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Modelling cancer in Caenorhabditis elegans

Final Report Summary - canceromics (Modelling cancer in Caenorhabditis elegans)

I am doing this report about my research activities for 14 months (from October 2007 to February 2009) at Vall d'Hebron Hospital. As the REA know, since February first 2009 I have a junior position at Bellvitge Institute of Biomedical Research (IDIBELL). This junior position is for six years and definitively it is an essential step towards my reintegration as researcher.
Regarding to these first 16 months of my reintegration period, my first goal was to set up a new laboratory specialized in the model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans in the hospital. Despite two Nobel prizes in Medicine and Physiology given to researchers working in C. elegans, this model organism is not well implemented in the Spanish Scientific System and still is largely unknown in biomedical departments. To contribute to fill this gap I have been training students and I gave several talks that resulted in scientific collaborations.
Although I left Vall d'Hebrón Hospital, I am glad that there is a C. elegans laboratory still functional over there. I trained David Aristizabal (PhD student from Simo Schwartz Lab) in basic C. elegans techniques and he is now developing a fascinating research project in C. elegans related with resistance to cancer chemotherapy of certain checkpoint genes.
The main student in my new lab was Laura Fontrodona. Laura was graduated in Biology in Barcelona (UAB) and she joined the lab working without any salary. I used some of the money for personal to pay her a small amount of money while she was applying for fellowships. Fortunately, Laura got her own fellowship from the Catalan Government (AGAUR) few months ago.
In order to increase the number of people working in the lab, I followed the same strategy (pay while applying for a fellowship) with Monica Ferrer, a PhD with a competitive CV. Unfortunately, this strategy did not work this time. Monica did not get her fellowship and she finally left the lab. However, she did an outstanding job and we are using molecular constructs that she made to create transgenic animals.

Despite the inconvenience of sep up a new lab from nothing, we manage to produce scientific results that have been showed in international meeting. I was one of the organizers of the last Spanish Worm Meeting (SWM) (in English with presence of researches of different countries) that was hold in Barcelona. In that meeting, Laura and me gave oral presentations showing our results. Moreover, we presented the following two posters in the Worm International Worm meeting , hold in Los Angeles (USA) in June 2009:

rsr-2, a gene with homology to the human splicing factor SRm300, is a novel component of the sex-determination pathway in the Caenorhabditis elegans germ line.
Laura Fontrodona1, Monica Ferrer2, Simo Schwartz Jr2, Julian Ceron1.
1Catalan Institute of Oncology, IDIBELL, Gran via s
, l'Hospitalet de Llobregat 08907, Barcelona, Spain. 2CIBBIM-Nanomedicine. Vall d'Hebron University Hospital. Passeig Vall d'Hebron 119-129, Barcelona 08035, Spain

Towards making a Functional Map for splicing-related genes in C. elegans
Julian Ceron1, Monica Ferrer1, Laura Fontrodona1, Karine Rebora2, Leo Gugignard2, Denis Dupuy2, Bob Jhonsen3, Dave Baillie3, Simo Schwartz4.
1Catalan Institute of Oncology, IDIBELL, Gran via s
, l'Hospitalet de Llobregat 08907, Barcelona, Spain. 2 Genome Regulation and Evolution. Institut Europeen de Chimie et Biologie (Bordeaux). 2, rue Robert Escarpit, 33607 Pessac, France. 3Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Simon Fraser University. 8888 University Drive Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. 4CIBBIM-Nanomedicine. Vall d'Hebron University Hospital. Passeig Vall d'Hebron 119-129, Barcelona 08035, Spain.