Eduard Batlle

Eduard Batlle

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona

Life & Medical Sciences

Eduard Batlle joined the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) as ICREA Research Professor and Head of the Oncology Program in 2004. His research activity has focused on the mechanisms that drive colorectal cancer (CRC) initiation and progression. Amongst other findings, his research originally identified the transcription factor Snail as a repressor of E-Cadherin gene expression during the EMT (2000); the connection between intestinal stem cells and CRC (2002-2011); and more recently a key role for TGF-beta signaling in stromal cells during metastatic colonization (2012-2015). His track record has been recognised through several awards/honours such as the Sabadell Banc Award for Biomedical Research (2010), Josef Steiner Award (2013), ERC Starting and Advanced Grants (2007, 2013, 2019), the Pezcoller foundation-EACR award (2014), the Lilly Foundation Award (2016) and the Carmen & Severo Ochoa Fundation Prize (2016). 

Research interests

The inner layer of the intestinal tube, the intestinal epithelium, is in a constant process of renewal. Hundreds of millions of terminally differentiated intestinal cells are replaced by new cells every day during the life of an adult organism. This tremendous regenerative power is ultimately sustained by a small population of intestinal stem cells. It is believed that alterations in the functioning of intestinal stem cells account for the pathophysiology of various bowel disorders. Our laboratory studies the connection between the biology of Intestinal Stem Cells and Colon Cancer. We are also interested in the process of metastasis, the cause of death of most colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Neither conventional chemotherapy nor current targeted therapies offer significant benefits once the disease has spread to distant organs. Furthermore, current CRC staging based on histopathology and imaging has a limited ability to predict the evolution of the disease. We have recently discovered that vast majority of genes that distinguish poor prognosis CRC subtypes are expressed by stromal cells rather than by epithelial tumor cells. It appears that metastasis relies on a tumor cell non-autonomous program driven by TGF-beta in the tumor microenvironment. 

Selected publications

- Morral C, Stanisavljevic J & Batlle E 2020  'Protocol for Efficient Protein Synthesis Detection by Click Chemistry in Colorectal Cancer Patient-Derived Organoids Grown In Vitro.' STAR Protocols. 1(2):100103. doi: 10.1016/j.xpro.2020.100103.

- Grinat J, Heuberger J, Vidal RO, Goveas N, Kosel F, Berenguer-Llergo A, Kranz A, Wulf-Goldenberg A, Behrens D, Melcher B, Sauer S, Vieth M, Batlle E, Stewart AF, Birchmeier W 2020. 'The epigenetic regulator Mll1 is required for Wnt-driven intestinal tumorigenesis and cancer stemness'. Nat Commun. 11(1):6422.  

- Mereu E, Lafzi A, Moutinho C, Ziegenhain C, McCarthy DJ, Álvarez-Varela A, Batlle E, Sagar, Grün D, Lau JK, Boutet SC, Sanada C, Ooi A, Jones RC, Kaihara K, Brampton C, Talaga Y, Sasagawa Y, Tanaka K, Hayashi T, Braeuning C, Fischer C, Sauer S, Trefzer T, Conrad C, Adiconis X, Nguyen LT, Regev A, Levin JZ, Parekh S, Janjic A, Wange LE, Bagnoli JW, Enard W, Gut M, Sandberg R, Nikaido I, Gut I, Stegle O & Heyn H 2020 'Benchmarking single-cell RNA-sequencing protocols for cell atlas projects'. Nature Biotechnology 38(6):747-755.

- Morral  C, Stanisavljevic J, Hernando-Momblona X, Mereu E, Álvarez-Varela A, Cortina C, Stork D, Slebe F, Turon G, Whissell G, Sevillano M, Merlos-Suárez A, Casanova-Martí À, Moutinho C, Lowe SW, Dow LE, Villanueva A, Sancho E, Heyn H & Batlle E 2020 'Zonation of Ribosomal DNA Transcription Defines a Stem Cell Hierarchy in Colorectal Cancer'Cell Stem Cell. 26(6):845-861.e12.

- Urosevic J, Blasco MT, Llorente A, Bellmunt A, Berenguer-Llergo A, Guiu M, Cañellas A, Fernandez E, Burkov I, Clapés M, Cartanà M, Figueras-Puig C, Batlle E, Nebreda AR & Gomis RR 2020. 'ERK1/2 signaling induces upregulation of ANGPT2 and CXCR4 to mediate liver metastasis in colon cancer.' Cancer Research. 80 (21), 4668 - 4680.