catenin pathway in mismatch repair deficient hypermutant tumors

  • Date: Thursday 3rd March 
  • Speaker: Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Peptomyc S.L 
  • Talk title: Pushing Myc inhibition to the clinic

  • Date: Thursday 17th March 
  • Speaker:  Albert Gris, Graduate Student, Experimental Therapeutics Group, PI: Violeta Serra
  • Talk title: PI3K blockade reverses primary resistance and adaptation to Eribulin treatment in PIK3CA mutant breast cancer tumors

  • Date: Thursday 14th April 
  • Speaker: Mariano F. Zacarías, Postdoctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group, PI: Laura Soucek
  • Talk title: Targeting Myc in Melanoma

  • Date: Thursday 12th May 
  • Speaker: Estefania Cuesta, Predoctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Stem Cells & Cancer Group, PI: Héctor G. Palmer
  • Talk title:  Molecular mechanisms responsible for cancer cell dormancy

  • Date: Thursday 2nd June 
  • Speaker: César Serrano, Medical Oncologist, VHIO´s Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Targeting heterogeneity in imatinib-resistant GIST patients

  • Date: Thursday 16th June 
  • Speaker: Mercè Juliachs, Postdoctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Tumor Biomarkers Group, PI: Josep Villanueva
  • Talk title: Extracellular SOD2 is induced by the tumor microenvironment and mediates tumor migration in invasive breast cancer cell lines

  • Date: Thursday 30th June 
  • Speaker: Faiz Bilal, Graduate Student, VHIO´s Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Exploring the mechanisms of resistance to MEK inhibition in pancreatic cancer

  • Date: Thursday 22nd September 
  • Speaker: Toni Jauset, Graduate Student, VHIO´s Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group, PI: Laura Soucek
  • Talk title: Investigating the therapeutic potential and mechanism of action of Omomyc-based Myc inhibition in lung cancer

  • Date: Thursday 6th October 
  • Speaker: Oriol Arqués, Post-Doctoral Fellow
  • Talk title: Therapeutic inhibition of WNT and NOTCH pathways in colorectal cancer

  • Date: Thursday 20th October 
  • Speaker: Irene Rius, Graduate Student, VHIO´s Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Functional characterization of HER3 mutations in human cancers

  • Date: Thursday 3rd November 
  • Speaker: Daniel Massó Vallés, Graduate Student, VHIO´s Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group, PI: Laura Soucek
  • Talk title: Inhibiting Myc and Myc dependent inflammatory response as cancer therapies

  • Date: Thursday 17th November 
  • Speaker: Elena Senís, Postdoctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group, PI: Maria Abad 
  • Talk title: A toolbox to induce dedifferentiation and its application in cancer

  • Date: Thursday 1st December
  • Speaker: Beatriz Morancho, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas 
  • Talk title: Immunotherapy to treat cancer

  • Date: Thursday 15th December 
  • Speaker: Marta Castroviejo, Graduate Student, VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group, PI: Violeta Serra
  • Talk title: RAD51 as predictive biomarker of response to PARP inhibition