“We approach the study of paediatric tumours from different angles with the ultimate goal of developing more personalised and less aggressive treatments”
IRSJD researcher Dr Alexandra Avgustinova explains her work in the Paediatric Cancer Research Programme.
Alexandra Avgustinova graduated in Biology at the Oxford University, UK, and from the beginning of her career she was interested in molecular and developmental biology. With a PhD from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, in 2020 she joined the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute (IRSJD) where she works and defines the research lines and scientific objectives of her Paediatric Cancer Epigenetics group, which has recently been added to the Paediatric Cancer Programme.
Avgustinova's areas of expertise include the mechanisms of cancer metastasis in adults, both breast cancer and squamous cell carcinoma. She has also studied cancer epigenetics, the processes that determine the fate and function of individual cells, and how dysregulation of these processes plays a role in the development of many diseases, including childhood cancer.
Dr Jaume Mora contacted Alexandra Avgustinova after reading one of her scientific articles on the role of epigenetic processes in tumour initiation. Mora thought that some of the questions and mechanisms studied could be relevant in childhood cancer. In fact, epigenetic dysregulation is very common in the initiation of developmental tumours. Avgustinova then joined the IRSJD team where she works to understand the basic biological and epigenetic mechanisms that are deregulated in the process of tumour formation. The goal is to understand the biology of each tumour in order to offer the best possible treatment to each patient with the least possible side effects.