3rd Edition - European Meeting of Neuroscience by PhD students

25th May 2018, Grenoble (France)


2nd Edition > Senior researchers


Image flottante                    SOUCEK Laura

ICREA Research Professor at Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncologia (Spain)



Short Biography

Laura Soucek graduated in 1996 in Biological Sciences at the University La Sapienza in Rome. She completed her PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the Nucleic Acid Center of the National Research Center, in Rome. In 2001, she joined the University of California, San Francisco, initially as postdoctoral fellow and later, in 2006, as an assistant researcher. There, she published in some of the most prestigious international journals including Nature, Nature GeneticsNature MedicineCancer Cell and Molecular Cell Biology. Since early 2011, Dr. Soucek heads the Mouse Models of Cancer Therapies group at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) in Barcelona. She received prestigious awards and grants: the AACR award "Future Leaders, New Directions", a Miguel Servet fellowship, the FERO Foundation's award, a grant by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) and a European Research Council (ERC) grant. In October 2014, she was appointed research professor at the ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies). In December 2015, she founded Peptomyc S.L., a spin-off company aiming at treating cancer with anti-Myc peptides.

   Research interests

The Soucek team focuses on the Myc oncoprotein, whose deregulation is involved in almost all human cancer types. They have created a Myc dominant negative variant, Omomyc, to investigate the therapeutic benefits of inhibiting Myc in cancer. They demonstrated that Myc inhibition has a remarkable therapeutic effect in many mouse models of cancer, while only causing mild and reversible side effects in normal tissues. They also showed that Myc is a safe pharmacological target for many, perhaps all, cancers. The group's goal is now to push such therapeutic approach further towards the clinic. To do so, they are making use of a new generation of Myc inhibitory small molecules, as well as Omomyc-based cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) and nanoparticle technologies. Such innovative potential treatments could boost our therapeutic arsenal against the majority of human cancers.

Source: VHIO and ICREA websites

   Key Words

cancer, Myc, oncogene, molecular therapy

   Most relevant scientific publications

  • Massó-Vallés D, Jauset T, Serrano E, Sodir NM, Pedersen K, Affara NI, Whitfield JR, Beaulieu ME, Evan GI, Elias L, Arribas J, Soucek L. Ibrutinib exerts potent antifibrotic and antitumor activities in mouse models of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.Cancer Res. 2015 Apr 15;75(8):1675-81.
  • Annibali D, Whitfield JR, Favuzzi E, Jauset T, Serrano E, Cuartas I, Redondo-Campos S, Folch G, Gonzàlez-Juncà A, Sodir NM, Massó-Vallés D, Beaulieu ME, Swigart LB, Mc Gee MM, Somma MP, Nasi S, Seoane J, Evan GI, Soucek L. Myc inhibition is effective against glioma and reveals a role for Myc in proficient mitosis. Nat Commun 2014; 5: 4632
  • Soucek L, Whitfield JR, Sodir NM, Massó-Vallés D, Serrano E, Karnezis AN, Swigart LB, Evan GI.Inhibition of Myc family proteins eradicates KRas-driven lung cancer in mice. Genes Dev. 2013 Mar; 27(5): 504-13
  • Sodir NM, Soucek L. The Myc world within reach. Methods Mol. Biol. 2013; 1012: 1-6
  • Pello OM, De Pizzol M, Mirolo M, Soucek L, Zammataro L, Amabile A, Doni A, Nebuloni M, Swigart LB, Evan GI, Mantovani A, Locati M. Role of c-MYC in alternative activation of human macrophages and tumor-associated macrophage biology. Blood 2012 Jan; 119(2): 411-21
  • Whitfield JR, Soucek L. Tumor microenvironment: becoming sick of Myc. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 2012 Mar; 69(6): 931-4
  • Sodir NM, Swigart LB, Karnezis AN, Hanahan D, Evan GI, Soucek L. Endogenous Myc maintains the tumor microenvironment. Genes Dev. 2011 May; 25(9): 907-16
  • Savino M, Annibali D, Carucci N, Favuzzi E, Cole MD, Evan GI, Soucek L, Nasi S. The action mechanism of the Myc inhibitor termed Omomyc may give clues on how to target Myc for cancer therapy. PLoS ONE 2011; 6(7): e22284
  • Soucek L, Buggy JJ, Kortlever R, Adimoolam S, Monclús HA, Allende MT, Swigart LB, Evan GI. Modeling pharmacological inhibition of mast cell degranulation as a therapy for insulinoma. Neoplasia 2011 Nov; 13(11): 1093-100
  • Soucek L, Whitfield J, Martins CP, Finch AJ, Murphy DJ, Sodir NM, Karnezis AN, Swigart LB, Nasi S, Evan GI. Modelling Myc inhibition as a cancer therapy. Nature. 2008 Oct 2;455(7213):679-83
  • Soucek L, Lawlor ER, Soto D, Shchors K, Swigart LB, Evan GI. Mast cells are required for angiogenesis and macroscopic expansion of Myc-induced pancreatic islet tumors. Nat Med. 2007 Oct;13(10):1211-8


