Scientific program, May 15th 2015

last update: March 31, 2015

V-ATPase and tumorigenesis


Angelika Vollmar

Angelika Vollmar

LMU, Munich, DE

V-ATPase a promising target in cancer biology: recent activities of our DFG-research group 1406

Angelika Vollmar was trained as a pharmacist and obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Biology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. With a fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG) she carried out a postdoctoral training with Dr. Harvey R. Herschmann at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UCLA, USA focusing on constructing "magic bullets" against cancer such as EGF-toxin conjugates. Back in Germany she expanded her scientific experiences moving to the School of Veterinary Medicine working on biogenic drugs such as natriuretic peptides and became Associate Professor for Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacy.
Receiving a Chair position and full Professorship at the Department of Pharmacy in Munich Dr. Vollmar continued to promote natural product research as she is truly convinced that nature provides a fascinating pool of substances for drug development. The Vollmar Lab aims at deciphering the therapeutical potential of natural compounds focussing on cancer. In particular, natural compounds are characterized with respect to their effects on tumor metabolism, tumor growth and metastasis as well as tumor angiogenesis. As such Dr. Vollmar is speaker of the DFG-Research Group 1406 ( ) concentrating on compounds of myxobacterial origin and their impact on cancer therapy.
Dr. Vollmar is engaged in a number of scientific organisations: she has been member of the "Senate of the German Research Foundation (DFG)", she is speaker of the Scientific Advisory Board of the "Robert-Bosch-Stiftung", member of the advisory board of the "Deutsche Krebshilfe" and of DECHEMA ("Small Molecule Natural Compounds with Biological Activity"). Among other awards she received the "Bundesverdienstkreuz- the order of merit of the federal republic of germany". Last but not least Dr. Vollmar shows a burning commitment in promoting the careers of young researchers being involved in a variety of mentoring programs.


Sofia Avnet

Sofia Avnet

IOR, Bologna, IT

Vacuolar ATPase as a novel target to enhance chemosensitivity in human musculo-skeletal sarcomas

Sofia Avnet works as a Biotechnologist at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, at the Lab. for Orthopaedic Pathophysiology and Regenerative Medicine, in Bologna, Italy. Prof. Avnet's research interests are mainly focused on bone cell biology and bone tumours. She has recently gain interest in the role of the V-ATPase and of proton secretion in the tumour invasiveness and chemoresistance in Ewing's sarcoma and osteosarcoma, and in the role of different ion/proton transporters in bone metastases. More recently, she also has been focused on the metabolic reprogramming during the stroma-tumor interactions. She has published around 40 papers in international scientific journals and has been recipient of several grants on research on bone metastases as Principal Investigator, among which the grant for young investigator from the Italian Association of Cancer Research (AIRC). She has received numerous national and international awards for research, like the Young Investigator Award in 2002 from the Connective Tissue Oncology Society. Prof. Avnet is the President of the International Society of Cancer Metabolism (ISCaM).


Valentina Vaira

Valentina Vaira

INGM, Milan, IT

Vacuolar H+ ATPase in human glioma

Valentina Vaira is a junior PI at Istituto Nazionale di Genetica Molecolare (INGM) in Milan. She graduated from Milan University Faculty of Veterinary Biotechnologies in 2002 and received her Ph.D degree in Molecular Oncology in 2006. From 2010 to 2013 she collaborated as a post-Doc fellow at the Division of Pathology of Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda with Profs. Silvano Bosari and Stefano Ferrero on microRNA deregulation in human carcinogenesis. As part of her training, she spent time in foreign academic research centers such as University of Massachusetts Medical School, Harvard University - Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and The Wistar Institute, to acquire knowledge and skills in molecular and cellular biology, transgenic mouse models, and to develop an ex-vivo tissue culture platform suitable for preclinical tests. This training contributed in generating research papers and provided the basis for long-term scientific projects. As a "Young Researcher" she was financed from the Italian Ministry of Health (2011-02351626) and in 2014 from Fondazione Cariplo (2014-1148). Moreover, in 2014 she gained the first joint grant in Molecular Medicine launched by INGM and Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda for young investigators.


Coffee and poster session


Kenneth D. Beaman

Kenneth D. Beaman

Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago, USA

Synergism between V-ATPase of Tumors and of Tumor Macrophage

Dr. Kenneth Beaman received his Bachelors Degree in 1975 from Colorado State University. He was a fellow in the Clinical Microbiology Lab at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation from 1975 to 1978. He received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in Microbiology and Immunology in 1982. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology at Yale from 1982 to 1985. During his fellowship at Yale University he was a member of the transplantation laboratory. His research interests are in clinical immunology and in immune suppression, particularly during pregnancy. In 1985, he joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Chicago Medical School. He founded the Clinical Immunology Laboratory at the Chicago Medical School in 1987. The Clinical Immunology Laboratory supports a variety of autoimmune/rheumatology testing but primarily is interested in diagnostic tests pertaining to the immunology of pregnancy. Dr. Beaman is a fellow of the American Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists and a Diplomat of the American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology. The Clinical Immunology Laboratory is one of three laboratories in the United States certified by the Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Program (CPEP) approved postdoctoral training in Clinical Immunology that is accredited by the American Society of Microbiology. He is on the council of several national and international societies of both Reproductive and Clinical Immunology. Dr. Beaman was the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology.


Michael Forgac

Michael Forgac

Tufts University, Boston, USA

Regulation and Function of V-ATPases in Breast Tumor Cell Invasion

My laboratory is focused on understanding the function, mechanism and regulation of the vacuolar ATPases (VATPases). The V-ATPases are a family of ATP-driven proton pumps that acidify intracellular compartments and transport protons across the plasma membrane. They play an important role in many normal physiological processes, including receptor trafficking, pH homeostasis and bone resorption. They have also been implicated in a variety of human diseases, including viral infection, osteoporosis and cancer. My laboratory seeks to understand how V-ATPases carry out ATP-driven proton transport and how their activity is regulated in vivo. We are also interested in understanding their role in tumor metastasis and exploring their potential as therapeutic targets for the treatment of cancer.


Closing remarks

Lunch buffet

^ top