Dr Fatima Valdes Mora

Group Leader - Histone Variants

Senior Research Officer

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Conjoint Senior Lecturer, St Vincent's Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney

Dr Fatima Valdes Mora completed her PhD in 2008 at Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, Spain) and moved to Australia in 2009 to join the Cancer Epigenetics group at the Garvan Institute.

Fatima’s PhD and postdoctoral career are in the field of Cancer Epigenetics Research. Her interest in histone variants and the interaction with other epigenetic factors started in 2009 as part of her postdoctoral project. In 2013, she became the group leader of the Histone Variants group as a new independent branch within the Epigenetics Research Program. The major interest of the Histone Variant Group is to study the molecular mechanisms of how histone variants regulate aberrant gene transcription in cancer; these molecular events involve the effects of histone variants in other epigenetic mechanisms in particular in nucleosome positioning as well as the upstream machinery that regulates the incorporation of histone variants into the chromatin.

Since starting her scientific career in 2004, Fatima has published 14 papers and is also an inventor of a patent. She currently holds a National Breast Cancer Foundation/ Cure Cancer Australia Foundation Postdoctoral Training Fellowship (4 years, 2013-2017).  She is Co-Investigator in a NHMRC project grant that it is currently funding her research. She is also a member of the Australian Society for Medical Research, workplace equity committee and advisory board member of the 2015 Next Generation Sequencing and Single Cell genomics and transcriptomics Asia Congress.  

Research Interests

Histone variants
Epigenetics of Elf5 in anti-estrogen resistant breast cancer
Nucleosome positioning.
Readers and drives of the incorporation of histone variants into the nucleosomes.
Next generation sequencing techniques
Clinical significance of the expression of histone variants in cancer
Single-cell epigenomics

Awards and Honours

2015- Winner of Spanish Made of Talent initiative. Medicine and Science Category.
2015- Heliflite Young Explorer Award
2013-2017 - National Breast Cancer Foundation/ Cure Cancer Australia Foundation Postdoctoral Training Fellowship
2013 - Member of the advisory panel for NGS Asia Congress for 2013
2012 - EMBL Conference Fellowship to attend to 10th EMBL Conference Transcription and Chromatin
2012 - Fresh Science state finalist
2012 - Runner-up of the Young Garvan Award
2012 - External Assessor for NHMRC Project Grants
2011 - First Poster Prize. 5th PacRim, Breast & Prostate Cancer Meeting
2011 - Grant reviewer for the Health Research Council of New Zealand
2010 - New Concept award. NSW/ACT AEpiA Branch Meeting
2010-present - Member of the reviewer panel for Clinical and Translational Oncology peer-reviewed journal
2007 - Travel Grant, Spanish Ministry of Science and Education
2006 - FPU PhD Scholarship, Spanish Ministry of Science and Education
2005 - I3P PhD Scholarship (CSIC)
2004 - Introduction to Research Scholarship (CSIC)
2003 - Undergraduate student collaboration Scholarship, Spanish Ministry of Science and Education


2008 - PhD, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine, Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) - Spain
2004 - BSc, Biochemistry, Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) - Spain
2002 - MSc, Chemistry, Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) - Spain


Title: “KIAA1456 expression predicts survival in patients with colon cancer”

INVENTORS: Juan Carlos Lacal Sanjuán, Fatima Valdés Mora, Teresa Gómez del Pulgar, Arancha Cebrián.

European Patent Application No: 11382238.1 filed on July 14, 2011

Priority country: Spain

Titular Entity: Translational Cancer Drugs Pharma S.L. (TCD Pharma)

Country Extension: International (provisional US patent application 61/525,367 filed on August 19, 2011)

Running Company: Translational Cancer Drugs Pharma S.L. (TCD Pharma)

(* Now extended to the US Appl No: 61/490,658, PCT/EP12/58778)

Selected Publications

Valdés-Mora F#, Locke WJ, Bandrés E, Gallego-Ortega D; Cejas P, García-Cabezas MA, Feliú J, Gallego-Ortega D, Colino-Sanguino Y, Gómez del Pulgar T, Lacal JC#. Clinical relevance of the transcriptional signature regulated by CDC42 in colorectal cancer. Oncotarget. March, 2017. (#Co-corresponding authors)
Stirzaker C, Song JZ, Ng W, Du Q, Armstrong NJ, Locke WJ, Statham AL, French H, Pidsley R, Valdes-Mora F, Zotenko E, Clark SJ. Methyl-CpG-binding protein MBD2 plays a key role in maintenance and spread of DNA methylation at CpG islands and shores in cancer. Oncogene. 2016 Sep 5. doi: 10.1038/onc.2016.297.
Colino-Sanguino Y, Clark SJ, Valdes-Mora F. H2A.Z acetylation and transcription: Ready, Steady, Go!. Epigenomics. 2016. May;8(5):583-6. (Invited Opinion Piece)

 Gallego-Ortega D, Ledger A, Roden DL, Law AM, Magenau A, Kikhtyak Z, Cho C, Allerdice SL, Lee HJ, Valdes-Mora F, Herrmann D, Salomon R, Young AI, Lee BY, Sergio CM, Kaplan W, Piggin C, Conway JR, Rabinovich B, Millar EK, Oakes SR, Chtanova T, Swarbrick A, Naylor MJ, O'Toole S, Green AR, Timpson P, Gee JM, Ellis IO, Clark SJ, Ormandy CJ. ELF5 Drives Lung Metastasis in Luminal Breast Cancer through Recruitment of Gr1+ CD11b+ Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells. PLoS Biol. 2015 Dec 30;13(12):e1002330. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002330. eCollection 2015 Dec.

Valdes-Mora F & Clark SJ. Prostate Cancer Epigenetic Biomarkers: next generation technologies. Oncogene. 2014 May 19;0. doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.111.2014 (Review) .

