The Team

Sandra Blanco, PhD.

Sandra Blanco Benavente -Beca Leonardo 2021- Biomedica

During my PhD and my post-doctorate, I have been engaged in finding the molecular mechansms that lead to cancer. Initially during my PhD, at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Cancer (Salamanca, Spain), I studied post-translation modifications and particularly dysfunctional phosphorylation pathways as possible targets for cancer therapy. I obtained my Ph.D. Degree in Molecular Biology of Cancer from the University of Salamanca in June 2006.

Following the completion of my Ph.D., I joined the group of Pr. Michaela Frye at the Wellcome Trust – MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute – University of Cambridge, to study the molecular basis of epidermal stem cell functions, and the functional role of post-transcriptional RNA modifications in tissue homeostasis and the impact of their dysregulation in neurodevelopmental disorders and cancer. My work focused on the functional role of 5-methylcytosine deposition in transfer RNA. In October 2016, I was awarded a Ramón y Cajal fellowship and I was appointed junior investigator at the CIC bioGUNE in Spain. In August 2018 I was appointed a permanent position as a group leader of the Spanish Research Council at the Cancer Research Centre in Salamanca, Spain.

No Science No Future

Post Docs

Paz Nombela Blanco, PhD.

  • Postdoctoral researcher since March 2020 in the Epitranscriptomics lab of Dr. Sandra Blanco at the Centro de Investigación del Cancer (CIC) in Salamanca. My research focuses on studying the role of RNA modifications in cancer and their implication in drug resistance.
  • PhD in Prostate Cancer Clinical Research Unit, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO). PhD in Biosciences by Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). Contract in charge of the Severo Ochoa doctoral fellowship by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (2019).
  • Master degree in “Therapeutic Targets in Cell Signaling: I+D+I” by Universidad de Alcalá (2013).
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Biology Science by Universidad de Alcalá (2012).

Virginia Morón Calvente, PhD.

I obtained my Biology bachelor’s degree in 2012 in the University of Salamanca and proceeded to study a MSc in Immunology in the University of Granada. Still under Dr. Abadía-Molina supervision I did my PhD in Biomedicine (Immunology specialty). The main focus of my PhD was the study of NAIP and other Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins during cell cycle and more specifically in monocyte to macrophage differentiation and polarization of macrophages. I was awarded a fellowship to stay for three months in CHEORI in Ottawa, in the lab of Dr. Mackenzie, one of the discoverers of the Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein family, and afterwards I was hired to perform my research in the same institute under the supervision of Dr. Korneluk. After the completion of my PhD, I started working as a postdoctoral fellow at City of Hope’s Beckman Research Institute, in the department of Diabetes Immunology, at Dr Reijonen’s laboratory. My research was focused on the adaptive immune system, I developed a project on T cell differentiation and its association to type 1 diabetes susceptibility. Besides my research activities I have taught an immunology course, part of an immunonutrition MSc, at the International University of Valencia during the years 2019 and 2020. Also, as part of my PhD and postdoctoral training I have guided undergrad and MSc students during their final projects both in the University of Granada and City of Hope’s Beckman Research Institute.

PhD students

Raquel García Vílchez, FPI fellow.

I started my career studying Biotechnology Degree at Universidad of León, where I worked in the use of different cellular models of angiogenesis in cancer as part of my Final Degree Project.  During my ERASMUS+ internship at the Epigenetics Department of Babraham Research Institute (Cambridge), I focused on stablishing the role of predicted enhancers during human neurogenesis with hESCs. Then, I moved to Madrid where I studied the MSc in Genetics and Cellular Biology in Autonomous University of Madrid. I undertook my Master Thesis at Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), based in the analysis of the function of histone methyltransferases in the development of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Since 2018, I am interested in unravelling how tRNA methyltransferases can regulate Prostate Cancer progression as part of my PhD project at Epitranscriptomic and Cancer laboratory. 

Judith López Luis, FPU fellow.

I studied BSc Biology at University of La Laguna (ULL). In my final year, I was awarded a Collaboration Scholarship to work on the establishment of organotypic cultures as preclinical models for local therapies at the Department of Genetics at ULL. I graduated with Honors in my Final Project and Extraordinary Bachelor’s Degree Award in July 2018. On September 2018 I moved to Salamanca to study the MSc in Biology and Clinic of Cancer by University of Salamanca and joined Epitranscriptomics and Cancer Lab to carry out my Practicum and Master Thesis. During my Master, I worked on aberrant ribosomal RNA methylation and its role in prostate cancer progression and metastasis. On July 2019, I graduated with Extraordinary Master’s Degree Award and was awarded a JAE intro research fellowship to continue the project that I started during my Master. In November 2019 I gained an AECC predoctoral contract to start my PhD. In July 2020, my Master Thesis was awarded with “Professor Garmendia” Research Award and I was awarded a University Professor Training Program (FPU) Fellowship to continue my PhD on ribosomal RNA methylation in prostate cancer. 

