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Dr Carlos Sebastián (Photo: Barcelona Science Park).

The UB’s Laboratory of Metabolic Dynamics in Cancer has moved its facilities to the Barcelona Science Park

The Laboratory of Metabolic Dynamics in Cancer, headed by Dr Carlos Sebastián, has established its facilities in the Barcelona Science Park. Affiliated to the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Institute of Biomedicine of UB (IBUB), Dr Sebastian’s Lab aims to study the metabolic regulation of cancer and its crosstalk with genetic and epigenetic factors involved in the tumorigenic process, which will help in designing innovative and more effective antitumor therapies.

Cancer cells need to readjust their metabolism to obtain the energy and metabolites required to fulfill both energetic and anabolic demands and sustain a high rate of cell growth and division. Recent works have shown that this metabolic reprogramming is a fundamental trait of all cancer cells, and it is directly regulated by oncogenes and tumour suppressors. However, there is a complete lack of understanding of the metabolic heterogeneity and evolution of cancer, its biological consequences, and the precise molecular mechanisms driving this metabolic reprogramming.

“Understanding the specific metabolic properties of different cell subtypes within tumors, their association with cancer cell fate and phenotype and their role on the evolution of cancer is an area of knowledge that has yet to be explored”, explains Dr Carlos Sebastián, head of the Laboratory of Metabolic Dynamics in Cancer, and Beatriz Galindo Senior Professor.

Dr Sebastian’s Lab aims to understand the role of metabolism as a regulator of stem cell fate, tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis, and the functional interplay between metabolic reprogramming and other genetic and epigenetic programs involved in these processes.

By focusing on the intestine as a model tissue and colorectal tumorigenesis, the specific research lines of his laboratory are: to study the metabolic regulation of stem cell fate during tissue homeostasis and tumorigenesis; to decipher the metabolic heterogeneity and evolution of cancer and to analyse the metabolic crosstalk between immune cells and cancer cells within the tumour microenvironment.

These studies will provide a comprehensive picture of the step-wise contribution of metabolic reprogramming to tumorigenesis, which will be used to design new therapeutic approaches targeting metabolic pathways.

Dr Carlos Sebastian has a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Immunology from the University of Barcelona. He carried out his doctoral thesis at the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB Barcelona).

After graduating, in 2009 he joined the laboratory of Prof. Raul Mostoslavsky at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (Boston) as a research fellow, and in 2013 he was appointed as Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In March 2017, Dr Sebastian was recruited as a junior group leader at the Candiolo Cancer Institute-FPO, IRCCS, a renowned cancer institute in Turin (Italy), where he established the laboratory of Metabolic Dynamics in Cancer.

In November 2019 he was awarded with a senior Beatriz Galindo professorship by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and, as a result, he moved his laboratory to the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the University of Barcelona in September 2020.

“Now, with the establishment of our laboratory in the Barcelona Science Park, we are in a privileged scientific environment that will enhance potential synergies and collaborative efforts with other public research groups and private companies in an innovation ecosystem”, says Dr Sebastián.

» For further information: Dr Sebastián’s Lab website [+]