Raúl Méndez

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona

Life & Medical Sciences

Raúl Méndez studied biology (biochemistry) in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He obtained his PhD in 1993 for work carried out at the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa under the supervision of César de Haro. He did postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Robert E. Rhoads at the Louisiana State University Medical Center (1994-1997) and then in the laboratory of Joel D. Richter (1997-2001) at the University of Massachusetts and in 2001 he joined the Centre de Regulació Genòmica of Barcelona as a group leader. In 2010 his group moved to the Institut de Recerca Biomèdica of Barcelona, where he is a senior scientist and ICREA Research Professor. Since the time of his PhD work, his research has focused on how mRNAs are translated into proteins and how this process is regulated during cell division and differentiation. EMBO member since 2012.

Research interests

The primary interest of our group is to understand the molecular mechanisms that dictate alternative 3' UTR formation and the temporal and spatial translational control of specific mRNAs during cell cycle progression and chromosome segregation, senescence and related pathologies. Cell cycle progression is programmed, at least in part, by stored silent mRNAs whose translation is specifically regulated by sequences located at their 3´-untranslated regions (3´-UTRs) and their binding proteins. Our work in the past years has focused on three main questions: First, to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the translational control by cytoplasmic polyadenylation cis-acting elements and trans-acting factors. Second, to define how this translational control circuit regulates cell cycle progression by establishing a molecular circuit, stabilized by positive and negative feed-back loops. Third, to explore the contribution of these mechanisms in the reprogramming of gene expression in cancer.

Selected publications

- Villanueva E, Navarro P, Rovira-Rigau M, Sibilio A, Mendez R & Fillat C 2017, 'Translational reprogramming in tumour cells can generate oncoselectivity in viral therapies', Nature Communications, 8, 14833.

- Weill L, Belloc E, Lara Castellazzi C & Mendez R 2017, 'Musashi 1 regulates the timing and extent of meiotic mRNA translational activation by promoting the use of specific CPEs', Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 24, 8, 672.

- Garcia-Pras E, Gallego J, Coch L, Mejias M, Fernandez-Miranda G, Pardal R, Bosch J, Mendez R & Fernandez M 2017, 'Role and therapeutic potential of vascular stem/progenitor cells in pathological neovascularisation during chronic portal hypertension', Gut, 66, 7, 1306 - 1320.

- Maillo C, Martín J, Sebastián D, Hernández-Alvarez M, García-Rocha M, Reina O, Zorzano A, Fernandez M & Méndez R 2017, 'Circadian- and UPR-dependent control of CPEB4 mediates a translational response to counteract hepatic steatosis under ER stress', Nat Cell Biol., 19(2):94-105.   

Selected research activities


- Nucleic acid constructs and vectors for oncoselective expression of a transgene (N/Ref.: P12889EP00) Eneko Villanueva, Cristina Fillat and Raúl Méndez.

Invited conferences:

- Gordon Research Conference: Translation Machinery in Health & Disease. Galveston TX United States, 03/19/2017 - 03/24/2017.

- EMBO Workshop on Metabolic disorders and liver cancer. April 23-26 2017.

- Cellular organelle dysfunction at the origin of metabolic diseases (3rd MetNet International Meeting), May 10th 2017.

- QBM Lecture Series (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany)  May 15th 2017.

- Joint Congress SEG+SEBC+SEBD 2017,  24 – 27 October 2017.