Launched in 2019, our VHIO –”la Caixa” Scientific Seminars Series educational program welcomes internationally renowned researchers and clinical investigators to VHIO to share, discuss and debate latest insights, discovery and next directions in oncology with our students, postdocs and senior faculty from our preclinical, translational and clinical research groups.
Taking place in VHIO’s state-of-the-art CELLEX Building Auditorium, each seminar consists of a 30-45 minute talk followed by a Q&A round with the audience. Chaired be each respective VHIO host, these expert talks are typically scheduled to take place on Fridays.
Scientific Co-Chairs: María Abad, PI, Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group, Laura Soucek, PI, Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group, and Elena Élez, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Investigator, Gastrointestinal & Endocrine Tumors Group (PI: Teresa Macarulla, directed by Josep Tabernero).
Scientific Coordinator: Josep Maria Miquel, VHIO’s Project Manager (Scientific Coordination Area directed by Alejandro Piris, Scientific Manager).
Speaker: Ángela Nieto, Research Professor, Institute of Neurosciences, Miguel Hernández University (UMH) – Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
Talk title: Epithelial plasticity in health and disease (the Ins and Outs of the EMT).
Date: 20 September.
Co-hosts: VHIO’s Director Josep Tabernero & Josep Villanueva, PI of our Tumor Biomarkers Group.
VHIO-"la Caixa" Scientific Seminar Series 2019
Speaker: Antonio Maraver, Team Leader of the Oncogenic Pathways in Lung Cancer Group, Institute de Research en Cancérologie de Montpellier (ICRM), Montpellier, France.
Talk title: Role of the Notch pathway in lung adenocarcinoma: beyond the KrasG12V mouse model.
Date: 08 November.
Host: Maria Abad, PI, Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group.
Speaker: Justin Odegaard, Vice President of Clinical Development, Guardant Health, Redwood City, California, USA.
Talk title: The current utility and future promise of liquid biopsy.
Date: 21 November.
Co-hosts: VHIO’s Director, Josep Tabernero, and Ana Vivancos, PI, Cancer Genomics Group.
Speaker: Julio Aguirre-Ghiso, Director of Head and Neck Cancer Basic Research, Director of Solid Tumor and Metastasis Research, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine and Otolaryngology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA.
Talk title: Role of adult stem cell niches and primed pluripotency programs in early DCC dormancy
Date: 28 November.
Host: Héctor G. Palmer, PI, Stem Cells & Cancer Group.
Speaker: Nuria López Bigas, Group Leader of the Biomedical Genomics Research Group, Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona – IRB, Barcelona, Spain.
Talk title: Tumor genomes shed light on mutational processes and cancer vulnerabilities.
Date: 13 December.
Host: María Abad, PI, Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group.
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, they can also express their ideas surrounding a given topic presented at each seminar. The specially crafted informal format of these meetings favours free thought, flow, and interaction between the speakers and participants.
As the Benchstormings turned three years old in 2019, Elena Senís, Post-Doctoral Fellow of VHIO’s Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group (PI: Maria Abad) and Benchstorming Co-Chair, announced that Chiara Bellio, Post-Doctoral Fellow of VHIO’s Tumor Biomarkers Group (PI: Josep Villanueva), had taken over the reins from previous Co-Chair Toni Jauset, formerly a graduate student of VHIO’s Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group and researcher at VHIO-born spin-off Peptomyc S.L. We take this opportunity to thank Toni for his hard work and dedication.
In 2019, they organized 16 Benchstorming Sessions during which researchers discussed and ‘benchstormed’ their research areas. Each session is graded by all attendees and one presenter is announced as winner of the best presentation for each season.
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 the following Courses, Workshops, Observerships and Perceptorships in 2019:
VHIO supports and organizes activities to increase public interest in cancer research and promote the important advances reported by our scientists and clinical investigators. These efforts are aimed at patients, youngsters and non-specialized adult audiences to enrich scientific culture as well as promote science as a stimulating career path for young people – the future of our research.
Importantly, some of these initiatives have resulted in considerable funding for research at VHIO. We will continue to identify, lead and participate in all these precious initiatives and launch new ones based on identified opportunities.
In 2019, VHIO led and/or participated in over 40 public outreach events, programs and fundraising initiatives including:
In 2019 VHIO’s education program, Schools and Science, welcomed a total of over 490 under-twelves from 6 local primary schools to meet our faculty, tour our laboratories and learn more about cancer biology and research.
The main objectives of this outreach program are to teach young and inquisitive minds about the importance of research in solving cancer sooner, how we at VHIO conduct our investigation, and to hopefully inspire some to ultimately become the next generation of cancer scientists.
During their half day visits our young visitors participated in junior masterclasses and hands-on activities to explain the origins and development of cancer, led and supervised by VHIO faculty. In view of the tremendous success and excellent feedback received from the students and teachers, we will continue to open our doors to all primary schools who wish to participate in this program, with dates already in the diary for 2020.
Inspired by Daniel Massó Vallés, formerly a Postdoc of our Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group, and now researcher of VHIO spin-off Peptomyc S.L., and Irene Rius, Post-Doctoral Fellow of our Growth Factors Groups, VHIO’s Running for Research (R4R) currently comprises a team of some 20 researchers who are participating in several half and full marathons to mix and mingle with the general public and spread the word about who we are, what we do, and promote the value and importance of supporting cancer research.
Our dedicated runners, who officially enter sports events in the name of VHIO, are kitted out with R4R-branded baseball caps and t-shirts to increase visibility and trigger conversation with fellow runners and other members of the public present.
R4R participated in several ‘runathons’ in 2019, including the 5K and 10K races of the third annual Barcelona-based fundraiser of the Spanish Association against Cancer’s (AECC), Run against Cancer, Move for Multiple Sclerosis - the Granollers half marathon, the Barcelona marathon, the 5k Carrera de las Ciudades against Pancreatic Cancer, and the 12.5K Portlligat trail.
One of our Institutional Supporters and Patrons, the FERO Foundation also promotes the importance of cancer research through the organization of several public engagement and annual fundraising initiatives and events.
As examples in 2019, it organized a ‘swimathon’, Marnaton 4 FERO, to raise money for research led by Héctor G. Palmer (PI of VHIO’s Stem Cells & Cancer Group) into the early detection of cancer recurrence by liquid biopsy. Another FERO crowdfunding initiative surrounded its participation at the 41st Zurich Marató Barcelona, which also counted on several runners from VHIO’s Running for Research team. Funds raised were allocated to support molecular diagnostics at VHIO to help extend the more precise characterization of individual tumors and matching of anti-cancer therapies to an increasing number of patients.