Title: Venom-Senolytics: A new class of senolytics with applications in cancer and other aging-related diseases.  

Speaker: Dr. Maria Ikonomopoulou

Abstract:  The success of chemotherapy could be jeopardised by the appearance of senescence in the tumor microenvironment. Transiently, senescence acts as a barrier to tumour progression but persistent accumulation drives pathological inflammation and tumour relapse. A novel and promising therapeutic intervention could be to combine conventional anti-cancer treatments with senolytic agents. In this talk, we will present our new research line, which focuses on a novel class of senolytics derived from animal-venoms (aka venom-senolytic). We will present our optimised lead candidate, which shows selectivity towards various senescent cancer cells chemically induced by diverse senescence-stimuli. The observed selectivity is mediated by specific lipid-interactions. Mechanistically, the venom-senolytic induces potassium efflux and hyperpolarizes the plasma membrane of senescent cells. Importantly, it strongly synergizes with the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib for remission of solid tumours in both mice and zebrafish xenograft melanoma models. 

Bio: Dr. Maria Ikonomopoulou is a Senior Research TALENTO Fellow (Program of excellence in research by the Madrid Government in Spain) and Head of the Translational Venomics Group at IMDEA-Food Institute in Madrid. Her research is focused on the biodiscovery, pharmacological characterisation, and optimisation of animal venom compounds as tools or agent candidates (anticancer: melanoma or anti-aging: senolytics). Therefore, she utilizes interdisciplinary approaches, including molecular, cell biology, state-of-the-art venomics, animal models of cancer and metabolic disorders as well as medicinal chemistry and structure-activity relationship. Her broad research goal is to understand the biology of senescence and cancer by the study of animal venoms and to discover new and safe venom-based anti-aging therapies. 

About School research seminars

Seminars cover all aspects of chemistry and molecular biosciences and are delivered by visiting national and international academics. PhD completion seminars are also incorporated into the program.

Seminars are usually held in person and via zoom. All are welcome to attend.  



CAI seminar room