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Sandra Castillo


Institut de Recerca contra la Leucèmia Josep Carreras, Spain

Sandra Castillo is a Junior PI in the Group of Dr. Mariona Graupera at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute. She obtained her B.Sc. in Biology at the Universidad de Navarra followed by a Ph.D. in cancer genetics from Universitat de Barcelona where she studied new genes involved in cancer development at the laboratory of Dr. Montse Sanchez-Cespedes. In 2012 she joined the laboratory of Prof. Bart Vanhaesebroeck in London to study oncogenic PI3K signalling in cancer and rare syndromes. There, she discovered new genetic events in vascular malformations and provided preclinical models and proof of concept for the use of PI3K pathway inhibitors for the treatment of these diseases. Back in Barcelona, in 2017 she joined the laboratory of Dr. Mariona Graupera with a Marie Curie Fellowship and she has recently obtained independent funding as principal investigator from la Caixa Junior Leader Fellowship to develop research lines aimed at the understanding of rare genetic syndromes caused by oncogenic signalling.


  • Blockade of VEGF-C signaling inhibits lymphatic malformations driven by oncogenic PIK3CA mutation.
    Martinez-Corral I, Zhang Y, Petkova M, Ortsäter H, Sjöberg S, Castillo SD, Brouillard P, Libbrecht L, Saur D, Graupera M, Alitalo K, Boon L, Vikkula M, Mäkinen T. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 8;11(1):2869. 
  • PIK3CA mutations in vascular malformations
    Castillo SD, Baselga E, Graupera M. Curr Opin Hematol. 2019 May;26(3):170-178. 
  • Endothelial cell rearrangements during vascular patterning require PI3-kinase-mediated inhibition of actomyosin contractility.
    Angulo-Urarte A, Casado P, Castillo SD, Kobialka P, Kotini MP, Figueiredo AM, Castel P, Rajeeve V, Milà-Guasch M, Millan J, Wiesner C, Serra H, Muixi L, Casanovas O, Viñals F, Affolter M, Gerhardt H, Huveneers S, Belting HG, Cutillas PR, Graupera M. Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 16;9(1):4826.
  • Oncogenic PIK3CA induces centrosome amplification and tolerance to genome doubling.
    Berenjeno IM, Piñeiro R, Castillo SD, Pearce W, McGranahan N, Dewhurst SM, Meniel V, Birkbak NJ, Lau E, Sansregret L, Morelli D, Kanu N, Srinivas S, Graupera M, Parker VER, Montgomery KG, Moniz LS, Scudamore CL, Phillips WA, Semple RK, Clarke A, Swanton C, Vanhaesebroeck B. Nat Commun. 2017 Nov 24;8(1):1773.
  • Phosphoinositide 3-kinase: a new kid on the block in vascular anomalies.
    Castillo SD, Vanhaesebroeck B, Sebire NJ. J Pathol. 2016 Dec;240(4):387-396.
  • Somatic activating mutations in Pik3ca cause sporadic venous malformations in mice and humans
    Sandra D Castillo, Elena Tzouanacou, May Zaw-Thin, Inma M Berenjeno, Victoria E R Parker, Iñigo Chivite, Maria Milà-Guasch, Wayne Pearce, Isabelle Solomon, Ana Angulo-Urarte, Ana M Figueiredo, Robert E Dewhurst, Rachel G Knox, Graeme R Clark , Cheryl L Scudamore, Adam Badar, Tammy L Kalber, Julie Foster, Daniel J Stuckey, Anna L David , Wayne A Phillips, Mark F Lythgoe, Valerie Wilson, Robert K Semple, Neil J Sebire, Veronica A Kinsler, Mariona Graupera, Bart Vanhaesebroeck Sci Transl Med. 2016 Mar 30;8(332):332ra43.