VHIO´s 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.


  • Date: Thursday 12th January
  • Speaker: Alba LLop, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group, PI: Violeta Serra
  • Talk title: Deep sea as a source of novel anticancer drugs: lurbinectedin in BRCA-mutated breast cancer

  • Date: Thursday 26th January
  • Speaker: Olga Méndez, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Tumor Biomarkers Group, PI: Josep Villanueva
  • Talk title: Non-classical secretion in breast cancer invasion

  • Date: Thursday 9th February
  • Speaker: Mónica Sánchez, PhD Student, VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group, PI: Violeta Serra
  • Talk title: Targeting PI3K in breast cancer: mechanisms of primary and acquired resistance

  • Date: Thursday 2nd March
  • Speaker: Alfonso García, Masters Student, VHIO´s Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Switch Pocket Inhibitor to overcome Kit heterogeneity mutations in Imatinib resistant GIST

  • Date: Thursday 16th March
  • Speaker: Marta Palafox, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Experimental Therapeutics Group, PI: Violeta Serra
  • Talk title: Identification and validation of biomarkers of response to CDK4/6 inhibitors in ER+ and Her2+ Breast Cancer

  • Date: Thursday 30th March
  • Speaker: Silvia Casacuberta, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies Group, PI: Laura Soucek
  • Talk title: Myc inhibition by Omomyc and the immune system

  • Date: Thursday 27th April
  • Speaker: Gemma Montalban, PhD Student, VHIO´s Oncogenetics Group, PI: Orland Díez
  • Talk title: Investigating pathogenicity of BRCA1/2 splicing variants in familial breast and ovarian cancers

  • Date: Thursday 11th May
  • Speaker: Gaetano Verde, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Chromatin Dynamics in Cancer Group, PI: Sandra Peiró
  • Talk title: Progesterone receptor maintains estrogen receptor
    gene expression in breast cancer cells by regulating
    DNA methylation in the absence of hormones

  • Date: Thursday 25th May
  • Speaker: Emanuela Greco, PhD Student, VHIO´s Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group, PI: María Abad
  • Talk title: Finding IncRNAs that encode micropeptides: MIDORI, an anitsense story that makes sense

  • Date: Thursday 8th June
  • Speaker: Isabel Jimenez, PhD Student, VHIO´s Proteomics Group, PI: Francesc Canals
  • Talk title: Exoloring the role of immunsuppression in clinical progression of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

  • Date: Thursday 22nd June
  • Speaker: Mercedes Nadal, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Growth Factors Group, PI: Joaquín Arribas
  • Talk title: Characterization of resistances to antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) targeting HER2

  • Date: Thursday 6th July
  • Speaker: Olga Boix, PhD Student, VHIO´s Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group, PI: María Abad
  • Talk title: DNMTR, a novel micropeptide that kisses cancer cells to death

  • Date: Thursday 21st September
  • Speaker: Carlos Alberto Fajardo, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Group, PI: Alena Gros
  • Talk title: Novel viro- and immunotherapies of cancer: preclinical development and evaluation of immune responses in cancer patients

  • Date: Thursday 5th October
  • Speaker: Juan Manuel Duran, Post-Doctoral Fellow, VHIO´s Tumor Biomarkers Group, PI: Josep Villanueva
  • Talk title: LAMP2 and unconventional secretion in breast cancer

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