Where Ideas grow

Genetic Dynamics of Cancer Cells


The scientific question that drives our research group is how genetic information is transmitted among the diverse cellular constituents of a tumor, and how that affects the heterogeneity and plasticity of cancer cells. We want to understand how mutant or aberrantly expressed molecules influence the interaction between cancer cells, and between cancer and non-cancer cells.




Fátima Carneiro
Identification of genetic causes of cancer and the validation of biomarkers with clinical relevance.


José Luís Costa
Identification and understanding of the dynamics of cancer-related genomic alterations in order to exploit and translate this knowledge for the clinical management of cancer patients.


José Carlos Machado
Understanding how neoplastic cell mutations trigger immune response and which mechanisms neoplastic cells use to escape immunosurveillance.


Sónia Melo
Understanding how the flow of genetic and molecular information in cancer exosomes is involved in tumor progression, and if this communication could be a new therapeutic target for cancer treatment.


Nuno Rodrigues dos Santos
Identification of molecular factors involved in the interaction between stromal and cancer cells, and impact assessment of their inactivation on oncogenesis.


Our research relies on: well-characterised patient material from our tumor bank; patient blood samples (liquid biopsy) for the characterisation of cell-free nucleic acids and circulating tumor cells; a vast collection of cancer cell lines from various organs; several genetically engineered mouse models of colon cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, leukemia and gastric cancer; and state-of-the-art technology such as next generation sequencing, digital PCR, proteomics, advanced microscopy, cell sorting and cytometry.

Cancer is a complex disease with a biological organisation that goes far beyond the cancer cell itself. Our research focuses at the interface between genetic mutations underlying cancer cell transformation and therapy resistance, and its interaction with the tumor microenvironment, including tumor f