WHEN A KIWI AND AND ARGENTINE MEET IN DUBLIN FOR BEERS AT NOON, JUST ABOUT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE....
Post-doc Matthew Galbraith met Joaquín for the first time at a bar in Dublin, Ireland, around noon on June 28th, 2009. Joaquín was in Ireland for a conference and Matthew was working at the University of Nottingham at the time. Matthew crossed Saint George's channel and courageously agreed to interview for a job over beers, fish and chips. Joaquín limped to the arranged location on crutches due to a recent rock climbing accident. They talked about the Mediator complex for a while and sealed the deal on the spot. The rest is history. Read on...
Matt's Cell paper on CDK8 and HIF1A in the press
Check out the story in The Colorado Cancer blog here
Check out the story in the Boulder Daily Camera here
THINK CRAZY, THINK BOLD, THINK DEVOTION...YOU ARE THINKING OF ZDENEK ANDRYSIK.
Zdenek's paper in Cell Reports makes the news
Post-doc Zdenek Andrysik was born and raised in the Czech Republic before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Joaquín is convinced that Zdenek's upbringing behind the Iron Curtain defines much of Zdenek's approach to science. In a lab of hard working people that operates nearly 24/7, Zdenek is the biggest maniac of them all. When it comes to difficult experiments, Zdenek is fearless. After trying on a few projects, Zdenek committed to an incredibly difficult genetic screen in human cells to identify factors that control the expression ratio between two key p53 target genes, p21 and PUMA, to control the efficacy of novel p53-based target therapies. He succeeded where many would have balked. Read on...
CANADIAN POST-DOC CORRIE GALLANT-BEHM MAY BE SWEET LIKE MAPLE SYRUP, BUT SHE IS UNFLINCHING AT THE BENCH.
Corrie's paper in Genes and Development gets press
Check out the story in the Science Daily here
Post-doc Corrie Gallant-Behm joined the lab to learn molecular biology, and oh...she did! After her excellent graduate work and a first post-doctoral training in the fields of skin biology and wound healing, she challenged herself with a second post-doc stint on a hard-core molecular biology project in our lab. She resumed a project started by former post-doc Ignacio Nojek (now a financial analyst in Switzerland) that investigated the mechanism of action of the oncogenic transcription factor DNp63a. Ignacio had made some tantalizing observations that challenged the current dogma at the time. He observed that transcriptional repression by DNp63a could not be merely explained by dominant negative action on p53. Corrie took this lead and in record time elucidated an unexpected mechanism by which DNp63a employs the histone variant H2A.Z to shut down anti-proliferative genes in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells. In collaboration with Dr. Leif Ellisen's team (Mass General - Harvard Med), we found that the SRCAP complex is the H2A.Z deposition complex involved in repression by DNp63a. These discoveries advance in significant ways our understanding of how this potent oncogene drives SCC progression. Check Corrie's work here, here and here.
NATIVE COLORADOAN KELLY SULLIVAN CAME BACK TO THE ROCKIES TO HIT A HOME RUN.
Kelly's paper in Nature Chemical Biology gets hot
Post-doc Kelly Sullivan was born and raised in Colorado but moved to North Carolina for his doctoral work. Missing the dry sunny weather, Kelly returned to Colorado and joined the Espinosa lab in 2009. At this point in time Joaquín was obsessed with the idea of creating a Functional Genomics Facility in order to be able to perform genome wide shRNA screens in human cells to investigate the p53 network. Kelly jumped in head first. With no previous expertise in the field, he enrolled a number of collaborators to teach himself how to do shRNA screens. Not only was he instrumental in creating the Functional Genomics Facility at CU-Boulder, but he also performed a first-in-kind genome wide shRNA screen in human cells. His screen, dubbed 'Synthetic Lethal with Nutlin', illuminated the signaling pathways that protect cancer cells from the killing effects of p53 upon pharmacological inhibition of MDM2. With support from a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society post-doctoral fellowship, Kelly complemented his screen with mechanistic studies and published his results in the high impact journal Nature Chemical Biology. Check the paper here.
Check out the story in the HHMI Bulletin here
COLLABORATION + COLLABORATION + COLLABORATION= LOTSA DATA!!
Interdisciplinary post-doc Mary Allen endured 3+ years of double mentorship to produce the first analysis of the direct p53 transcriptome using Global Run On-seq (GRO-seq). In a synergistic collaboration between the Dowell and Espinosa labs, Mary employed this powerful technique to reveal at last the genes that are directly activated by p53 in response to MDM2 inhibition with the small molecule Nutlin-3. Mary not only performed the wet lab portion of the project, but also spent almost two years doing the in silico experiments required to make sense of the huge amount of data generated. Early on in the project, a collaboration with Lee Kraus' lab (UTSW) was key to learn how to do GRO-seq properly in a timely manner. Seven members of the Espinosa lab contributed diverse experiments. Enjoy the paper for free in eLIFE!: Read on...
Mary's eLIFE paper on the direct p53 transcriptome in the news
Check out the story in the Biofrontiers site here
SUMMER TEACHING, FRUIT FLIES AND LOTS OF COLLABORATIONS
It all started in the summer of 2011, when Matthew Galbraith and Joaquin were teaching a summer course in Cold Spring Harbor Labs, New York. Argentine graduate student Joel-Perez Perri presented some intriguing data about TIP60 as a coactivator for HIF1 in Drosophila melanogaster, which triggered a multi-year, multi-site collaboration. Joel spend a few months in Boulder confirming the role of TIP60 in during the cellular response to hypoxia in human cancer cells. Graduate student Roni Dengler spend the next couple years exploring the mechanism of action of TIP60 during HIF1A-driven gene expression. Danette Daniels's team at Promega in Wisconsin demonstrated a physical interaction between the TIP60 complex and HIF1A. Mathew Galbraith carried the paper through reviews and publication. Overall, this paper illuminates 'druggable' steps during the cellular response to hypoxia, which could be exploited in cancer therapy. Read on...
Check out the article in the Denver post here
Cell Reports paper on TIP60-HIF1A on the cover of the Denver Post
Check out the coverage in the Colorado Cancer Blog here
THE ESPINOSA LAB ON TV
Several TV news channels became interested in our research to understand the mechanisms by which trisomy 21 causes a different 'cancer spectrum' in the population with Down syndrome. On one hand, people with Down syndrome are protected from developing most solid tumors, with the sole exception of testicular cancer. On the other hand, trisomy 21 causes a much elevated risk of developing various leukemias. This is just one example of how research on trisomy 21 can have tremendous 'therapeutic leverage' by advancing our understanding of medical conditions that affect millions of typical individuals.
Check out the story in CCTV news here
TV channels cover our research at the Crnic Institute
Check out the story in Denver Channel 7 here
First author Joel Perez-Perri and Joaquin catching up over beers in Heidelberg, Germany
Check out the story in Denver Channel 9 here