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HomeProjects2024 | Early Career Investigator (ECI) Short-term Scientific Stay Award (S3A)

2024 | Early Career Investigator (ECI) Short-term Scientific Stay Award (S3A)






Jonathan B

2024 | Early Career Investigator (ECI) Short-term Scientific Stay Award (S3A) 

The Winner:  

Jonathan Baldan, a postdoctoral researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel is the winner of the 2024 PCE Early Career Investigator short-term scientific stay award. Jonathan will be joining Prof. Francisco Real’s lab at CNIO, Madrid, Spain, to advance research in pancreatic cancer.

The project: 

Jonathan Baldan shares “Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is projected to become one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths by 2030. Although genetic and environmental factors are known contributors, understanding the cells of origin remains a critical gap in our knowledge. Pancreatic acinar cells can develop into cancer precursor lesions when they express an activating mutation in the Kras gene. Additionally, there is increasing evidence for the presence of acinar cell subpopulations, but the exact contribution of these subpopulations to cancer development is still unclear.

To address this fundamental question, I propose using genetically engineered mouse models and inducing the activation of these cell subpopulations through compound treatment. These studies will enable us to determine the extent to which transcriptomically defined subpopulations are functionally heterogeneous in their capacity to initiate pancreatic cancer. I hypothesize that a specific subpopulation is positively selected during disease progression and is particularly prone to cancer development. The final analysis will reveal whether these subpopulations need to be targeted and will elucidate the molecular mechanisms driving their transformation and expansion, leading to biomarker discovery and new treatment options.”

Results and outputs

The results will be made available upon the completion of the project.