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King's staff awarded the 2017 BSCB Women in Cell Biology Early Career Award Medal

The Women in Cell Biology Early Career Medal was established in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the British Society of Cell Biology. It is an annual honour awarded to an outstanding female cell biologist who has started her own research group in the UK within the last seven years.

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For 2017, King’s own Dr Victoria Sanz-Moreno has been awarded for her work in cancer cell migration. Speaking of the win, Dr Victoria Sanz-Moreno is very pleased.

In a scientist’s life there are very few moments of awards, she laughed. I am very pleased with the medal, but it is a team effort so it goes to all of us for our five years of work.

Dr Sanz-Moreno is a group leader at the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics. Her group investigates molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of cancer cell migration and its connections to the transcriptional machinery. Victoria’s group has discovered how signalling pathways regulated by the cytoskeleton crosstalk with transcription factors to sustain cell migration during cancer metastatic dissemination.

We’re all very pleased, it is difficult but you see the results and it is worth it.

Metastasis, or the spread of cancer cells around the body, is the cause of death for 90% cancer patients. A better understanding on how cancer cells spread is crucial to develop new therapies to target metastasis.

This medal recognizes how our work has shed light into why metastatic cells are so efficient at sustaining their migratory and invasive nature. We have found that the same molecular machinery that regulates the cytoskeleton and allows migration also controls the function of several key proteins—or transcription factors—that maintain high levels of genes that help cell migration.

In other words, the cytoskeleton perpetuates its own function. This is very important, as we need to develop strategies to stop the cytoskeleton hijacking these key proteins, the transcription factors.

Victoria Sanz-Moreno and lab-420

Before joining King’s Victoria focused on studying signalling pathways regulating cancer cell proliferation in Spain during her PhD. She did her postdoctoral training at the Institute of Cancer Research (London), where she was supported by a Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie Intra European Fellowships. For her postdoctoral work, she received the European Association for Cancer Research 40th Anniversary Research Award. As an independent researcher, Victoria was awarded a Cancer Research UK Career Development Fellowship.

Dr Sanz-Moreno will be presented with her medal at the British Society of Cell Biology / BritishSociety for Developmental Biology Annual Spring Meeting in April 2017.

We congratulate Dr Sanz-Moreno on all her hard work and on being awarded the Women in Cell Biology Early Career Medal.