IASLC Foundation

Daniela Morales-Espinosa

Catalan Institute of Oncology
Barcelona, Spain

Daniela Morales-Espinosa likes to live life to the fullest. The medical oncologist went sky diving in March on behalf of a friend who lost her battle with cancer.

“I promised her I would do it someday,” Morales-Espinosa says. “March would have been her 24th birthday; she was on my mind all the time.”

Dr. Morales-Espinosa says she likes to have a lust for life. She has loved medicine since she was young, graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2005 with her degree in medicine and went onto several residency and post graduate programs. Now, she is awarded a 2013 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Fellowship Award.

Morales-Espinosa and two other candidates were awarded research funding for two years after competing with a global pool of applicants. Applications were evaluated by an international scientific review panel for their merit, innovation and potential impact on the management of lung cancer. The goal for IASLC is to reward scientific excellence and to encourage innovative research in lung cancer prevention and translational medicine worldwide.

Morales-Espinosa plans to use the grant to study with Dr. Rafael Rosell at the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain. She worked in Dr. Rosell’s Translational Research Laboratory in 2012. She’ll return to study the molecular pathways involved in the development of lung cancer.

“We propose to study the re-replication pathway, the mechanism by which cells lose control of one of the most regulated systems of the cell, such as replication, where the same DNA fragment ‘re-replicates’ several times during the same cellular division process, giving rise to genetic and chromosomic alternations,” she says.

Specifically, she’ll study three different oncogenic addiction cell line models in order to investigate the re-replication pathway and its involvement in growth dependency and inhibition by use of specific TKIs with/without CHEK1, CHEK2, CHEK1/CHEK2 and NADD8 inhibitors in three different scenarios (mtEGFR, mtKRAS, FGFR2 amplifaction) using 11 cell lines with the corresponding mutation profiles.

Dr. Rosell says she is highly skilled in laboratory techniques and is an intelligent, hard-working person.

“She has a bright future as an outstanding investigator and it is my pleasure to accept her for a period of two years in our facilities so she can further her knowledge about the latest advances in clinical practice as regards to personalized lung cancer therapies,” Rosell says.

Morales-Espinosa says she’s grateful for the opportunity.

“I would like to thank them very much,” she says. “This opportunity is really important for junior oncologists. Of course, I will not let them down for choosing me.”