Eva Rodriguez, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Curriculum Vitae

Eva Rodríguez, PhD

  • Education

2005-2008 - I3P PhD grant CSIC.

2009 - Doctorate thesis at Instituto de Neurociencias/UMH, Spain.

  • Experience

January 2010 - December 2012 - Postdoctoral scientist at Instituto de Neurociencias, Spain.

February 2013- September 2017 - Postdoctoral Researcher/Lab manager at PLID-CRTD Dresden, Germany.

March 2018- December 2020 - Postdoctoral Researcher at Universtitätsklinikum Ulm, Germany.

March 2021 - present - Postdoctoral Scientist at VUB Brussels, Belgium.

  • Publications

J.Mol.Biol. 2004, 336, 441-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2003.12.029

Cell Death Differ. 2011, 18(7):1196-207. doi:10.1038/cdd.2010.190

EMBO Journal. 2011, 31 (1):29-43. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.357

J Neurosci. 2013. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4459-12.2013

Sci Rep. 2016. doi: 10.1038/srep32474

PLOS Biol. 2017. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2000949

Cancers. 2019. doi: 10.3390/cancers11081136

Stem Cells Int. 2019. doi: 10.1155/2019/8475389

Gut. 2020. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-319970

Cancers. 2021. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13133145

Neuronal SLIT-ROBO in Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most prevalent neoplasm of the pancreas, is one of the leading causes of cancer death with a five-year survival rate of only 9%. This poor prognosis is mainly due to metastasis and frequent recurrence of the local pancreatic tumor, aggravated by resistance to therapy caused by a high desmoplastic/stromal response, intratumoral heterogeneity and cell plasticity. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the biology of PDAC and of molecules involved in tumor vascularization and migration is required to provide potential targets for efficient therapies.

Axonal growth and positioning in the nervous system is a well-established process, regulated by axonal guidance genes, among which are SLITs and ROBOs. The SLIT ligands are secreted proteins that mediate positional interactions through ROBO receptors and modulate axonal repulsion, axon guidance, branching and pathfinding, neuronal migration, and, interestingly, also the formation of the vascular system. In recent years, the SLIT-ROBO signaling pathway has been found to contribute to the progression of many tumors, acting as both oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes. Though mutations in SLIT-ROBO are prevalent in PDAC, few studies have focused on the precise role of the SLIT–ROBO signaling pathway in the interaction between tumor and stroma.

I hypothesize that, analogous to their roles in the nervous system, SLIT-ROBO expression patterns determine spatial positioning of tumor and stromal cells and impact on tumor dissemination mechanisms and vascularization. This project brings together my knowledge and experience in nervous system and pancreas development as well as in different aspects of pancreatic cancer progression to address the study of cancer biology from multiple angles as part of Prof. Rooman's team, main promoter at VUB, and Dr. Güell from the UPF. The ultimate goal is to gain a deeper understanding of PDAC tumor-stromal crosstalk, tumor maintenance and the metastatic cascade.