I received my PhD degree (Biochemistry) at the UAB. After completing my training at the Laboratory of Prof. Keith F Tipton, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (1995-96), I moved to the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit at the University of Dundee (UK), to work as MRC Research Associate with Professors Sir Philip Cohen and Dario Alessi (1998-2004). There, I dissected cellular signalling pathways ruled by protein kinases that play fundamental roles in driving pathologies, such as diabetes or cancer. In 2004, I obtained a Ramón y Cajal Senior Researcher Tenure Track contract at the Institut de Neurociències UAB, where I founded the Protein Kinases in Cancer Research Laboratory. From 2005, I am Associate Professor at the UAB Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, where I acted as Deputy Director (2008-2014). From 2016 to 2019 I acted as Coordinator of the Biochemistry Unit at the UAB School of Medicine.
I have published more than 65 papers in international refereed journals, and my work has been cited more than 4.700 times (Scholar).
Lizcano’s Lab is interested in dissecting new cellular signaling pathways that control cancer cell proliferation and differentiation. We collaborate with academics and Biopharma Companies to perform preclinical development of new anticancer drugs. Specifically, we are interested in deciphering the role of the new MAP kinase ERK5 in cancer proliferation and survival. We are also interested in modulation of autophagy and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress as new strategies to tackle cancer
We use two different perspectives to approach fundamental problems:
1. Basic Research. Dissection of the mechanisms by ERK5 kinase (as well other kinases) exert a control on the proliferation and survival of tumor cells. We have contributed to propose new molecular mechanism for regulation of protein kinase Akt; discovered that tumor suppressor kinase LKB1 functions as a master kinase; or more recently, we have established a new mechanism by which ERK5 translocates to the nucleus and regulates the proliferation of tumor cells regardless of its enzymatic activity.
2. Research directed to pharmacological intervention in cancer. We are involved in potentiating translational aspects of our resources. We actively collaborate with Ability Pharmaceuticals SL in the preclinical/clinical development of the new antitumor drug ABTL0812, which it is Clinical Trial Phase II to treat cancer patients with advanced endometrial and squamous NSCLC cancers (NCT02201823). We have discovered a new cellular signaling pathway by which ABTL0812 exerts its antitumor action: by altering the sphingolipidoma of cancer cells, ABTL0812 induces a sustained activation of ER stress and UPR, as well as inhibition of the Akt/mTORC1, which ultimately results in activation of cytotoxic autophagy. Finally, we actively collaborate with other academic laboratories characterizing new ERK5 inhibitors with anticancer activity.
Muñoz-Guardiola et al. Autophagy 2020. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2020.1761651
Ferguson et al. 2020. Nature Chemical Biology 16:635-643. doi: 10.1038/s41589-020-0506-0
Hermanova et al. 2020. J Experimental Medicine. doi: 10.1084/jem.20191787.
Erazo et al. 2020. J Inter Mol Sci. 21(6). pii: E2203. doi: 10.3390/ijms21062203.
Erazo et al. 2016. Clin Cancer Research 22: 2508-16. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-15-1808
Gomez et al. 2016 Frontiers Cell Development Biology doi: 10.3389/fcell.2016.00105
Erazo et al. 2013. Molecular & Cellular Biology 33:1671-86. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01246-12
Lizcano et al. 2004. EMBO Journal 23: 833-43
Biondi et al. 2004. EMBO Journal 21: 4219-28