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 João Barata Lab
Major Interests
The Cancer Biology Unit aims to establish a dynamic research vector on cancer biology, with particular emphasis on hematological malignancies. There is mounting evidence that tumor cells interact with the surrounding environment in a bi-directional manner resulting in the acquisition of a competitive advantage by the malignant cells. Therefore, cancer progression is not exclusively dependent on tumor cell-autonomous alterations. Our research focuses on the role that both cell-intrinsic aberrations and microenvironmental factors might play during tumorigenesis. Our main model has been acute T-cell leukemia. In parallel, we are interested in understanding the regulation of normal human T-cell development by external signals. Our goal is to characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms implicated in the acquisition of a selective advantage by malignant/leukemic cells over their normal counterparts, focusing on the dissection of signaling pathways activated by cell-intrinsic events and extra-cellular factors. Ultimately, this will allow the identification of molecular targets for therapeutic intervention and the pre-clinical evaluation of therapeutic agents against such targets.

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