Dr Ioanna Keklikoglou

BSc, PhD
Lecturer
Group Leader
Research Focus

Our group focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate resistance to anti-cancer therapies in breast cancer. Using state-of-the-art mouse models of cancer, as well as quantitative molecular and cellular approaches, we are interested in dissecting the microenvironmental cues that orchestrate specific tumour responses and metastasis formation.

Key Publications

Chemotherapy elicits pro-metastatic extracellular vesicles in breast cancer models. Nature Cell Biology (2019) 21(2):190-202. PMID: 30598531

Periostin limits tumor response to VEGFA inhibition. Cell Reports (2018) 22(10):2530-2540. PMID: 29514082

Cancer: Metastasis risk after anti-macrophage therapy. Nature (2014) 6;515(7525):46-7. PMID: 25337881

MicroRNA-520/373 family functions as a tumor suppressor in estrogen receptor negative breast cancer by targeting NF-κB and TGF-β signaling pathways. Oncogene (2012) 31(37):4150-63. PMID: 22158050

Major Funding
  • 2019-2022 - Barts Charity, Dissecting the tumour-host interactions in premetastatic niches during chemotherapy
  • 2020-2023 - CRUK PhD studentship, Dissecting the role of periostin-myeloid cell interactions in mediating chemoresistance, £105,900
Other Activities
  • Member of Hellenic Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research

My group focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate resistance to chemotherapy, mainly in breast and ovarian cancer. Using state-of-the-art mouse models of cancer, as well as quantitative molecular and cellular approaches, we are interested in dissecting the microenvironmental cues that orchestrate specific tumour responses and metastasis formation after chemotherapy. More specifically, we are interested in understanding how inflammation - and tumour-associated myeloid cells in particular - is linked to chemoresistance, in order to develop new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of metastatic gynecological cancers. Current projects in the lab include:

  • Investigating the role of extracellular matrix in myeloid cell recruitment and chemoresistance
  • Identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms of extracellular vesicle secretion after taxane-based therapy
  • Understanding how chemotherapy and chemotherapy-elicited extracellular vesicles modulate the function of myeloid cells in primary tumours and pre-metastatic niches
  • Tumour-associated macrophage evolution during anti-cancer therapies
Other Activities
  • Member of Hellenic Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Major Funding
  • 2019-2022 - Barts Charity, Dissecting the tumour-host interactions in premetastatic niches during chemotherapy
  • 2020-2023 - CRUK PhD studentship, Dissecting the role of periostin-myeloid cell interactions in mediating chemoresistance, £105,900
Biography

I studied Biology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece). During my undergraduate studies, I trained with Prof George Mosialos to characterise the role of certain aminoacids of TRAF5 and TRAF6 molecules in NF-kB signalling activation. In 2008, I moved to Heidelberg (Germany) for my postgraduate studies in molecular and cellular biology at the Ruperto-Carola University of Heidelberg. I joined the laboratory of Prof Stefan Wiemann at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) where I completed my PhD on the identification of novel miRNAs that regulate NF-kB signalling in breast and pancreatic cancer.

In 2012, driven by my curiosity and interest in understanding the role of tumour microenvironment in modulating tumour responses to therapies, I moved to Lausanne (Switzerland) to join the laboratory of Prof Michele De Palma at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). During my postdoctoral training in De Palma’s lab I identified extracellular matrix- and vesicle-mediated mechanisms of resistance to anti-angiogenic and cytotoxic therapies, respectively, through alterations in the accumulation and function of tumour-associated myeloid cells.

In 2019 I moved to London to start my own lab at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London (UK) within the Centre for Tumour Microenvironment.