Education & Training

VHIO -”la Caixa” Foundation Scientific Seminars Series

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).

Inaugural Seminar from left to right: Scientific Co-Chairs - Elena Élez, Maria Abad, Laura Soucek, Co-Host - Josep Villanueva, Invited Speaker - Ángela Nieto, and VHIO’s Director, Josep Tabernero.

Inaugural Seminar

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.

Benchstorming Seminars

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.

Current Benchstorming Co-Chairs, Elena Senís (left) and Chiara Bellio (right).

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.


  • Date:  Thursday 10th January
  • Speaker: Diana Reyes Garau, Post-Doctoral Scientist, Experimental Hematology Group, PI: Francesc Bosch
  • Talk title: Characterization of the effects derived from the TCR-Nck interaction inhibition for the treatment of autoimmune diseases

  • Date:  Thursday 24th January
  • Speakers: Marie-Eve Beaulieu, Co-Founder & CSO, Peptomyc S.L., Alba Llop, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO’s Experimental Therapeutics Group (PI: Violeta Serra), Carlos López, Knowledge Transfer Manager at VHIO
  • Talk title: Bringing your great ideas to market

  • Date: Friday 22nd February
  • Speaker: Elena Senís, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group (PI: María Abad)
  • Talk title: PISCIS: a new micropeptide with a role in stem cell differentiation and glioblastoma

  • Date: Thursday 14th March
  • Speaker: Faiz Bilal, Graduate Student, Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Overcoming resistance to targeted therapies in MAPK dependent tumors

  • Date: Thursday 21st  March
  • Speaker: Pol Cusco, Bioinformatician, VHIO’s Gastrointestinal & Endocrine Tumors Group (PI: Teresa Macarulla), Laura Pascual and Gemma Serra, PhD Students, VHIO’s Chromatin Dynamics in Cancer Group (PI: Sandra Peiró)
  • Talk title: ChIP-seq data analysis

  • Date: Thursday 04th April
  • Speaker: Nicolás Herranz, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO’s Prostate Cancer Translational Research Group (PI: Joaquin Mateo)
  • Talk title: Senescence and senolytics in disease

  • Date:  Thursday 02 May
  • Speaker: Jara Palomero, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy Group, PI: Alena Gros
  • Talk title: Characterizing T cell responses in endometrial cancer

  • Date:  Thursday 16 May
  • Speaker: Josep Maria Miquel, Senior Project Manager at VHIO
  • Talk title: Developing successful proposals: It ain’t rocket science

  • Date:  Thursday 13th June
  • Speaker: Alfonso Garcia Valverde, Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Sarcoma Translational Research Group, PI: César Serrano
  • Talk title: KIT downstream pathways, that’s the gist of GIST

  • Date:  Thursday 10th October – Liquid Biopsy Month
  • Speaker: Elena Élez, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Investigator, Gastrointestinal & Endocrine Tumors Group, PI: Teresa Macarulla, directed by Josep Tabernero
  • Talk title: Liquid biopsy in colorectal cancer: moving to the clinic. Are we ready for prime time?

  • Date:  Thursday 24th October – Liquid Biopsy Month
  • Speaker: Laura Escudero, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Gene Expression & Cancer Group, PI: Joan Seoane
  • Talk title: Liquid biopsies in brain cancer

  • Date:  Thursday 7th November – CAR-T Cells Month
  • Speaker: Irene Rius, Graduate Student, Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Understanding the preclinical development of CAR-T cells

  • Date:  Thursday 21 November – CAR-T Cells Month
  • Speaker: Pere Barba, Hematologist and Clinical Investigator, VHIO’s Experimental Hematology Group, PI: Francesc Bosch
  • Talk title: CAR-T cell therapy in hematology: few answers to many uncertainties

  • Date:  Thursday 5th December – Immunotherapy Month
  • Speaker: Ignacio Matos, Medical Oncologist & Clinical Investigator, VHIO’s Early Clinical Drug Development Group PI: Elena Garralda
  • Talk title: Hyperprogressive disease with immune checkpoint inhibitors

  • Date:  Thursday 12th December – Immunotherapy Month
  • Speaker: Andrea Garcia, Graduate Student, VHIO’s Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy Group (PI: Alena Gros)
  • Talk title: Development of personalized minimally-invasive T-cell therapies targeting the tumor mutanome

