CHIARA AMBROGIO, 2019

Career Development Award Project Title

“Understanding novel features of KRAS biology to discover new therapeutic vulnerabilities”, 2019

Who she is

Chiara Ambrogio got her B.S./M.S. in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Torino, Italy, in 2004. In 2008, she got a PhD in Immunology and Cellular Biology from the same University, working under Roberto Chiarle’s supervision.
For her postdoc training, she joined the lab of Mariano Barbacid at the Molecular Oncology Program at the CNIO, Madrid, Spain, in 2009. She later moved to the Medical Oncology Department at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston to complete her translational training in Pasi Janne’s lab as Senior Scientist (2016-2019).
At the end of 2019 she established her independent Armenise Harvard Lab at the Molecular Biotechnology Center (MBC), University of Torino, where she is also affiliated as Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology.

What she does

Cellular homeostasis is controlled by the RAS-MAPK pathway. This pathway is dysregulated in human diseases, especially cancer, in which more than 50% of cases carry aberrations that hyperactivate the RAS-MAPK signaling. In this context, KRAS mutations are the most frequent oncogenic drivers. Therapeutic suppression of pathogenic KRAS-RAF-MAPK signaling to achieve disease control in cancer patients still represents a challenging target.
As a postdoc in Mariano Barbacid’s lab, Chiara made significant contributions to the understanding of KRAS-driven lung tumorigenesis by focusing on the early stages of tumor progression in vivo (Ambrogio et al, Nature Medicine, 2016). Later on at the DFCI, Harvard Medical School she further characterized drug resistance mechanisms of KRAS-mutant cancer cells from a translational perspective (Ambrogio et al, Cell, 2018).
Thanks to the Armenise Harvard Career Development Award, she is now back to Italy with her independent lab focusing on molecular oncology at the MBC (Molecular Biotechnology Center) in Torino.

News from the Lab

The research focus of Chiara Ambrogio’s lab is to characterize in vitro and in vivo the “KRAS signalosome”, defined as the functional protein complex engaging KRAS and related effectors, modulators and adaptors at the cell membrane. In terms of translational impact, the understanding of detailed mechanisms regulating the formation of the KRAS signalosome at the membrane would be fundamental to discover new therapeutic strategies for KRAS-mutant cancer