Head of Team

María José Fernández
E-mail: mjfernandez@pol.una.py

RESEARCH AWARDS AND GRANTS

– 2018: Special Mention. The National Medal of Science 2018 “Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Genotypes in Condylomas, Intraepithelial Neoplasia, and Invasive Carcinoma of the Penis Using Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) – PCR”. Authors: María J. Fernández-Nestosa, Nuria Guimerá, Diego F. Sánchez, Sofía Cañete, Elsa F. Velázquez, David Jenkins, Wim Quint y Antonio Cubilla.

– 2018: Research Grant from The World Academy of Science(TWAS) – for the advancement of science in developing countries. – 2017: Mention in the Science and Technology área “III Edición del Homenaje a la Mujer Paraguaya de Hoy”, organizado por la Embajada Argentina, el Ministerio de la Mujer y ONU-Mujeres.

– 2017: Mention in the Science and Technology área “III Edición del Homenaje a la Mujer Paraguaya de Hoy”, organizado por la Embajada Argentina, el Ministerio de la Mujer y ONU-Mujeres.

RESEARCH LINES

– Factors involved in blocking erythroid differentiation in erythroleukemia cells:

Cancer cells are distinguished from their normal counterparts by several hallmarks, including uncontrolled growth, lack of response to apoptotic signals and blockade of differentiation. The aim of our lab is to identify and characterize the factors involved in the unblocking of differentiation in erythroleukemic cells. Erythroleukemic cell lines are used as the main study model, in this case MEL cells (Murine Erythroleukemia cell line), which is one of the best characterized systems for reprogramming tumor cells towards terminal cell differentiation and division. The murine erythroleukemia caused by the SFFV (Spleen Focus Forming Virus) is a valuable model to study the regulation of the different hematopoietic routes and their relationship with the blocking of differentiation and the beginning of a tumorigenic process. SFFV induces the transformation of erythroid precursors by insertional mutagenesis in the promoter of the transcription factor ets, PU.1. However, proeritroblasts isolated from mice infected with SFFV are capable of producing hemoglobinized cells after treatment with chemical inducers such as HMBA.

– Structure and dynamics of DNA replication

During replication, DNA molecules undergo topological changes that affect their supercoiling, chaining and knotting. We used a multidisciplinary approach, with molecular biology techniques and computational simulations, to examine the distribution of energy during DNA replication and analyze the role of topoisomerases in the regulation of the topology of replication intermediates. To this end, we implemented the Monte Carlo Metropolis method to simulate several topological configurations of circular DNA molecules, seeking the configuration of minimum elastic potential energy. Our objective is to qualitatively determine the energy variation and characterize the conformational equilibrium of partially replicated DNA molecules in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

– Genotypes of the human papillomavirus in precancerous and cancerous lesions of the penis

The human papilloma virus (HPV) has been identified as the cause of one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases worldwide, affecting both men and women equally. Penile cancer is a relatively rare epidermoid cancer in developed countries. However, the number of cases is much higher in underdeveloped regions. In our country, 100 cases are diagnosed each year and, 80% of patients in advanced stages, end up with partial or total amputations. Our aim is to examine the association between the different genotypes of HPV and the histology of premalignant and malignant penile lesions.

MEMBERS

Staff Scientist
María José Fernández
mjfernandez@pol.una.py

Staff Scientist
Victor Martínez
victormanuelmartinezchamorro@gmail.com

Technical Staff
Antonella Lobatti
alobatti@gmail.com

Predoctoral Students

– Horacio Sosa Galeano
External Advisors

– Prof. Dr. Jorge B. Schvartzman
Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), España

– Dra. Dora B. Krimer
Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), España