Patrizia Agostinis

Patrizia Agostinis (PA) received a Master in Biology from the University of Padua (Italy) and a PhD in BioMedical Science from the University of Leuven KU Leuven, in the Department of Biochemistry led by Dr. Wilfrid Merlevede, working on protein phosphorylation-regulated mitogenic signaling in cancer cells.
As a post-doc at the KU Leuven, she developed a keen interest in kinase-mediated pathways regulating apoptosis and studied the mechanisms of cell death induced by targeted or experimental anticancer therapies. As a principal investigator, she set up an independent line of enquiry investigating how perturbations of non-oncogenic processes governing cancer cell’s proteostasis, such as the unfolded protein response (UPR) and autophagy, regulate cancer cell death, cancer cell-stromal cells interface in tumor progression and (immune)therapy responses.
She is currently full Professor and group leader of the Cell Death Research & Therapy lab at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine & Center for Cancer Biology of the VIB-KU Leuven. Her group made important discoveries and contributions to the cancer biology and immunotherapy fields by unravelling the molecular underpinning and the robust in vivo anticancer vaccination properties of immunogenic cancer cell death (ICD) and how endothelial cell-intrinsic trafficking/degradative pathways impact tumor angiogenesis, dissemination and chemoresponse.  
Current projects in PA’s lab investigate the molecular underpinnings and in vivo relevance of the interface between dying cancer cells and the immune system, with particular focus on responses guided by ER stress and ROS pathways, and how autophagy shapes the tumor microenvironment and antitumor immunity, with the ultimate aim to devise new (immune)therapeutic opportunities for cancer.