Robert Kypta
Robert Kypta
Phone: 4228 / 944 061 328
Address: Bizkaia Science and Technology Park,
building 801A, Derio (Bizkaia)

Robert Kypta was an undergraduate at Oxford University and carried out his PhD at EMBL in Heidelberg, where he studied the roles of Src family tyrosine kinases in the cellular response to PDGF. He did his postdoctoral training in Louis Reichardt’s lab at the University of California San Francisco on cell adhesion in neurons, fi nding an association between the cadherin-catenin complex and receptor tyrosine phosphatases. He returned to the UK to start his own lab as a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, focusing on catenin function in cell models of neuroblastoma and colorectal cancer. He then took up a Lectureship at Imperial College London, where his group identifi ed new links between components of the Wnt signalling network and the androgen receptor, a key driver of prostate cancer progression and a major therapeutic target. He set up his lab at CIC bioGUNE in 2005 with the goal of developing new therapies based on studies of signalling pathways that determine tumour and stem cell fate. His research has resulted in several awards, including an ARTP Prize and an Androgens Meeting Prize.

The Wnt signalling pathway lab is interested in understanding how extracellular signals, such as those mediated by Wnt proteins, determine cell fate and function. Studies are focused on cell signalling in two areas: cancer, particularly metastatic and treatment-resistant disease, and neural stem cell differentiation, which is of relevance to the development of therapies for stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. A major goal is to identify and characterise Wnt receptors and effectors in both contexts and use this information to develop new therapies. The Wnts are secreted lipoproteins that play important roles during embryonic development. Wnt signals are frequently deregulated in disease, particularly in cancer. We have been studying Wnt-11, which is expressed in metastatic and drug-resistant prostate cancer and in colorectal cancer. We recently identified FZD8 as a major Wnt-11 receptor in prostate cancer, where it integrates Wnt and TGF-β signals to promote tumour cell invasion. A second area of interest, being pursued in collaboration with colleagues at Imperial College London, is the function of Dkk-3, a secreted protein that inhibits tumour cell growth and invasion by regulating the tumour microenvironment. We are currently developing a CRISPR-based epigenetic approach to restore DKK3 expression in cancer cells. The team comprises Irantzu Gorrono, who is characterising Wnt-11 mutants and antibodies and also provides technical assistance and training, Inmaculada Lopez, a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral fellow studying Wnt co-receptors and 3 PhD students funded by Basque Government Fellowships - Virginia Murillo, who is focusing on FZD8, Estibaliz Orue, who studies Wnt signalling in breast cancer stem cells, in collaboration with María Vivanco, and Saray Sanchez, who is developing Wnt-11 antibody nanoparticles, in collaboration with Aitziber Cortajarena at CIC bioMAGUNE.