Dr. Aranzazu Martínez de Marañón Peris
- 4th Floor Western Gateway Building Western Road Cork Location Map
Dr. Sharon McKenna
Aranzazu was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Biomedical sciences from the University of Valencia and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University, Valencia, Spain. From 2018 to 2021 she undertook her Ph.D. at the University Hospital Dr. Peset-FISABIO-University of Valencia. During this time, she was awarded a short-term EMBO fellowship to undertake research at the Veneto Institute of Molecular Medicine-University of Padova. Her Ph.D. investigated alterations in autophagy and mitochondrial dynamics and how this affects lymphocyte function in patients with Type 2 diabetes. In 2022 Aranzazu was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Co-fund Action (MSCA) post-doctoral fellowship with DevelopMed, UCD, co-funded by Breakthrough Cancer Research.
Oesophageal cancer frequently exhibits resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs, resulting in treatment failure. Our research is focused on understanding how this resistance happens so that we might improve patient outcomes.
The Autophagy Research Group previously found that a small molecule, called ISG15, was more highly expressed in sensitive cancer cells. The main purpose of this molecule is to bind to other proteins and change their function. ISG15 expression has been shown to impede one of the mechanisms that cancer cells use to resist treatments, named autophagy. Autophagy, from the Greek auto (self) and phagy (eat), is a process by which cells eat themselves and recycle their building blocks. By engaging autophagy, cells can overcome several stresses including chemotherapy. In addition, cancer cells can use specalised autophagy of mitochondria (mitophagy) to redirect their metabolism. We are investigating how ISG15 can affect autophagy and mitophagy in response to chemotherapy treatments. We hope to understand how to modify the activity of ISG15 to prevent chemoresistance and improve treatment of oesophageal cancer.