***Francisco J. Sanchez-Luque


Francisco Sanchez-Luque 

Dr. Francisco Jose Sanchez-Luque, currently a Research Fellow in the Genome Plasticity and Disease (GDP) group, in Mater Research Institute (MRI), Brisbane area (Australia), from February 2015.

He is currently funded by the European Council through a Marie Curie-International Outgoing Fellowship (Seventh Framework Programme, Marie Curie Actions). Technically based in the group of ‘Biology of LINE-1 Retrotransposons’, in Pfizer-University of Granada-Andalusian Government Centre for Genomics and Oncologic Research (Genyo), Granada (Spain), his project comprises an outgoing phase in the GPD group at Mater as a secondment. This outgoing phase is currently ongoing.

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Dr. Sanchez-Luque obtained the bachelor degree in Biology in the University of Cordoba (Spain), in 2003, where he was awarded the Extraordinary Prize of Degree in 2004. During this time, he specialized in Molecular Biology and underwent research activities in the departments of Microbiology and Cellular Biology, Physiology and Immunology. Partially overlapping with the Bachelor Degree, he performed two research stays in the laboratory of Dr. Joaquin Teixido working on chemokines and cell migration in the Centre of Biological Research, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid (Spain).

Dr. Sanchez-Luque PhD is titled ‘Inhibitor RNAs against Human Immunodeficiency Virus’ (HIV) and was developed in the laboratory of Dr. Alfredo Berzal-Herranz, in the Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine ‘Lopez-Neyra’ (IPB-LN), from CSIC, Granada (Spain). This involved the use of ribozymes, aptamers and natural antisense RNAs as functional substrates to engineer RNAs targeting the genomic RNA of HIV either to destroy or to disable some of its functional domains. Here he developed a strong interest in the research in functional RNA molecules and their link with the origin of the life. During the PhD period, Dr. Sanchez-Luque performed a short stay in the Laboratory of Retrovirology, under supervision of Prof. Ben Berkhout, in the Academic Medical Centre (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. The major achievements of this work were the contribution to the elucidation of the mechanistic model for HIV RNA dimerization and the development of a short (16nt) inhibitor RNA that was subject of a patent. The latter was product of a collaboration established with Dr. Carlos Briones, from the Centre of Astrobiology (CAB) (CSIC-INTA), which combined experimentally obtained RNA molecules population and bioinformatic identification and refinement of a functional RNA motif inhibiting HIV. Dr. Sanchez-Luque’s PhD was funded by a ‘university professorate training fellowship’ from the extinct Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) from 2005 to 2008.

Dr. Sanchez-Luque moved to the laboratory of Dr. Manuel C. Lopez and Dr. M. Carmen Thomas from 2010 to 2014, also at the IPB-LN. There, he first contacted the research in mobile elements, studying the retrotransposon L1Tc in Trypanosoma cruzi, causative agent of Chagas disease. Here, he combined his experience in functional RNAs and described the presence of a rare ribozyme in the 5′ end of the RNA of this retrotransposon. This ribozyme was further characterized in other related elements in Trypanosomatids, like NARTc (in T. cruzi), L1Tco and NARTco (in T. congolense) as well as different SIDER elements in T. vivax and Leishmania spp. During this period, Dr. Sanchez-Luque’s research was funded by the Cooperative Research Network in Tropical Diseases (RICET).

On February 2014, Dr. Sanchez-Luque started as a Research Officer in the GPD group at MRI, co-funded by the Spanish Foundation Martin Escudero and MRI. The major aim during this period was the research on the activity of mobile genetic elements (particularly LINE-1 or L1) during the neurogenesis in the adult brain, and its possible relation with some neurological diseases like Rett syndrome. In 2015, Dr. Sanchez-Luque was upgraded to Research Fellow since he obtained a Marie Curie-International Outgoing Fellowship, and started as a secondment from Genyo. During 2015, Dr. Sanchez-Luque has contributed to the elucidation of the transposition rate of the L1 in the neurogenic regions of the human brain and is currently working to understand the impact of this somatic genome reshaping carried out by L1 in the brain function.

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  • Berzal-Herranz A, Briones C, Sanchez-Luque FJ, Manrubia SC, Stich M. Molecules Inhibiting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1), Method for the Production Thereof and Applications of Same. Jan 21st, 2016 (Filled in Nov 22nd, 2013). Publication N0. Europe 13857023.9 – 1401 PCT/ES2013070809.