Structural Biology Programme

Bioinformatics Unit

Head of Unit:  Fátima Al-Shahrour
Research highlights

During 2016, the Bioinformatics Unit (former Head, David G. Pisano), and the Translational Bioinformatics Unit headed by Fátima Al-Shahrour from the Clinical Research Programme, were reorganised and merged into one single Bioinformatics Unit (BU). BU was established with the aim of providing resources to enable the integration of biological and clinical data, using computational biology approaches, as well as to contribute to research projects in need of bioinformatics support.

In 2016, BU published 22 peer-reviewed articles as a result of our ongoing research projects and scientific collaborations with CNIO Research Groups as well as other national and international research institutions. We developed several bioinformatics tools for the analysis of next-generation sequencing data in collaboration with the SING group from the University of Vigo – RubioSeq+ (Rubio-Camarillo et al., 2017), nextpresso (Graña et al., 2016) – and 2 web tools to guide the selection of therapies from genome-wide studies in cancer disease – PanDrugs ( and SATIE ( RubioSeq+ has been used in several projects, such as the analysis of the lynx genome (Abascal et al., 2016), and for the whole-exome sequencing analysis of patient-derived xenografts for lung cancer (Pereira et al., 2016).

Regarding our scientific collaborations, we helped to unveil mechanisms of cellular reprogramming and senescence (Mosteiro et al., 2016), and also to describe the role of p21 in fasting adaptation (Lopez-Guadamillas et al., 2016) in collaboration with Manuel Serrano’s Group (CNIO). Other bioinformatics analyses were performed together with Mariano Barbacid’s Group (CNIO) (Ambrogio et al., 2016); these identified DDR1/Notch inhibition as a novel therapy for KRAS-driven lung adenocarcinoma. Finally, within the context of our international collaborations with Harvard associated institutions, we have contributed to the study of leukaemia stem cells in AML (Puram et al. 2016) and the mechanisms of CALR mutations in MPN cells (Elf et al., 2016).