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Juan Manuel Funes

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Experimental Therapeutics Programme

CNIO - Lilly Cell Signalling Therapies Section

Biosketch: Juan Manuel Funes

Juan Manuel Funes obtained his PhD degree in Biological Sciences in 2001 under the supervision of Dr. Antonia Martín-Gallardo at the National Centre for Biotechnology – Autónoma University (Madrid). His thesis focused on the analysis of the Molluscum Contagiosum viral genome and the functional characterization of viral proteins with human homologues.

In 2002 he moved to University College London (UK) to join the Viral Oncology Group led by Professor Chris Boshoff. During this time he studied changes occurring in specific metabolic pathways during step-wise transformation of adult stem cells. This research work showed that aerobic glycolysis, also known as the Warburg effect, is not an intrinsic component of the transformation of mesenchymal stem cells, and that oncogenic adaptation to bioenergetic requirements may also rely on increases in oxidative phosphorylation.

More recently he investigated the role of reactive oxygen species and cellular antioxidants during oncogenic transformation. In particular he focused on the regulation of the antioxidant’s activator Nrf2 in cancer, and its role on tumor angiogenesis and cell survival. The results of this research suggest that Ras-induced Nrf2 repression is an adaptive response for certain cancer cells to acquire a pro-oxidant state that favors cell survival and tumor growth.

In 2013 he joined the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Unit at the CNIO.