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Cayetano González

Cayetano González

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica

Life & Medical Sciences

After completing a PhD on fly genetics in the laboratory of Pedro Ripoll at the Centre for Molecular Biology (CBM, Madrid, Spain), Cayetano González moved to David Glover's lab in the UK, first as a postdoc at Imperial College in London and later as a CRC Joint Principal Investigator at  University of Dundee. In 1994, he took his first independent position, as a Group Leader at EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany). After the customary nine-year period at EMBL, he moved to the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO, Madrid, Spain). In 2004 he moved to his present post at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) where he leads the Cell Division Group. In 2007 he was elected to full membership of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).

Research interests

We use Drosophila to investigate the molecular and cell biological mechanisms that drive cell proliferation and malignant growth. Ongoing research lines include the following. (1) The role of cancer-testis (a.k.a. cancer-germline) genes in somatic malignant growth. We have develop identified Drosophila mutants that provide exoperimental models of brain tumours in which malignant growth is concomitant with the ectopic expression of dozens of genes that under normal conditions are only expressed in the germline. Ectopic expression of germline genes is also common in human cancer. In our fly models we have identified some of these genes as essential for malignant growt in the larval brain. Remarkably, some of them are orthologs of human cancer-germline genes. (2) The molecular basis of sex-linked differences in cancer.For many cancer types susceptibility and mortality rate are significantly different in males than in females. Understanding the molecular basis of sex-linked differences in cancer incidence and survival may pave the way for gender-specific, more efficient therapeutic strategies. We are taking advantage of Drosophila tumours that present strong sex dimorphism to identify the molecular axes that drive such differences. (3) Drosophila models of paediatric cancer . We are developing Drosophila models that recapitulate some critical traits of different types of paediatric cancer. Using these models we hope to be able to investigate the molecular bases of these diseases. We also expect some of this models to serve as platforms for drug screening.

Selected publications

Gonzalez C 2021, ‘Centrosomes in asymmetric cell division‘. Current Opinion in Structural Biology, 66, pp 178-182.

– Freier, Regina; Aragon, Eric; Pluta, Radoslaw; Martin-Malpartida, Pau; Ruiz, Lidia; Condeminas, Miriam; Gonzalez, Cayetano; Macias, Maria J. 2021, ‘Structures of the germline-specific Deadhead and thioredoxin T proteins from Drosophila melanogaster reveal unique features among thioredoxins’, Iucrj, 8, 2, 281 – 294.

ICREA Memoir 2021