Professor Victoria Sanz-Moreno

Professor Victoria Sanz-Moreno

BSc, MSc, PhD
Centre: Centre for Cancer & Inflammation
  • Cancer Research UK Senior Fellow
  • Cancer Research UK Werth Trust Fellow
Professor of Cancer Cell Biology
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Our research focuses on how the cytoskeleton of cancer cells regulates transcriptional rewiring during tumour growth and dissemination. We aim to understand how such rewiring affects the tumour microenvironment.

Research Details

Rho GTPases are molecular switches that control the cytoskeleton. Deregulation of Rho GTPases can result in aberrant function and disease, including cancer. The spreading of cancer cells from one part of the body to another, called metastasis, is one of the biggest causes of cancer death. The other major challenge in the clinic is drug resistance. In our lab we are studying how Rho GTPase signalling and cytoskeletal remodelling can control many processes: invasion and metastasis, tumour promoting inflammation and drug responses. We are particularly interested in understanding how cancer cells sense extracellular signals via their cytoskeleton and integrate the responses altering transcription. On the other hand, how cancer cells interact with the tumour microenvironment is crucial for tumour progression and dissemination. We aim to understand how this communication is controlled by the cytoskeleton of cancer cells.

The lab combines 'OMICs', molecular biology, microscopy in 3D matrices, co-culture systems, animal models and digital pathology in patient tissues to identify molecular determinants driven by Rho GTPase signalling that drive cancer progression and metastatic potential. Our ultimate goal is to define if manipulations in the cytoskeleton of cancer cells will lead to improved efficacy of current therapeutic approaches.

Find out more about my lab here.

Also in this group:

Joanne Monger- Research Assistant


I received my first degree in chemistry and later a masters degree in biochemistry from the University of Oviedo in Spain, followed by a PhD in chemical sciences at the University of Cantabria. After a short postdoc in the same lab with a Lady Tata Memorial Trust Fellowship, I moved to the Institute of Cancer Research in London as a CRUK and Marie Curie Intra-european Fellow with Chris Marshall. In 2008, I received an EACR 40th Anniversary Research Award. In 2011 I established my lab with a CRUK Career Development Fellowship at King’s College London (Randall Centre for cell and molecular biophysics). In 2015, I was highly commended as CRUK Communications and Brand Ambassador for communicating science to the public. In 2017 I was awarded the BSCB Women in Cell Biology Early Career Award Medal. The same year I received a CRUK Senior Fellowship and I was badged CRUK Werth Trust Fellow. I joined Barts Cancer Institute as a Professor of Cancer Cell Biology in 2018.



  • 2018-2020- Barts Charity
  • 2017-2022- Cancer Research UK Senior Fellowship “Investigating Rho-kinase (ROCK) in melanoma progression and therapy response”
  • 2017-2019- The Harry J. Lloyd Charitable Trust “Understanding how cytoskeletal remodelling leads to drug resistance in melanoma”

Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • 2016-2018- European Commission- Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions “Genomic and metabolic regulation of metastatic cancer stem cells”
  • 2016-2018- Fundacion Ramon Areces “Crosstalk between mitochondrial and cytoskeletal dynamics during cell migration”

PhD Fellowships

  • 2017-2020- Crick-King’s “Membrane: cytoskeletal remodelling machineries in cancer”
  • 2016-2019- Crick-King’s “Role of tumour contractility in the breast cancer microenvironment”

Key Publications

Georgouli M, Herraiz C, Crosas-Molist E, Fanshawe B, Maiques O, Perdrix A, Pandya P, Cantelli G, Rodriguez-Hernandez I, Karagiannis P, Lam H, Josephs D, Matias-Guiu X, Marti RM, Nestle FO, Orgaz JL, Malanchi I, Fruhwirth GO, Karagiannis SN and Sanz-Moreno V. Regional activation of Myosin II in cancer cells drives tumour progression via a secretory cross-talk with the immune microenvironment. Cell (2019) 176(4):757-774.e23. Epub 2019 Jan 31. PMID: 30712866