Ana Macrina Añazco Guenkova, JAE intro scholar.

I studied Biology at Universidad of Alcalá, in Madrid. There, I did my Final Project in the Molecular Genetics Department, in which I focused on functional study of maize proteins, involved in transduction of hormonal signaling. I finish my studies with Honors in my Final Project in July 2019. Although I loved studying genetics, I didn’t want to limit myself to that field, and I decided to expand my knowledge in the area of Cancer Biology, which I did not know much about yet. For that reason, in September 2019 I moved to Salamanca to study the MSc in Biology and Clinic of Cancer at University of Salamanca. There, I decided that I wanted to develop my Practicum and Master’s Thesis in the laboratory of Epitranscriptomics and Cancer Lab, lead by Dr. Sandra Blanco. I focused my work on studying the functional role of the methyltransferase METTL1 in senescence phenotype induction. In July 2020, I finished my MSc and was awarded a JAE Intro Research Fellowship to continue the project that I started during my Masters. At present, I am going to start a new project studying the role of the epitranscriptome in the progression of the immune system; which I expect to continue during my PhD.

Borja Miguel López, JCyL fellow.

  • PhD student in Epitranscriptomic and Cancer group, Centro de Investigación del Cáncer. Junta de Castilla y León‐Fondo Social Europeo (ESF) predoctoral fellowship. 2020.
  • Master degree in Biomedical Biotechnology. Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. 2017-2019
  • Graduate in Biology. Universidad de Valencia. 2013-2017.  

Oscar Monteagudo García, Beca de Colaboración.

I studied Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Valencia (UV). In 2019, I worked at the Experimental Hepathology department in the “Hospital La Fe”, but I really wanted to focus my future work in the research of Cancer. For that reason, in 2020 I came to Salamanca to study the MSc in Biology and Clinic of the Cancer and now my PhD thesis at the Epitranscriptomics and Cancer Lab, led by Dr. Sandra Blanco, where I have been awarded with a Collaboration scholarship. Here, I’m working in the Identification of critical 6-methyladenosine regulators as malignant prognosis factors in prostate adenocarcinoma.

Bárbara Castellanos García, MSc student. ‘

  • Master’s degree student in Biology and Clinic of Cancer (2021-2022).
  • JAE Intro Research Fellow. Epitranscriptomic and Cancer Lab (Oct 2021-present). Functional role of adenine-6 methylation of messenger RNA in prostate cancer regeneration after treatments.
  • Graduate in Biomedical Sciences. University of Lleida (2017-2021).


Soňa Gubová Erasmus plus student

I got my Bachelor and Master degrees in Biotechnology at Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. The topic of my final thesis was characterization of grape wine in scope of microbiological contamination. During my studies, I did my internship in a Downstream Process Laboratory in an industrial fermentation company where I helped optimize purification conditions of a desired product. Currently, I am doing Erasmus+ traineeship in (June to Dic 2021) Epitranscriptomics and Cancer Lab under Dr. Sandra Blanco supervision as I wanted to forward my career into human-oriented research.

Jose Antonio Sánchez Castro, Undergrad Bioinformatician.

She was studying third year of Biotechnology degree when she joined the lab in summer 2020 to undertake an internship for three months. She worked on developing tools and cell lines using CRISPR technology to study the functional impact of deleting RNA modifiers in prostate cancer cells. In October 2020 she started her final degree project at CIC.

Ana Dávila Hidalgo, third year undergrad student

She was studying third year of Biotechnology degree when she joined the lab in summer 2020 to undertake an internship for three months. She worked on developing tools and cell lines using CRISPR technology to study the functional impact of deleting RNA modifiers in prostate cancer cells. In October 2020 she started her final degree project at CIC.

Domenico Rosace, postdoc

He joined the lab in April 2019 and worked on developing high throughput methods to identify RNAs bound to RNA methyltransferases. In June 2020 he moved to Germany.

Víctor De Frutos Herrero, final year undergrad student

He was finishing Biology degree when he joined the lab in summer 2019 to undertake his final degree project (TFG). He worked on understanding the signalling pathways that regulate the expression and activity of RNA methylases in cancer cells. He graduated in summer 2020 and in October 2020 started MSc studies on Embryology and reproduction.

Kepa Zamacola, lab technician

He was the first lab technician back in CIC bioGUNE in 2017. He worked on developing tools and cell lines using shRNA technology to study the functional impact of silencing RNA modifiers in prostate cancer cells. In March 2018 he got a position as a lab technician at CIC biomaGUNE.

Silvia D’Ambrosi, MSc student

She did her MSc in the lab back in CIC bioGUNE in 2017. She worked on developing high throughput methods for detection of RNA methylation. In Oct 2018 she got a MSCA ITN fellowship to start her PhD at the Neurosurgery Lab at Amsterdam UMC.