NCMM Congratulates Daniel Osorio, former Kuijjer postdoc, on receiving Familien Blix Fond funding

The funding will enable ongoing collaboration between Daniel, the Kuijjer group and the Oslo University Hospital.

Illustration from computational model.

Photo: Daniel Osorio. 

Daniel Osorio portrait.
Daniel Osorio. Photo: Daniel Osorio. 

Daniel Osorio, a former postdoc in the Kuijjer group, has received funding from Familien Blix Fond for experimental validation of one of his computational projects. Even though Daniel has most recently moved to a postdoc position at the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at UT Austin Dell Medical School, he will continue collaborating with the Kuijjer group and Oslo University Hospital on the project.

The project builds on Daniel’s previous work in looking at a population of cells, specifically cancer cells that have not been treated by any anti-cancer drugs previously, and where some of the cells are already resistant to anti-cancer treatment. Daniel’s project has identified a set of genes that have the potential to provide the cells with such resistance to treatment. His work includes computationally predicting regulators of these genes by analysing the network of interactions they are involved in. This is done by removing potential regulators from this network. Once you remove each one from the network, you can see how that changes the network.

- We have developed a computational method to do this, and in this way can predict which one of the genes is going to affect the genes involved in resistance the most and produce this resistance to the treatment, Daniel explains.

Daniel applied his work to study resistance to tamoxifen in a specific subtype of breast cancer and identified an enzyme as potentially regulating treatment resistance. The good thing about this enzyme is that it can be relatively easily inhibited in cells. Having made predictions computationally, now it is the time to prove them in the lab and this is what the Familien Blix Fond will enable. The work will involve collaborators at Oslo University Hospital: Xavier Tekpli and Salim Ghannoum, researchers on breast cancer with whom Kuijjer group has collaborated previously.

- Computationally we have found a potential target gene that when it is knocked out, the cancer cells won’t develop resistance to the treatment, Daniel says. We now plan to validate the approach using the experimental work, as well as some additional computational experiments to model the metabolism of the cells and see if we can also predict the growth of the cells.

The Oslo University Hospital collaborators will test experimentally whether the inhibition of the gene identified as responsible to the acquisition of resistance to therapy, will increase sensitivity to drugs currently used in the clinic to treat breast cancer patients.

We look forward to hearing more results as the project develops.

By Larissa Lily, NCMM/UiO
Published Nov. 29, 2021 5:56 PM - Last modified Dec. 16, 2021 7:52 PM