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Acanda De La Rocha, Arlet M.

Title: Postdoctoral Associate

Phone: 305-348-8438


Department(s): Neuroscience

Arlet’s first contact with science was as an undergraduate student investigating the role of gangliosides in regulating dendritic cell function on the Vaccine Department of the Centre of Molecular Immunology (Cuba), where she developed her project thesis to obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry by the University of Habana (Cuba) in 2007. Then, in 2011 she moved to Santander (Spain) to obtain a M.S. in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine in the University of Cantabria (Spain), after received a Scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain. Her M.S. project involved the study of the pharmacological interaction of mu-opioid and serotonin receptors and their involvement in the development of morphine tolerance and dependence. Later on, she obtained a Doctoral Fellowship from the University of Navarra and joined Marta Alonso laboratory at CIMA (Pamplona, Spain). There she studied the role of SOX2 and its transcriptional networks in Glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs), identifying a specific miRNA signature regulated by SOX2 in GSCs. Specifically, she identifies a novel onco-miR controlled by SOX2, which is over-expressed in Glioblastoma. Her studies demonstrate that this onco-miR is essential for GSC survival, neurosphere formation, and cell-cycle progression. In vivo studies showed that inhibition of the onco-miR extended survival in an orthotopic Glioblastoma mouse model, potentially leading to new therapeutic opportunities. She obtained her Ph.D. “cum laude” in September 2016.

Dr. Acanda started as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Neuroscience Department at FIU in May 2017, under the mentorship of Dr. Sergio Gonzalez-Arias and in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Jeremy Chambers. Her current work is focused on the study of JNK signaling in Glioblastoma, with special emphasis on the intersection between cellular metabolism and the pro-oncogenic properties of GSCs. Her ultimate goal is to find a  therapeutic window to exploit GSCs vulnerabilities for better Glioblastoma treatment strategies. 


Acanda de la Rocha AM, Lopez-Bertoni H, Guruceaga E, Puigdemont M, González-Huarriz M, Martínez-Vélez N, Fueyo J, Laterra J, Alonso MM. 2018. miR-425-5p, a SOX2 target, regulates expression of FOXJ3 and RAB31 and induces apoptosis in GSCs. Molecular Cancer Research (under review).

Guillermo Aldave, Marisol González-Huarriz, Angel Rubio, Juan Pablo Romero, Datta Ravi, Belén Miñana, Mar Cuadrado-Tejedor, Ana García-Osta, Roeland Verhaak, Enric Xipell, Naiara Martínez-Vélez, Arlet Maria Acanda de la Rocha, Beatriz Vera, Miguel Marigil, Jaime Gállego, Oskar Marín-Bejar, Maria Stella Carro, Roberto Ferrarese, Cristóbal Belda-Iniesta, Angel Ayuso, Fernando Pastor, Ricardo Díez Valle, Sonia Tejada-Solís, Marta Alonso. (2018). The aberrant splicing of BAF45d links splicing regulation and transcription in glioblastoma. Neuro Oncol. 20(7):930-941. PMID: 29373718.

Varela MJ, Acanda de la Rocha AM, Díaz A, Lopez-Gimenez JF. (2017). Potentiation of morphine-induced antinociception and locomotion by citalopram is accompanied by anxiolytic-like effects. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 163:83-89. PMID: 29024681.

Acanda de la Rocha AM, Lopez-Bertoni H, Guruceaga E, González-Huarriz M, Martínez-Vélez N, Xipell E, Fueyo J, Gomez-Manzano C, Alonso MM. (2016). Analysis of SOX2-regulated transcriptome in glioma stem cells. PlosOne.11(9):e0163155. PMID: 27669421.

Xipell E, Aragón T, Martínez-Velez N, Vera B, Idoate MA, Martínez-Irujo JJ, Garzón AG, Gonzalez-Huarriz M, Acanda AM, Jones C, Lang FF, Fueyo J, Gomez-Manzano C, Alonso MM. (2016). Endoplasmic reticulum stress-inducing drugs sensitize glioma cells to temozolomide through downregulation of MGMT, MPG, and Rad51. Neuro Oncol. 18(8):1109-19. PMID: 26951384. 

Martínez-Vélez N, Xipell E, Vera B, Acanda de la Rocha A, Zalacain M, Marrodan L, Gonzalez-Huarriz M, Toledo G, Cascallo M, Alemany R, Patiño-García A, Alonso MM. (2016). The oncolytic adenovirus VCN-01 as therapeutic approach against pediatric osteosarcoma. Clin Cancer Res. 22(9):2217-25. PMID: 26603261.

Vera B, Martínez-Vélez N, Xipell E, de la Rocha A, Patiño A, Castresana JS, Gonzalez-Huarriz M, Cascallo M, Alemany R, Alonso MM. 2016. Characterization of the antiglioma effect of the oncolytic adenovirus VCN-01. PLoS One. 11(1): e0147211. PMID: 26808201.

Campa VM, Capilla A, Varela MJ, Acanda de la Rocha AM, Fernandez-Troyano JC, Barreiro RB, Lopez-Gimenez JF. (2015). Endocytosis as a Biological Response in Receptor Pharmacology: Evaluation by Fluorescence Microscopy. Plos-One. Apr 7;10(4):e0122604. PMID: 25849355. 

de la Rocha AM, Sampron N, Alonso MM, Matheu A. (2014). Role of SOX family of transcription factors in central nervous system tumors. Am J Cancer Res 16;4(4):312-24.PMID: 25057435.

Arlet M. Acanda de la Rocha (2012). Co-morbidities, biochemical and genetic aspects in Gaucher’s disease: molecular diagnosis in Cuba. Rev Cubana Genet Comunit. 6(1):8-19. 

Lavaut K, Rubio T, Collazo T, Esperón AA, Reyes L, Collazo T, Acanda AM. (2011). Identification of a Novel Mutation, I403T, in Cuban Type 1 Gaucher Disease. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 46, 327. PMID: 21411350.