Susana Llanos research activity has always been devoted to the study of the mechanisms involved in cellular transformation and, during the last eleven years, in a more specific manner, in the function and regulation of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. During her PhD training at Dr. Alberto Muñoz´s laboratory she studied the oncogenic role of the v-erbA gene. From 1998 to 2001 she was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Gordon Peters´ laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund of London (currently known as Cancer Research UK), where she investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in p53 regulation by p14/ARF. This gene plays a critical role in p53 regulation since it is responsible of its activation in response to oncogenic stimuli. From 2002 to 2004 she joined Dr. Xin Lu´s laboratory at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, in London, where she was involved in the functional characterization of the ASPP gene family. These genes have a key role in p53 regulation since they promote p53 apoptotic response by increasing p53 binding to its responsive elements specifically in pro-apoptotic target promoters.
Susana Llanos was awarded a Ramón y Cajal contract in 2004 and joined Dr. Manuel Serrano´s group in the CNIO as stuff scientist. Her current interest focuses on the molecular mechanism that control p53 activity. In order to identify new p53 regulators she carried out a high-throughput loss-of-function screen and as a result of this approach she has identified new inhibitors of p53 anti-oncogenic activity.