Florence Janody is the Coordinator of the ACTIN DYNAMICS Group, at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC), Oeiras, Portugal, under an FCT Investigator contract. She will be moving in 2018 to Instituto de Patologia e Imunologia Molecular da Universidade do Porto (Ipatimup)/ Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S), Porto, Portugal to lead the CYTOSKELETON REGULATION and CANCER group.
Since she had started her career in 1995, as a Ph.D. Student, her main research interest has been to understand how signal transduction cascades work. Her contribution to the field gave rise to 25 publications with a total number of 704 citations with an overall H-factor of 14.
During the course of her research training, she analyzed how developmental genetic regulatory networks control cell fate decision. She established her independency in 2007 with the goal of characterizing the role of the actin cytoskeleton in signal transduction pathways. Using Drosophila melanogaster, inducible human cell lines that recapitulate the multistep development of cancer and tumor samples, her laboratory composed of a maximum of 6 investigators, has proven to be highly productive with 10 research manuscripts published in competitive fields. 9 were published in the top 15% journal in the research area with an average 5-years impact factor of 7.29. Her first publication as a group leader has already been cited 147 times (García Fernández et al., 2011) and initiated a whole field of investigation in deciphering the role of actomyosin in controlling the conserved Hippo tumor suppressor pathway. Taken together, her team has reported the existence of reciprocal feedbacks between the actin cytoskeleton and the activity of various cancer pathways. Her work argues that F-actin translates upstream signals into mechanical and/or biochemical signaling to the nucleus to control the development of cancer precursors.
Her current aim is to understand the role of actin deregulation in the development of pre-malignant cancer features. To tackle these questions, she is using complementary models:
• The in vivo model Drosophila melanogaster.
• Inducible human cell lines that recapitulate the multistep development of cancer.
• Tumor samples.
• Computational modeling.
She has completed the supervision of 3 Ph.D. and 5 Master Students and 2 Postdocs. Among which 8 are pursuing an academic career in science or joined the private sector as researchers. Moreover, she has established diverse collaborations "IN HOUSE" (Dr. J. Pereira Leal and Dr. C. Chaouiya), NATIONAL (Dr. J. Paredes, and Dr. R. Seruca at IPATIMUP/I3S, Porto) and INTERNATIONAL (Dr. F. Pignoni at Center for Vision Research, Syracuse, USA; Dr. N. Tapon and Dr. M. Way at the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK; Dr. F. Casares at Centro Andaluz de Biologia del Desarrollo, Sevilla, Spain; Dr. J. Guck at Biotechnology Center, Dresden, Germany; Dr. A. Stein at Department of Human Genetics, KULeuven, Belgium; Dr. J.L. White at Cancer Research UK, London, UK). So far, these collaborations have been highly productive, giving rise to 6 manuscripts published in international journal.