Dr Sandra Blanco is group leader at the Epitranscriptomics and Cancer Lab, in the Cancer Research Centre (National Council Research and University of Salamanca) (CIC- CSIC – USAL) and associate researcher at the Biomedicine Research Institute of Salamanca (IBSAL) (Spain). The IP’s research has focused since her postdoc in deciphering the role of RNA modifications (epitranscriptome) in stem cell biology, homeostasis and disease. Throughout her training at the Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge University, CIC-bioGUNE and CIC, she became expert in stem cell biology, pre-clinical models, epitranscriptomics, cancer, immunology, the development of novel tools to determine RNA modifications genome-wide.
In October 2018, she joined the Cancer Research Centre as CSIC Scientist. Her research has demonstrated how the epitranscriptome, in particular methylation of tRNAs, regulate essential functions for stem cell maintenance and differentiation, migration and survival to stress in humans and mice. Her research has also established that mutations or aberrant expression of the writers of tRNAs can lead to neurodevelopment diseases and cancer. Her findings have established that manipulation (inhibition) of the enzymes that regulate tRNA modifications is a potent and promising strategy to eliminate cancer stem cells or to modulate the tumour immune microenvironment.