Scientific Lecture | Michael Lisanti

Professor Lisanti obtained his degree in Chemistry (Magna Cum Laude) at the New York University, in 1981-85, and concluded, in 1992, his MD-PhD at the Cornell University Medical School in Cell Biology and Genetics. From 1992-96, he was a Skeggs Fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2012, he joined the Breakthrough Unit as Professor of Cancer Biology and Breast Biology. Nowadays, he is the Director of the Manchester Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit and holds the Muriel Edith Rickman Chair of Breast Oncology within the Institute of Cancer Sciences. He is also the new founding Director of the Manchester Centre for Cellular Metabolism and the former Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Pathology.

He is currently listed amongst the Top 100 Most-Cited Researchers in Biochemistry and Biology and has published more than 480 papers. Professor Lisanti was among the first suggesting that signal transduction takes place in an organized fashion, within lipid rafts and caveolae, which are specialized domains at the cell surface. Furthermore, in 2009, Professor Lisanti was the first to propose the “Reverse Warburg Effect”. According to this model, it is hypothesized that epithelial cancer cells may induce the Warburg effect (aerobic glycolysis) in neighboring stromal fibroblasts. This different model for cancer metabolism will enable the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics, advancing personalised cancer therapy.


Considering the recent link of the stroma in breast cancer development, Professor Lisanti’s research focuses on the role of Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) in the pathogenesis of human breast cancer. The loss of stromal Cav-1 predicts breast cancer recurrence and metastasis, becoming a promising biomarker.

At the iMed Conference® 8.0, Professor Lisanti’s presentation will show us how the future of oncology might be and what challenges lay ahead for it.


Professor Lisanti was inspired to consider the effects of antibiotics on the mitochondria of cancer stem cells by a conversation with his daughter Camilla, a bright 8-year old, who claimed that cancer should be treated with antibiotics.  According to Professor Lisanti, “this is a perfect example of why it is so important to continue to invest in scientific research. Sometimes there are answers to some of the biggest questions right in front of us but without ongoing commitment to the search for these answers, we’d never find them.”

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A Joana Simões é estudante do 4º ano de Medicina da FCM-UNL. Nasceu em Aveiro, uma grandiosa cidade conhecida por ser a “Veneza Portuguesa” e tão afamada pelos seus deliciosos ovos moles. Já Sever do Vouga é a região que a viu crescer, local onde estudou e motivo de tamanha paixão pela Natureza. A licenciatura e mestrado na área de Ciências Biomédicas despoletaram o seu gosto pela investigação que complementa a vocação que tem pela Medicina. É colaboradora da FRONTAL desde Março de 2016.


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