BIST Colloquium Series 2020-21: Prof. Sarah Maria Fendt

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Metabolic regulation of metastasis formation

by Prof. Sarah-Maria Fendt of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)


Metabolic rewiring is a hallmark of cancer cells. However, how nutrients drive the ability of cancer cells to rewire their metabolism is poorly defined. We are investigating the in vivo nutrient metabolism during metastasis formation to mechanistically understand how nutrients from the microenvironment enable cancers to progress from a local to a systemic disease. Using 13C tracer infusions in mouse models we find that nutrient availability shapes the metabolism and phenotype of cells and subsequently promotes the progression of cancer. Consequently, interfering with nutrient metabolism emerges as a promising therapeutic strategy against cancer. Taken together, our research highlights that nutrient metabolism is an important driver of cancer progression.


Sarah-Maria Fendt is a Principal Investigator at the VIB Center for Cancer Biology and Associate Professor of Oncology at KU Leuven, Belgium. Sarah has a Master degree of Science in Biochemistry from TU Munich, Germany and a PhD in Molecular Systems Biology from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Sarah worked has a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT, USA, before joining VIB and KU Leuven in 2013. Sarah’s lab is specifically interested in elucidating general regulatory principles in metabolism, and understanding cancer metabolism during metastasis formation as well as during altered nutrient availability. To perform novel research in her fields of interest her group exploits their expertise in metabolomics and fluxomics. The research of Sarah’s lab is currently funded by multiple (inter)national grants and industry, which include an ERC consolidator grant.


Speaker invited by IRB Barcelona and colloquium moderated by Roger Gomis.

The colloquium is part of the BIST Master of Research curriculum but is also open and free for anyone interested in participating.


Register now
The session will be hosted through Zoom online conference application. If you have not used this platform previously, you will be prompted to download the software to access the meeting (the process is automatic and does not require more than one minute).


Next colloquia will be:


October 19 – Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. Viola Vogel of the ETH Zürich

October 21 – Prof. Fabrizio d’Adda of the IFOM

October 26 – Prof. Raffaella Buonsanti of the EPFL

November 2 – Prof. Dr. Oscar Franco of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine

November 9 – Georgia Theano Papadakis of Stanford University

November 16 – Rogério Rosenfeld of Universidade Estadual Paulista