  • Date:  Thursday 19th December
  • Invited Speaker: Lluc Mosteiro, Genentech, California, USA
  • Talk title: Notch blockade induces dramatic metabolic changes that may reflect a switch of thyroid cell fate or function

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 the following Courses, Workshops, Observerships and Perceptorships in 2019:

Cómo Construir una Unidad de Terapia Avanzada en Hematologia en la Era CAR-T (PDF)

  • Date: 08 January 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Preceptorship on Locally Advanced Melanoma (PDF)

  • Dates: 31 January – 01 February 2019
  • Coordinator: Eva Muñoz Couselo

 

Sisena Actualitazció en Tractament Antitrombòtic (PDF)

  • Date: 13 February 2019
  • Organizing Committee: Amparo Santamaria Ortiz, María Cerdá Sabater, Fernanda Martínez

 

Inmunoterapia y Tratamientos Dirigidos en Cáncer de Pulmón (PDF)

  • Dates: 28 February – 01 March 2019
  • Course Director: Enriqueta Felip

Jornada Formativa: Cómo Construir una Unidad de Terapia Avanzada en Hematologia en la Era CAR-T (PDF)

  • Date: 26 March 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Jornadas para Pacientes de Cáncer de Mama (PDF)

  • Date: 30 March 2019
  • Coordinators: Marta Capelan & Cristina Saura

 

Curso de Formación en CAR-T para Hematólogos desde una Perspectiva Multidisciplinar (PDF)

  • Date: 02 April 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Rotación Sindromes Mieloides (PDF)

  • Dates: 13 – 14 – 15 April 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Actualización en Cáncer Colorrectal (PDF)

  • Dates: 11 – 12 April 2019
  • Director: Josep Tabernero

 

Stage Cáncer de Páncreas (PDF)

  • Dates: 24 – 25 April 2019

 

Sharing experiences: from molecular biology to Clinical management (PDF)

  • Dates: 09 –10 May 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Advanced management of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PDF)

  • Dates: 16 –17 May 2019
  • Director: Josep Tabernero

 

II Reuniones Regionales de GIST (PDF)

  • Date: 16 May 2019
  • Meeting Organizer: César Serrano

 

Gastrointestinal Cancer and Neuroendocrine Malignancies Program (PDF)

  • Date: 21 May 2019
  • Course Directors: Josep Tabernero and Jaume Capdevila

 

Perceptorship Medicina de Precisión y Biomarcadores en Inmuno-Oncología (PDF)

  • Dates: 21-22 May 2019
  • Director: Ana Vivancos

 

Curso de formación presencial en una Unidad de Hemostasis y Trombosis de excelencia (PDF)

  • Dates: 18 – 19 June 2019
  • Director: Amparo Santamaria

 

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

  • Dates: October 2018 – June 2019
  • Course Coordinators:
    • Dra. Marta Capelán, Oncológa
    • Asociación Endavant

Colorectal Cancer Program (PDF)

  • Dates: 01 – 02 July 2019
  • Keynote: Teresa Macarulla

 

Preceptorship Medicina de Precisión y Biomarcadores en Inmuno-Oncología (PDF)

  • Date: 10 July 2019
  • Host: Ana Vivancos

 

Medical Education Programme in Lung Cancer (PDF)

  • Dates: 11 – 12 July 2019
  • Programme Director: Enriqueta Felip

 

Inmunoterapia y Tratamientos Dirigidos en Cáncer de Pulmón (PDF)

  • Dates: 23 – 24 July 2019
  • Course Director: Enriqueta Felip

 

UOC-VHIO Virtual Course: Diagnóstico Hematológico integrado de síndromes mielodisplásicos y leucemias mieloides agudas (PDF)

Program overview (PDF)

  • Dates: 15 October 2018 – 28 June 2019
  • Directors:
    • Julia Montoro Gómez
    • Mayda Navarrete Mora

 

Preceptorship en Leucemia Linfocítica (LLC) (PDF)

  • Dates: 12 – 13 September 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Presente y Futuro de la Terapia con Células CAR-T en Hematología (PDF)

  • Date: 17 September 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Observership Síndromes Linfoproliferativos (PDF)

