Ana Victoria Lechuga-Vieco
Ana Victoria completed her PhD in Molecular Biomedicine at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 2018. During that period, she studied several aspects of the mitochondrial genetics in physiology and pathology under the supervision of Prof. Jose Antonio Enriquez at the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC). Her initial studies were focused on exploring the process of transfer of the mitochondrial genome from mothers to their offspring, understanding the mechanisms that regulate the mtDNA segregation, necessary for the development of novel strategies to prevent mother-to-child transfer of mutated mitochondrial DNA that cause mitochondrial diseases. Later, she showed that the selection between mtDNA haplotypes coexisting in the same cell depends on their impact on cell metabolism and can be influenced by differences in gene function, the action of drugs, or dietary changes, identifying molecular targets to control mitochondrial selection.
As a biotechnologist and biochemist with a keen interest in immunology, she contributed during her first postdoctoral position to the elucidation of how cardiac resident macrophages contribute to global tissue homeostasis by active local elimination of cardiomyocyte-derived mitochondria.
In 2019, she moved into the group of Prof. Vincenzo Cerundolo at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (University of Oxford) to study the role and identification of immunogenic neo-epitopes derived from mitochondrial-derived peptides that are expressed during the tumoral metabolic switch.
After securing an EMBO Long Term Postdoctoral Fellowship, Ana Victoria has recently joined the lab of Prof. Katja Simon to pursue her interest in immunometabolism. She will study how the mitochondrial genetics and different mitochondrial metabolic signatures impacts in the selective removal of the organelle during T cell reprogramming and senescence.
Ana has been awarded with the Award for Young Influential People (2016, Spanish Government, Category: University), the Enrique Flores’ Foundation Research Project prize (2017), Bright Spark Award at European Congress of Immunology (2018) and was included in the list of the 30 Top Spanish Women under 30’s by the journal of Mujer Hoy (2018, Spain) in recognition of her research contributions.