Cellular Plasticity and Cancer Group


Principal Investigator


  • Advance understanding of the interplay between reprogramming, cellular plasticity and cancer.
  • Decipher the molecular mechanisms governing the acquisition of cellular plasticity during tumorigenesis.
  • Determine the impact of inducing cellular de-differentiation in various stages of tumorigenesis – tumor initiation, maintenance and metastasis- and in the resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.
  • Find chemical compounds that specifically target Cancer Stem Cells.


  • Study the effect of induced de-differentiation in breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, gliobastoma and melanoma.
  • Identify and characterize inducers and molecular barriers for the acquisition of cell plasticity during tumorigenesis.
  • Analyze the role of inflammation in the acquisition and maintenance of stemness in tumors.
  • Screen chemical compounds that kill pluripotent stem cells, as a surrogate of Cancer Stem Cells.
  • Find novel micropeptides with relevant functions in stem cells and cancer cells.


Cellular Plasticity & Cancer Group
  • Principal Investigator
    • María Abad
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    • Elena Senís
  • Graduate Students
    • Olga Boix
    • Alba Escriche
    • Emanuela Greco
    • Iñaki Merino
  • Research Assistant
    • Marta Giménez


  • Senís E, Mosteiro L, Wilkening S, Wiedtke E, Nowrouzi A, Afzal S, Fronza R, Landerer H, Abad M, Niopek D, Schmidt M, Serrano M, Grimm D. AAVvector-mediated in vivo reprogramming into pluripotency. Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 9;9(1):2651. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05059-x.
  • Abad M, Hashimoto H, Zhou H, Morales MG, Chen B, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN. Notch Inhibition Enhances Cardiac Reprogramming by Increasing MEF2C Transcriptional Activity. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Mar 14;8(3):548-560.
  • Marión RM, López de Silanes I, Mosteiro L, Gamache B, Abad M, Guerra C, Megías D, Serrano M, Blasco MA. Common Telomere Changes during In Vivo Reprogramming and Early Stages of Tumorigenesis. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Feb 14;8(2):460-475.
  • Gómez-Cabello D, Checa-Rodríguez C, Abad M, Serrano M, Huertas P. CtIP-Specific Roles during Cell Reprogramming Have Long-Term Consequences in the Survival and Fitness of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Feb 14;8(2):432-445.
  • Mosteiro L, Pantoja C, Alcázar N, Marión RM, Chondronasiou D, Rovira M, Fernández-Marcos PJ, Muñoz M, Blanco-Aparicio C, Pastor J, Gómez-López G, de Martino A, Blasco MA, Abad M and Serrano M. Tissue damage and senescence provide critical signals for cellular reprogramming in vivo. Science. 2016 Nov 25;354(6315). pii: aaf4445.
  • Adrados I., Larrasa J., Galarreta A., López-Antona I., Menendez C., Abad M., Gil J., Moreno-Bueno G. And Palmero I. The homeoprotein SIX1 controls cellular senescence through the regulation of p16INK4A and differentiation-related genes. Oncogene. 2016 Jul 7;35(27):3485-94
  • Vilas JM, Ferreirós A, Carneiro C, Morey L, Da Silva-Álvarez S, Fernandes T, Abad M, Di Croce L, García-Caballero T, Serrano M, Rivas C, Vidal A, Collado M. Transcriptional regulation of Sox2 by the retinoblastoma family of pocket proteins. Oncotarget. 2015 Feb 20;6(5):2992-3002.
  • Palla A.R., Piazzolla D., Abad M., Li H., Dominguez O., Schönthaler H.B., Wagner E.F. and Serrano M. Reprogramming activity of NANOGP8, a NANOG family member widely expressed in cancer. Oncogene. 2014 May 8;33(19):2513-9
  • Abad M, Mosteiro L, Pantoja C, Cañamero M, Rayon T, Ors I, Graña O, Megías D, Domínguez O, Martínez D, Manzanares M, Ortega S, Serrano M. Reprogramming in vivo produces teratomas and iPS cells with totipotency features. Nature. 2013 Oct 17;502(7471):340-5.
  • Abad M, Moreno A, Palacios A, Narita M, Blanco F, Moreno-Bueno G, Narita M and Palmero I. The tumor suppressor ING1 contributes to epigenetic control of cellular senescence. Aging Cell. 2011 Feb; 10:158-71.
  • Menéndez C, Abad M, Gómez-Cabello D, Moreno A and Palmero I. ING proteins in cellular senescence. Curr Drug Targets. 2009 May;10:406-1.
  • Abad M, Menéndez C, Fuchtabuer A, Serrano M, Fuchtbauer E-M and Palmero I. Ing1 mediates p53 accumulation and chromatin modification in response to oncogenic stress. J Biol Chem. 2007 Oct 19;282:31060-7
  • Goeman F.,Thormeyer D., Abad M., Serrano M., Schmidt  O., Palmero I. and Baniahmad A.  Growth inibition by the tumor suppressor p33ING1 in immortalized and primary cells: Involvement of two silencing domains and effect of Ras. Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Jan;25:422-31.