Laura Senovilla UVa foto
cancer - immunology - genomic instability - apoptosis - senescence

Laura Senovilla

Health Sciences Stress and Immunosurveillance IBGM
My research career

After graduating in Biology from the SEK University of Segovia in 2002, I obtained an FPI grant to carry out my doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Javier García-Sancho and Dr. Carlos Villalobos at the Institute of Biology and Molecular Genetics (Valladolid). Thanks to my thesis, entitled "Phenotypic and Functional Characterization of Multifunctional Adenohypophyseal Cells", I obtained the Extraordinary PhD Award in 2006. After obtaining my PhD from the University of Valladolid, in 2007 I moved to the laboratory of Prof. Guido Kroemer at the Institut Gustave Roussy (Villejuif, France), the number 1 cancer institute in Europe, where I enjoyed a Marie Curie postdoctoral contract (2007- 2009), a Senior Postdoc contract from the Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale (2009-2011) and a postdoctoral contract from INSERM (2011-2013). During those years, I was working on the relationship exerted by the immune system on the ploidy (number of chromosomes) of tumor cells. For this work, which was published in the journal Science in 2012, I was awarded the Institut Necker Fondation Tourre Prize (France) in 2013. In 2014, I achieved my French civil servant position at INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale). Since then, I hold my Chargée de Recherche position (equivalent to Titular Scientist in Spain) at the Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers (Paris, France). In 2020 I obtained the title of Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (HDR) from the Université Paris-Saclay, which is the highest academic title awarded by the University in France. Motivated by new challenges, I have left my position on leave of absence and, since 2021, I am a Beatriz Galindo Senior Researcher at the University of Valladolid. In addition to continuing my research, I teach Physiology in different Degrees and participate in Masters and PhD courses at UVa.

My research

Cellular stress results from changes in the cell's environment such as, for example, exposure to toxins, chemical agents or irradiation, and viral infection. The cellular stress response has the adaptive purpose of protecting the cell against these unfavorable environmental conditions with two objectives: 1) to minimize acute damage to the overall integrity of the cell, and 2) to provide the cell with resistance against similar adverse conditions. Cells respond to stress in a variety of ways, from activation of pathways that promote survival (heat shock response, response to misfolded proteins, response to DNA damage, response to oxidative stress) to triggering cell death (apoptosis, necrosis, etc.) that eliminates damaged cells when survival ones are unsuccessful. In addition, cellular stress response proteins are known to interact with and regulate innate and adaptive immune responses. Persistent exposure to stress signals and alterations in the stress response contribute to aging and diseases, such as cancer and chronic diseases.

My work is focused on studying the mechanisms involved in the cellular stress response and its interaction with the immune system in cancer, and in chronic diseases, to find new biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets. The work is divided into three phases:

  1. Fundamental studies carried out with cell lines that allow us to analyze events in a controlled manner.
  2. Preclinical studies that bring us closer to reality in humans.
  3. Translational studies in collaboration with physicians to evaluate a clinical application.

My view is that cancer, like any disease, has two components, 1) characteristics common to all patients and 2) individual characteristics of each patient. Therefore, we must move towards personalized medicine. My goal is, thanks to the creation of the Preclinical Trials Unit at the University of Valladolid, to be able to contribute to the optimization of personalized treatments for cancer patients and other chronic diseases.