Advisory Board

Professor Susana Gonzalo

Susana Gonzalo, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri.

Susana earned her Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from Washington University in St. Louis in 1999, and her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. She did her postdoctoral training in molecular oncology at the Washington University after her Ph.D. until 2002, when she moved back to Madrid, Spain, to continue her training as postdoctoral fellow in molecular oncology.

Her work and research interests are focused on how alterations of nuclear architecture, chromatin structure, and genome stability contribute to the processes of aging and cancer. Her studies revealed that the structural nuclear proteins A-type lamins play a key role in the maintenance of telomere structure, length, and function, as well as mechanisms of DNA double-strand break repair. Specifically, loss of A-type lamins increases the levels of the protease cathepsin L and its entry into the nucleus, which in turn leads to degradation of proteins with important roles in cell cycle regulation — Rb family members — and DNA repair with 53BP1.

Loss of A-type lamins also leads to repression of BRCA1 and RAD51 genes, critical factors in homologous recombination. Interestingly, inhibition of cathepsin L activity with vitamin D or specific inhibitors rescues some of the phenotypes of lamins-deficient cells, providing new therapeutic possibilities.

Most recently, she found that these novel pathways are also activated in BRCA1-deficient cells and subsets of breast cancer patients. Her current work aims to characterize in detail how these pathways contribute to the pathophysiology of cancer, aging, and laminopathies with the ultimate goal of using them as potential biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and customization of treatment.

Her recent publications include:

Read the news about how Scientists discover new causes of cellular decline in prematurely aging kids with Susana as lead researcher.

In 2013, Susana published a paper about Vitamin D and its importance in treating breast Cancer. Read the news at ScienceDaily and Cancer Active, about her research into Vitamin D and how it holds promise in battling a deadly breast cancer,

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