Herraiz C, Calvo F, Pandya P, Cantelli G, Rodriguez-Hernandez I, Orgaz JL, Kang N, Chu T, Sahai E, Sanz-Moreno V. Reactivation of p53 by a cytoskeletal sensor to control the balance between DNA damage and tumour dissemination.J Natl Cancer Inst. (2016) 108(1). PMID: 26464464

Cantelli G, Orgaz JL, Rodriguez-Hernandez I, Karagiannis P, Maiques O, Matias-Guiu X, Nestle FO, Marti RM, Karagiannis SN, Sanz-Moreno V. TGFb-induced transcription sustains amoeboid melanoma migration and dissemination. Curr Biol (2015) 16;25(22):2899-914. PMID: 26526369

Orgaz JL, Pandya P, Dalmeida R, Karagiannis P, Sanchez-Laorden B, Viros A, Albrengues J, Nestle FO, Ridley AJ, Gaggioli C, Marais R, Karagiannis SN, Sanz-Moreno V. Diverse Matrix metalloproteinase functions regulate cancer amoeboid migration. Nat Comm (2014) 5:4255. PMID: 24963846

Our research focuses on how the cytoskeleton of cancer cells regulates transcriptional rewiring during tumour growth and dissemination. We aim to understand how such rewiring affects the tumour microenvironment.

External Activities

  • 2018-present Member of The British Association for Cancer Research (BACR)
  • 2017-present Member of The British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB)
  • 2013-present Member of The Women of Influence Group, by Cancer Research UK



  • Eva Crosas-Molist has won an EACR Poster Prize at the Mechanisms to Therapies: Innovations in Cancer Metabolism Meeting in Bilbao
  • Eva Crosas-Molist invited to give a talk at the “NMR in Biomedical Research: from Metabolomics to Structural Biology” Symposia, KCL, London
  • Jose Luis Orgaz Bueno selected to give a talk at Society for Melanoma Research Congress 2018, Manchester (UK)
  • Jose Luis Orgaz Bueno has been selected to give a talk at BACR Response and Resistance in Cancer Therapy, Kent UK
  • Victoria Sanz-Moreno featured in JCB "People and ideas" Victoria Sanz-Moreno: Rho together for cancer research
  • Victoria Sanz-Moreno badged Cancer Research UK Werth Trust Fellow
  • Victoria Sanz-Moreno International Women’s Day interview for Oncology Central
  • CRUK Sanz-Moreno lab tour for parent bloggers: Guilty Mother and A Day in the Life, Dad
  • Victoria Sanz-Moreno interview for BSCB Newsletter, page 15-16.
  • Anna Perdrix in Forbes “30 under 30” list for European Science and Healthcare for co-founding a biotech start-up


  • Jose L Orgaz and Victoria Sanz-Moreno awarded a Harry J Lloyd Charitable Trust research grant
  • Victoria Sanz-Moreno awarded CRUK Senior Fellowship
  • Victoria Sanz MorenoCell Scientist to watch
  • Victoria Sanz-Moreno receives BSCB medal
  • Vittoria Granzini 1st Prize Best Poster “Italian Biochemistry Society Congress”
  • Mirella Georgouli selected for an oral presentation for the 1st Crick International Cancer Conference (London, UK)
  • Anna Perdrix: Best poster prize. Tri-divisional postgraduate research day.
  • Mirella Georgouli awarded a travel grant from the British Society of Immunology to attend and present at the British Association of Cancer Research (BACR) Meeting on Tumour Microenvironment.
  • Bruce Fanshawe awarded a KCL travel grant to give a selected oral communication 12th European Molecular Imaging Meeting EMIM 2017, Cologne, Germany
  • Bruce Fanshawe awarded a KCL travel grant to give a selected oral communication at World Molecular Imaging Congress (WMIC) 2017 Philadelphia, USA
  • Crosas-Molist et al, published in Oncogene
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