Paloma Gómez: From the age of three she started a life devoted to dance in all its forms and studied at several renowned schools as the National Spanish Ballet School and Maria de Ávila Dance School in Madrid.Through her extensive formative years, she is taught by outstanding masters of dance including: Lola de Avila (Classical Ballet), José Antonio (current director of the National Ballet of Spain) with whom she will later share the stage as lead dancer, Azary Plisetsky (Classical Ballet), Jorge Esquivel (Classical Ballet), Victoria Eugenia “Beti” (Classical Spanish Dance), Paco Romero (Classical Spanish Dance), Goyo Montero (Jazz Dance), Carl París (Modern and Contemporary Dance) and Pedro Azorín (Spanish Folklore). She's a graduate with the highest qualification for the Royal Professional Conservatory of Dance “Mariemma” at Madrid in Classical Spanish Dance, Escuela Bolera and Flamenco speciality. At the age of 17 she becomes a member of the National Ballet of Spain where she will stay for four and a half years. Always as lead dancer, she will later partake, amongst others, in companies such as "José Antonio and the Spanish Ballets" under direction of José Antonio and the "New Ballet of Spain" under direction of Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodríguez, where she's also costume designer of some of this company's productions and assistant artistic director. With them she will dance in some of the most prestigious theatres around the world. In 2000 she found her own dance company and directs two shows: "De Lunares" and "De Tapas" touring at national and international level both as dancer, director and choreographer. In recent years, and in all the above roles, she has twice represented Spain in the Caracas International Dance Stars Festival (Venezuela). She has also choreographed a version of ‘Carmen' for the International Taiwan Artists Association, one of the most influential arts production companies in Asia. She has also recently taken part for the third time as guest dancer in the Chicago Spanish Dance Festival organized by the Northeastearn Illinois University of Chicago , where she also impart classes of Classical Spanish dance, Spanish Folklore and Flamenco.
Raquel Gómez: She started studying dance at the age of three at her parent's school, who were also dancers, Raquel Rodríguez and José Gómez. When she was 16 years old she was already part of the National Ballet of Spain, where she remained for 10 years, even becoming the Associate Director under the orders of Aida Gómez. After this, she collaborated with other companies always as prima ballerina and worked under the direction of great theatrical directors such as Miguel Narros and Adolfo Marsillach. She has also worked as a choreographer in many different works, such as the theatre piece “La visita a la vieja dama” (The Visit to the Old Dame) for the National Dramatic Center of Spain. Over the last few years she has balanced her work as a ballerina and choreographer with teaching, working on all these aspects at a national and also international level. Today she works with the company of Paloma Gómez in the present show of “Rotas”, where she plays one of the two main characters.
SOURCE: Instituto Cervantes de Chicago
Dr. Jordi Tauler arrived to the US in 2001, from Spain, after graduating in Molecular Biology from University of Navarra (Spain) and obtaining his PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from University of Barcelona (Spain). As a post-doctoral fellow, he joined Dr. James Mulshine’s lab at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health where he was introduced to lung cancer research.
In 2005, Dr. Mulshine and Dr. Tauler moved to Rush University, Chicago. Dr. Tauler lead the Lung Cancer Biology Lab at Rush University along with Dr. Mulshine. After very intense years of research, where several ideas were developed and explored, the lab could no longer be sustained. Dr. Tauler joined then Dr. Skip Garcia’s lab at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2011. Dr. Garcia’s research was focused on lung pathology. Dr. Tauler participated in the development of a lung cancer group in Dr. Garcia’s lab. Unfortunately, budget cuts also affected Dr. Garcia’s lab and in 2013 Dr. Tauler joined the new lab of Dr. Winn, recently hired by UIC as Associate Vice President for Health Affairs and Director of the Lung Cancer Program. Dr. Tauler is conducting now the project that was developed along with Dr. Mulshine over several years.
What is the context of this research?
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Despite extensive research efforts, the five-year survival rate remains around 15%. It has been described that in 25% of the cases of lung cancer adenocarcinoma, activating mutations in EGFR protein are the driving cause of lung cancer. Targeted therapy against these mutations is available and has shown significant clinical activity. These drugs, called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), block the effect of the activating mutation. However, inevitably, resistance to these drugs develops during the course of therapy. Some mechanisms of resistance have been described. But in 30% of the patients treated with TKIs, mechanism of resistance remains unknown.
What is the significance of this project?
We are studying a protein (hnRNP A2/B1) that is involved in the processing of genetic information, at different levels. hnRNP A2/B1 protein is more abundant in lung cancer than in normal cells. We hypothesize that, this change in abundance along with the pressure of the targeted therapy, could be affecting the outcomes of mechanisms of processing of genetic information, regulated by hnRNP A2/B1 and resulting in generation of forms of proteins that change cell resistance to a specific treatment and modify tumor growth. Results from this project will open up new avenues for therapeutic intervention. New therapeutic agents could be designed targeting hnRNP A2/B1 or the new forms of proteins generated and they could be delivered in combination with TKIs or upon disease progression.
What are the goals of the project?
1) Generate lung cancer cells resistant to TKI, starting from sensitive cells, by small increases of doses of TKI.
2) Modify levels of activity of hnRNP A2/B1 in lung cancer cells using stable constructs that either will down-regulate or overexpression of hnRNP A2/B1
3) Measure levels of specific mRNAs from candidate genes that could be affected by hnRNP A2/B1, in all different conditions
4) Repeat measurements, at protein level, under the same conditions of the candidate genes.
This will get a basic picture of how hnRNP A2/B1 can affect resistance to targeted therapy and offer information about mechanism involved in this process and how genes are alternative spliced by hnRNP A2/B1.
Processing this information, publishing it and developing novel questions will allow us to apply for funding.
"Actually our lab works on a very tight budget however we are working on generating preliminary data in different approaches. We are a young lab and we have not been able to get funding from major agencies. It is very important that we generate this preliminary data to be able to apply for major agencies such as NIH. This budget will allow to generate this data since if funded at 100% we will have enough resources for at least a year. Without this budget, this research will be conducted on the side and it will take a long time to be completed. Unfortunately, there is a chance that we will have to abandon it for lack of funding." Says Dr. Tauler.
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