Dr. Alexandra Avgustinova graduated with a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford (Oxford, UK) in 2005. She undertook her PhD under the mentorship of Prof. Clare Isacke at the Institute of Cancer Research (London, UK) studying the role of the tumour stroma in breast cancer progression. In 2013 she joined Dr. Salvador Aznar Benitah's laboratory at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (Barcelona, Spain) as a postdoctoral fellow to investigate the repercussions of deregulated chromatin accessibility on development and disease. In 2020, she opened the Pediatric Tumour Epigenetics Group at the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu.
As leader of the Pediatric Tumour Epigenetics Group, at IRB Barcelona since 2023, Dr. Avgustinova aims to elucidate how epigenetic parameters impact developmental tumour biology, and how epigenetic targeting can be used in the clinic to synergise with established standard-of-care treatments.
Briefly, her group addresses (1) how epigenetic alterations can cause malignant transformation; (2) whether epigenetic deregulation alters the evolutionary potential of tumours by impacting their mutation rate; and (3) how the epigenomic landscape of the tumour influences the patient’s anti-tumour immune response, e.g. by altering tumour cell immunogenicity.
The close association between her laboratory at IRB Barcelona and Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona (PCCB) associated with Sant Joan de Déu Children´s Hospital seeks to bridge the gap between bench and bedside, ultimately aiming to identify novel therapeutic intervention points to improve patient prognosis and welfare.