Since 1993 I lead a group working on cell movements and phenotypic plasticity. In particular, we have studied the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) during embryonic development and our main contribution has been the impact that the reactivation of this developmental program has in adult disease.We are currently interested in (i) unveiling the signals that promote metastatic colonization, (ii) following cancer cell movements from the primary tumour to the metastatic foci (iii) following embryonic cell movements that regulate organ positioning, and (iv) studying cell plasticity in organ development and degeneration, altogether to devise improved therapeutic strategies
We use fish, chicken and mouse as experimental models for loss or gain and function studies. We generate animal models in all three species. We also study cultured cells and samples from patients with the associated pathologies.
1. Ocaña, O.H., Coskun, H., Minguillón, C., Murawala, P., Tanaka, E.M., Galcerán, J., Muñoz-Chapuli, R. and Nieto, M.A. (2017). A right-handed signalling pathway drives heart looping in vertebrates. Nature 549, 86-90.
2.- Grande, M.T., Sanchez-Laorden, B.L., Lopez-Blau, C., De Frutos, C.A., Boutet, A., Rowe, G., Weiss, S. J., Arévalo, Lopez-Nova, J.M. and Nieto, M.A. (2015). Snail1-induces partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition drives renal fibrosis in mice and can be targeted to reverse established disease. Nature Med. 21, 989-997.
4.- Nieto, M.A. (2013). Epithelial plasticity: a common theme in embryonic and cancer cells. Science, 342, 1234850.
5.- Ocaña, O.H., Córcoles, R., Fabra, A., Moreno-Bueno, G., Acloque, H., Vega, S., Barrallo-Gimeno, A., Cano, A. and Nieto, M.A. (2012). Metastatic colonization requires the repression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition inducer Prrx1. Cancer Cell 22, 709-724.
6.-Acloque, H., Ocaña, O.H., Matheu, A., Rizzoti, K., Wise,C., Lovell-Badge, R. and Nieto, M.A. (2011). Reciprocal repression between Sox3 and Snail transcription factors defines embryonic territories at gastrulation. Dev. Cell 21, 546-558.
25–30 May 2020, Spetses Island, Greece