Biosketchs Cono-Sur Symposium: «Aptamers as molecular tools for biomedical applications»

Biosketchs Cono-Sur Symposium: «Aptamers as molecular tools for biomedical applications»

Julio Tapia, Confirmed coordinator

Dr. Julio Tapia is Biochemist from the University of Santiago. In 2004 he got a PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences of the University of Chile, whose thesis was performed in the laboratory of Profs. Jorge Allende and Catherine Connelly about the structure-function of the protein kinase CK2. During his PhD also performed two long working-stays with Prof. Tom Blundell at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK, who is a world leader in structural biology. Dr. Tapia’s thesis was financed with a Doctoral Fondecyt grant whose findings were published in four journals. Then, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Molecular Studies of the Cell (CEMC) in the School of Medicine of the University of Chile, also financed with a Postdoctoral Fondecyt grant whose findings were published in three journals. In 2008, he got an academic position as Assistant Professor of the University of Chile and received support of an Initiation Fondecyt grant, which served to stablish his own research group “Cell Transformation Lab”, whose research line is on the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulated by CK2 that promote tumorigenesis and metastasis of colorectal and other cancer cells. From 2012, Dr. Tapia is an Associate Professor and affiliated to the Department of Basic & Clinical Oncology (DOBC) at the School of Medicine of University of Chile. He has executed as principal investigator one international ICGEB grant and two Regular Fondecyt grants, as well as has collaborated as co-investigator in six Fondecyt grants and one Anillo. Currently, Dr. Tapia’s research has been broaden to the design of a specific aptamer to detect a phosphorylated protein, P-ECE1c, who is involved in acquisition of malignant traits in colorectal and other cancer cells, which could serve as a biomarker of poor prognosis for cancer patients. To date, he has directed eight undergraduate thesis, fifteen graduate students and one postdoc fellow. His group has published in Q1 and Q2 journals in the field, including Molecular Oncology, Molecular Cancer, Oncotarget, Cell Death & Disease, and Cancer Letters. He is one of the main founder of the Center for Cancer Research and Treatment (CITC, University of Chile) and currently one member of the recently created Iberoamerican Network of Aptamers (REDIBA).

Confirmed exhibitors

Dr. Víctor M. González is the leader of the Group of Aptamers in the Ramón y Cajal Institute for Health Research (IRYCIS) and Chief Scientific Officer at Aptus Biotech, in Madrid (Spain). He is graduated with a bachelor of Biological Sciences at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 1992 and received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the same University in 1995. Later he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Molecular Biology Center «Severo Ochoa» (1995-1997), the Cancer and Geriatric Center of the University of Michigan (MI, USA) (1998-1999), the University of Alcalá (Spain) (2000) and the National Biotechnology Center (Spain) (2001). In 2002 he joined the Department of Biochemistry-Research of the IRYCIS-Ramón y Cajal Hospital as a senior researcher, initiating a new line of research focused on the selection and characterization of aptamers as diagnostic and therapeutic agents. Among the results obtained, it stands out the development of an aptamer against TLR4 for stroke treatment which that is in clinical phase I/II and other against MNK1 for cancer therapy which is in the preclinical phase. Dr. González has led 14 public grants, as well as more than 15 private projects and has published more than 60 publications in different highly respected Journals. He also has 4 patents at the European, US and international levels. Between 2007 and 2009 co-founded and was scientific advisor of the company Bioapter. In 2010 co-founded Aptus Biotech and become CSO of the company.

Dra. Victoria Calzada Falcón, MSc, PhD, is Professor (L3) of the Radiopharmacy Department of the School of Sciences, Universidad de la República, Montevideo-Uruguay. She is working with aptamers as in vivo molecular imaging probes and as therapeutics. She started her career in science graduating in 2008 with a bachelor of Biochemistry exploring several labeled methodologies of biomolecules. In particular has looked cancer biomarkers in melanoma, breast cancer, and blood diseases. The preclinical studies have been focused in tumor markers expression in living animals using multimodal approaches with specific PET and SPECT signal probes and near-infrared fluorescent tracers. Currently, her research includes aptamers as molecular agents for in vivo approaches on cancer. She has led several grants and been mentor of PhD students on radiopharmaceutical sciences. Dr. Calzada is member of the National Researchers Program and member of the Development Program of Basic Sciences (Uruguay). She is the leader of the Aptamers group from Uruguay and is the coordinator of the Iberoamerican Network of Aptamers (REDIBA).

Dr. Pohl Milón is a Principal Investigator of the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Health Sciences Faculty of UPC University in Perú. He graduated in 2002 in Biological Sciences at the State University of Milan, Italy. Then, he attended the State University of Camerino, Italy, where obtained his Ph.D. in Biology with a particular focus on molecular and biochemical aspects of the bacterial ribosome. In 2008 he joined the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen (Germany) for a 5-year post-doc where developed novel techniques to monitor the quaternary assembly of ribosomal complexes in real time. Dr. Milón returned to Perú in 2013 to lead the Laboratory of Applied Biophysics and Biochemistry at UPC.  Dr. Milón has led five national and two international grants aiming to develop novel high throughput platforms for isolating ribosomal inhibitors and for developing aptamers as biosensors or therapeutic alternatives to antibodies. Dr. Milón has contributed significantly to our understanding of ribosome function with a particular focus on the initiation phase of protein synthesis, detailed the molecular mechanism of new and old antibiotics, and developed aptamers for P. falciparum, T. cruzi, M. tuberculosis, among others. Dr. Milón current funding focuses on investigations of undescribed mechanisms of ribosome inhibition by known antibiotics and screening of new lead compounds, either from natural or synthetic sources. Additionally, current funding aims to increase the number of Aptamers against endemic infectious diseases. Dr. Milón has published more than 20 articles in different international journals, an h-index of 12 (Scopus), 14 (Google Scholar), or 13 (Researchgate), and more than six hundred citations to his work.

Dr. Martín Radrizzani Helguera holds a BSc degree in Biology from the School of Exact and Natural Sciences, University of Buenos Aires/UBA (1987), and a PhD from Fundación Campomar received in 1995 with his Thesis on neurodegenerative diseases using mouse models for ataxias. From his thesis onwards, he focused on the relationship between neurodegenerative diseases and synaptogenesis. From 1993 to 2005, he was a permanent staff professional at the National Center of Medical Genetics at ANLIS-Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán of the Ministry of Health, specializing in Medical Genetics, applying and developing new Molecular Biology tools. In 2005, he started the career of Scientific Researcher and started to conduct his research work at Fundación Instituto Leloir. In 2007, he joined the Center of Studies on Health and the Environment at the School of Science and Technology of the National University of San Martín/UNSAM, where he is a member of the research team. The laboratory he directs, Neuro- and Molecular Cytogenetics Lab, provides specialists with a high-technological complexity service for the genetic diagnosis of over forty rare diseases, in an agreement between this University and CONICET ( Since 2014, he has been the Director of this Research Center, and a professor for the subjects Introduction to Nanotechnology and Bio-Nanotechnology since 2016. He has participated in 36 scientific publications, one book, and 3 book chapters. He has received funding from national entities and companies. He has participated as technical representative in eight Agreements between the National University of San Martín (UNSAM) and private companies. His interest in aptamers was to use them as a technological tool for protein detection. Currently, he applies subtracted libraries to discriminate a few different molecules from high-complexity samples.