As an undergraduate fellow in the Department of Physiology at the University of Buenos Aires, I became interested in digestive exocrine secretions. I studied the role of natriuretic peptides in the central and peripheral regulation of salivary, pancreatic and bile secretions. This experience gave me a broad background in the physiology of digestive secretions. During my PhD in the Department of Pathophysiology at the University of Buenos Aires, I developed expertise and motivation in the function of exocrine pancreas. I studied how atrial and C-type natriuretic peptides modulate pancreatic secretion. Next, I pursued a post-doctoral position in John Williams’ lab in the Department of Physiology at the University of Michigan. My area of research focused on small GTP-binding proteins involved in the regulation of
pancreatic amylase secretion. I studied the role for Rap1, RhoA
and Rac1 in the regulation of amylase secretion and the intracellular
mechanisms by which the small G proteins evoked the secretory response. As a result of my graduate and post-doctoral positions, I developed a deep knowledge in the area of exocrine pancreas
My research interest focuses on two general areas:
a) Investigating the role of small G protein effectors in the pancreatic tumorigenesis. Small GTP-binding proteins are composed of five major families: Ras, Rho, Rab, Ran and Arf. The proteins cycle between two forms: an inactive GDP-bound form and an active GTP-bound form. Upon a small G protein is activated, it interacts with downstream effectors and induces a response. My research focuses on identifying small G protein effectors in pancreatic cancer cells and establishing their involvement in the tumorigenesis of pancreatic cancer.
b) Identifying which adenylate cyclase isoform is implicated in the proliferation and differentiation of pancreatic cancer cells. Adenylate cyclase is an enzyme which increases the levels of cyclic AMP when it is activated. Cyclic AMP is implicated in the proliferation and differentiation of several normal and malignant cell types, including pancreatic cancer cells. My research plan is to study the expression profile of adenylate cyclase isoforms in pancreatic cancer cells and identify which adenylate cyclase is important in proliferation and differentiation of pancreatic carcinoma.