Molecular Oncology Programme

Genomic Instability Group


The Genomic Instability laboratory centres its research on understanding how cells respond to a specific type of DNA damage known as replication stress (RS), which is the main source of genomic rearrangements in cancer cells. In mammals, RS is sensed and suppressed by a signalling cascade initiated by ATR and CHK1 kinases. Throughout the years, our laboratory has developed a wide battery of cellular and animal tools for the study of RS. These tools include mice with enhanced or limited function of ATR/CHK1 kinases, cell lines in which the RS-response pathway can be activated at will, and chemical inhibitors of ATR. Our studies have enhanced our understanding of the impact of RS on cancer and ageing, and have led to novel drugs with antitumour potential that can exploit the presence of RS in cancer cells. Altogether, our main aim is to understand how genome maintenance is safeguarded – particularly during replication – and to exploit this knowledge as a way to fight against cancer.