Stone A, Valdes-Mora F, Clark SJ. Exploring and exploiting the aberrant DNA methylation profile of endocrine-resistant breast cancer. Epigenomics. 2013 Dec;5(6):595-8. doi: 10.2217/epi.13.70. PMID: 24283871 (Editorial)

Andrew Stone, Mark J. Cowley, Fatima Valdes Mora, Rachael A. McCloy, C. Marcelo Sergio, David Gallego Ortega, C. Elizabeth Caldon, Christopher J. Ormandy, Andrew V. Biankin, Julia M.W. Gee, Robert I. Nicholson, Cristin G. Print, Susan J. Clark, Robert L. Sutherland and Elizabeth A. Musgrove. Epigenetic silencing of BCL2 confers increased sensitivity to anti-mitotic agents in endocrine resistant breast cancer. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 2013; 12(9):1874-85.

Maria Kalyuga*, David Gallego-Ortega*, Heather Lee, Daniel L. Roden, Mark Cowley, C. Elizabeth Caldon, Andrew Stone, Stephanie Allerdice, Fatima Valdes-Mora, Rosalind Launchbury, Aaron Statham, Nicola Armstrong, Chehani Alles, Adelaide Young, Andrea Egger, Wendy Au, Catherine Piggin, Cara Evans, Anita Ledger, Tilman Brummer, Samantha R. Oakes Warren Kaplan, Julia M.W. Gee, Robert I. Nicholson, Robert L. Sutherland, Alex Swarbrick, Matthew J. Naylor, Susan Clark, Jason Carroll and Christopher J. Ormandy. ELF5 transcriptionally specifies basal from luminal breast cancer and underpins the acquisition of antiestrogen resistance. PloS Biology. 2012;10 (12):e1001461.

Andrew Stone, Fatima Valdés-Mora, Lynne Farrow, Richard A McClelland, Heidi Fiegl, Carol Dutkowski, Rachael McCloy, Robert L Sutherland, Elizabeth A Musgrove, Julia MW Gee* and Robert I Nicholson*. Tamoxifen-induced epigenetic silencing of oestrogen-regulated genes in anti-hormone resistant breast cancer. (PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40466. Epub 2012 Jul 10.)

Heather J Lee*, Rebecca A Hinshelwood*, Toula Bouras, David Gallego-Ortega, Katrina Blazek, Fátima Valdés-Mora, Jane E Visvader, Susan J Clark and Christopher J Ormandy. Lineage Specific Methylation of the Elf5 Promoter in Mammary Epithelial Cells. Stem Cells. 2011; 29(10):.

Fátima Valdés-Mora, Jenny Z. Song, Aaron L. Statham, Dario Strbenac,Mark D. Robinson, Shalima S. Nair, Kate I. Patterson, David J. Tremethick, Clare Stirzaker and Susan J. Clark. Acetylation of H2A.Z is a key epigenetic modification associated with gene deregulation and epigenetic remodeling in cancer. Genome Res. 2012; 22(2):307-21.

David Gallego-Ortega D, Teresa G del Pulgar, Fatima Valdés-Mora, Arancha Cebrián A, Juan Carlos Lacal. Involvement of human choline kinase alpha and beta in carcinogenesis: A different role in lipid metabolism and biological functions. Adv Enzyme Regul. 2011;51(1):183-94.

Fátima Valdés-Mora, Teresa Gómez del Pulgar, Juan Carlos Lacal. TWIST1 (twist homolog 1 (Drosophila)). Atlas Genet Cytogenet Oncol Haematol. 2010; 14(9): 853-860. Review

David Gallego-Ortega, Ana Ramirez de Molina, Maria Angeles Ramos, Fátima Valdés-Mora, María G. Barderas, Jacinto Sarmentero-Estrada and Juan Carlos Lacal. Differential role of choline kinase alpha and beta isoforms in human carcinogénesis. PLoS One. 2009; 4(11):e7819.

Fátima Valdés-Mora, Teresa Gómez del Pulgar, Juan Carlos Lacal. CDC42 (cell division cycle 42 (GTP binding protein, 25kDa)). Atlas Genet Cytogenet Oncol Haematol. 2009; 13(11): 804-811. Review

Fátima Valdés-Mora*, Teresa Gómez del Pulgar*, Eva Bandrés, Paloma Cejas, Ana Ramírez de Molina, Rosa Pérez-Palacios, David Gallego-Ortega, Miguel Angel García-Cabezas, Enrique Casado, Manuel Nistal, Manuel González-Barón, Jesús García-Foncillas and Juan Carlos Lacal. TWIST1 overexpression is associated with nodal invasion and male gender in primary colorectal cancer. Ann Surg Oncol. 2009; 16(1):78-87.

Fátima Valdés-Mora*, Teresa Gómez del Pulgar*, Eva Bandrés, Rosa Pérez-Palacios, Carolina Espina, Paloma Cejas, Miguel Angel García-Cabezas, Manuel Nistal, Enrique Casado, Manuel González-Barón, Jesús García-Foncillas and Juan Carlos Lacal. Cdc42 is highly expressed in colorectal adenocarcinoma and downregulates ID4 through an epigenetic mechanism. Int J Oncol. 2008; 33(1):185-93.

Teresa Gómez del Pulgar, Eva Bandrés, Carolina Espina, Fátima Valdés-Mora, Rosa Pérez-Palacios, Fermín García-Amigot, Jesús García-Foncillas and Juan Carlos Lacal. Differential expression of Rac1 identifies its target genes and its contribution to progression of colorectal cancer. Int. J. Biochem. Cell. Biol 2007;39 (12):2289-302.

(* Contributed equally)

Dr Fatima Valdes Mora

Division Overview

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