Image flottante                


                         SANFEY Alan

Director of the Neural Decision Science Laboratory (NDSL)


Short Biography

After studying psychology at the University College in Dublin, Ireland (BA with honours in 1995), Alan Sanfey moved to the University of Colorado to further study cognitive psychology (PhD in 2001). He then was a postdoctoral fellow for two years at Princeton University (USA), before being appointed associate professor at the University of Arizona (USA) in 2004. On top of this position he still holds, he also has been a principal investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour of the Radboud University in Nijmegen (Netherlands) since 2009.

Alan Sanfey is the current director of the Neural Decision Science Laboratory (NDSL) based in three locations: the University of Arizona, the Donders Institute and the University of Trento (Italy). He received prestigious awards and grants, among them an ERC Starting Grant award in 2013, a National Science Foundation award in 2012, a Province of Trentino scientific award in 2008 and a National Institute of Aging R21 award in 2007.

Research interests

Along with his international NDSL lab, Alan Sanfey is interested in investigating the psychological and neural processes underlying how we make decisions and choices. Decision neuroscience offers a novel approach to the study of both individual and interactive decision-making by combining the methods of behavioral experiments, functional neuroimaging, and formal economic models. Use of this methodology has the potential to advance our knowledge of existing theoretical accounts of how people make decisions and judgments by informing and constraining these models based on the underlying neurobiology. Examining sophisticated high-level behavior at a neural level, such as deciding on how much risk to take with an investment or deciding on a strategy when playing a competitive game with an opponent, can  provide important clues as to the fundamental mechanisms by which decision-making operates.

A further goal of his group is to use the knowledge gleaned from these studies to inform public policy debates, for example in understanding how expectations play a role in financial and health-care decisions.

Sources: Decision Neuroscience research group ( and NDSL ( websites

Key Words

Emotion and cognition in decision-making, risk and uncertainty, decision conflict, fairness and cooperation, human-judgment, neural dynamics

Most relevant scientific publications

  • Sanfey, A.G., Civai, C. & Vavra, P. Predicting the other in cooperative interactions. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2015; 19, 364-5.
  • Stallen, M., Smidts, A., De Dreu C.K.W., Shalvi, S. & Sanfey A.G. The herding hormone: Oxytocin stimulates in-group conformity. Psychological Science, 2012; 23, 1288-1292
  • Chang, L.J., Smith, A., Dufwenberg, M. & Sanfey, A.G. Triangulating the neural, psychological, and economic bases of moral sentiments. Neuron, 2011; 70, 560-572.
  • Rilling, J.K & Sanfey, A.G. The neuroscience of social decision-making. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 2011 ; 62, 23-48.
  • Sanfey, A.G. Social decision-making: Insights from Game Theory and Neuroscience. Science, 2007; 318, 598-602.
  • Sanfey, A.G., Rilling, J.K., Aronson J.A., Nystrom L.E., Cohen, J.D. The neural basis of economic decision making in the Ultimatum Game. Science, 2003 ; 300, 1755-1758.
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