  • Dates: 25 – 27 September 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Clinical Observation Program for Gastrointestinal Cancer (PDF)

  • Dates: 02 -04 October 2019
  • Co-Chairs: Josep Tabernero & Maria Alsina

 

Highlights in CLL. Sharing experiences: from molecular biology to clinical management (PDF)

  • Dates: 03-04 October 2019
  • Coordinator: Pau Abrisqueta

 

Preceptorship Breast Cancer (PDF)

  • Dates: 16-17 October 2019
  • Coordinator: Cristina Saura

 

EvolutIOn: Otras perspectivas en el tratamiento del cáncer (6ª edición) (PDF)

  • Date: 29 October 2019
  • Coordinators: Enriqueta Felip, Joan Carles, Eva Muñoz, Ricard Mesia

 

Preceptorship en Cáncer Colorrectal: avances clínicos y en investigación (PDF)

  • Dates: 30-31 October 2019
  • Program Director: Josep Tabernero
  • Co-Directors: Jaume Capdevilla & Elena Élez

 

VHIO-AECC Jornada Divulgativa sobre el Tumor Cerebral: una visión integral (PDF)

  • Venue: AECC’s HQ: Sala de Actos de la Sede AECC, Travessera de les Corts, 268, Barcelona
  • Date & Time: 12 November, 16:00-20:00h

 

Cómo Construir una Unidad de Terapia Avanzada en Hematología en la Era CAR-T (PDF)

  • Date: 19 November 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

 

Encuentro multidisciplinar: saquemos punta al manejo de los sarcomas de partes blandas, óseos y GIST (PDF)

  • Date: 20 November, 16h
  • Coordinators: Claudia Valverde (VHIO), Antonio López Pousa (Hospital San Pau)

 

Curs de Formació d’Assaigs Clínics en Oncologia i Hematología (PDF)

  • Dates:
    • 08, 15, 22 & 29 November – 14:00 – 20:00h
    • 09, 16 & 23 November – 09:00 – 15:00h
  • Place: Hospital Universitario Vall d’Hebron

 

Leucemia Linfocítica Crónica (LLC): Últimas Actualizaciones (PDF)

  • Date: 17-18 December 2019
  • Director: Francesc Bosch

Public Engagement & Outreach

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:

  • II Reunión Regional de GIST (II Regional GIST Meeting)
  • 48H Open House BCN – open days for the general public.
  • III Mocador Solidari presentation
  • Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC) conference:
  • El tumor cerebral: una visión integral - An integral vision of brain cancer
  • Carrera por el Càncer de Páncreas - runathon to support research against pancreatic cancer
  • Jarabe y amigos contra el cáncer - Pau Donés’ cancer research fundraising rock concerts
  • El Paseico de la mama – strollathon for breast cancer
  • Festival de la Ciencia (Science Festival)
  • Festival de cine de Alicante (Alicante Film Festival) - Dones en Actiu
  • Marnaton 4 FERO – swimathon organized by the FERO Foundation
  • Pink Run Mir – runathon fundraiser for breast cancer research
  • Una palabra. Una Mujer. Una vida - exhibition and workshop dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer
  • The Youth Mobile Festival: YoMo
  • VHIO’s Escuela y Ciencia Program - see sub-section
  • VHIO-HUVH’s annual series of workshops for patients suffering from breast cancer
  • II VHIO-IDIBELL-ICO Workshop on Prostate Cancer
  • VHIO’s Running for Research (R4R) – in collaboration with the FERO Foundation - see sub-section
  • MBA BCN Global - student visits to VHIO 
  • Visit by Portugal's Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel V. Heitor
  • Visit to the Escuela de Administración Pública de Catalunya 
  • Visit to the Escuela FEDAC Montcada 
  • Visit to the Escuela Virolai
  • ProstateNet Workshop
  • World Cancer Research Day institutional presentation & open meeting
  • Zumba Solidario – Zumba workouts to support research against cancer

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.

VHIO’s R4R rallying for research against cancer: 1- At the Spanish Association against Cancer’s (AECC) Run against Cancer. 2- The Carrera de las Ciudades to support research against pancreatic cancer. 3- Participating at the mountain race 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.

Marnaton 4 FERO, Cadaqués (Girona, Barcelona).
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.