Biophysics of the Immune System is the research team leaded by Dr. Rubén Vicente. The main interest is understanding the role of ion fluxes and membrane composition regulation in the physiology of immune cells, having a special interest in calcium signalling, zinc fluxes and de novo ceramide synthesis. The current research projects are:
Calcium signaling and ORMDL3 pathophysiology
ORMDL3 is a transmembrane protein located in the endoplasmic reticulum. This protein has been shown to negatively regulate sphingolipid synthesis and to alter calcium homeostasis. As a consequence, alterations in ORMDL3 expression levels are associated to inflammatory diseases like asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases or rheumatoid arthritis. Our team is focus on studying the mechanistic insights of ORMDL3 cellular function.
Zinc signaling in immune cells
Zinc is a trace element essential for human health. Zinc deficiency is common in old adults, vegetarians and patients with chronic inflammatory diseases. This condition causes immune dysfunction leading to increased risk of inflammatory and infectious diseases. However, the specific role of zinc in the physiology of T-cells is still poorly characterized. Zinc is known to affect T lymphocyte maturation, differentiation and cytokine production. Our laboratory has demonstrated that zinc positively potentiates T-cell function by enhancing the three main signalling activation pathways, AP-1, NF-kB and NFAT1. In addition we have described that the Zip6 zinc transporter is essential for a proper T-cell activation. We aim to have a better knowledge on the signalling events that modulate zinc in T to understand the benefits and risks of a zinc-based nutritional immunity.
NanoTarg: a nanotechnological platform to treat cancer
Our team, together with the NanoMedicine lab leaded by Dr. Pilar Rivera, is involved in the development of NanoTarg, a novel nanotechnological platform to improve diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We have determined an oncotarget to specifically accumulate nanocapsules in the tumoral tissue and we are participating in the preclinical validation of the technology.