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Dr Paolo Salomoni
Appointment
  • Professorial Research Associate
  • Research Department of Cancer Bio
  • Cancer Institute
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences
Biography

Paolo Salomoni was appointed in October 2009 as Brian Cross Professorial Research Associate at the UCL-Cancer Institute. He leads the newly established Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit, the first UK research centre fully dedicated to brain cancer research. He is also part of the UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine and of UCL Neuroscience. After completing his PhD training at the Kimmel Cancer Centre, Philadelphia, he moved to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory led by Pier Paolo Pandolfi. In 2003, Paolo Salomoni moved to the MRC (Leicester), where he was programme leader track and then programme leader until 2009.

Research Summary
Of all cancer types, tumours of the nervous system probably represent the most dreadful and difficult-to-treat. The incomplete understanding of tumour biology and the lack of effective diagnostic tools underlie the difficulties in treating these neoplasms. The central theme of his Programme has two major objectives: a) to study tumoursuppressive and metabolic pathways underlying growth control and transformation in neural progenitor/stem cells; b) to uncover ‘druggable’ metabolic pathways controlling invasiveness and resistance to therapy in tumour-initiating cells in brain cancers.

Our work has led to two key discoveries:

i) We revealed an unexpected role of the tumour suppressor Promyelocytic Leukaemia (PML) in suppressing proliferation of neural progenitor/stem cells in conjunction with the Retinoblastoma protein.

ii) We discovered that activation of the stereotypic/stress response pathway autophagy plays a central role in survival of cancer cells and tumour-initiating cells upon targeted

therapies. These findings revealed fundamental mechanisms underlying growth control at the level of both normal and cancerous progenitor/stem cells and also have potentially important translational ramifications. For instance, our work has led to an MRC-funded Phase II clinical trial for the use of autophagy inhibitors in conjunction with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Imatinib.

My programme has strong collaborative interactions with the intramural programmes of UCL as well as with other leading laboratories, which bring relevant interdisciplinary expertise to this Programme, linking basic and clinical research. My Programme is also linked to the UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine and UCL Neuroscience.
Teaching Summary

-I am actively involved in the MSc Cancer course, where I give lectures and organise journal clubs. Furthermore, I teach a module of the Pathology course within the MSc programme, where students are taught immunohistochemistry/immunocytochemistry techniques aimed at studying neural stem cells in a tissue context. I frequently have rotating MSc students from the Cancer and Molecular Neuroscience courses in the lab for their project assignments. 

-I am part of the Cancer Institute Graduate Teaching and Research Committee, which oversees teaching and research activities within the UCL Cancer Institute.

-I give lectures as part of the Short Course in Brain Tumour/Oncology at Institute of Neurology/Queen Square Hospital.

Appointments
15-OCT-2009 – 14-OCT-2014 Professorial Research Associate   UCL Cancer Institute, United Kingdom
01-FEB-2009 – 14-OCT-2009 Programme Leader MRC Toxicology Unit MRC, United Kingdom
01-FEB-2003 – 31-JAN-2009 Programme Leader Track MRC Toxicology Unit MRC, United Kingdom
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