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Dr Fernando Calvo

Team Leader

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Dr Fernando Calvo left the ICR in February 2018 to join the Institute of Biomedicine & Biotechnology of Cantabria. While at the ICR Fernando used a wide range of techniques from conventional cell and molecular biology, to state-of-the-art intravital imaging of in vivo models and analysis of clinical material to study the role of the tumour microenvironment in cancer progression and dissemination.


Note: Dr Fernando Calvo is now at the Institute of Biomedicine & Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain. This page will be retired in due course.

Originally from Santander, Spain, Dr Fernando Calvo completed an undergraduate degree in Biology in 1999 and a MSc in Biochemistry in 2001, both at the University of the Basque Country (Leioa, Spain). In 2002 he joined Professor Piero Crespo's team in the University of Cantabria (Santander, Spain) where he studied small GTPases signalling pathways, focusing on their spatial regulation and functions within different cellular compartments.

In 2008, he obtained his PhD in Biochemistry. In the last part of his PhD, he studied the interplay between Ras and Rho signalling pathways and uncovered a mechanism controlling Cdc42 functions with significant implications on the invasive potential of melanoma cells. Being increasingly attracted to the field of cancer cell invasion and metastasis, he decided to join Dr Erik Sahai's team at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute in 2010.

During his postdoctoral studies, Dr Calvo was trained in intravital two-photon microscopy, a powerful tool for studying the metastatic process in vivo. This technique permits direct visualization of dynamic phenomena in high resolution deep in the tissue of a living organism. 

He also studied the role of the tumour microenvironment in cancer progression, focusing on the characterization of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) from the new perspective of mechano-biology. As such, he uncovered the importance of mechano-transduction (the mechanisms by which cells convert mechanical stimulus into chemical activity) in generating and maintaining the activated status of CAFs.

He joined the Division of Cancer Biology at the ICR in October 2013 and was a member of Career Development Faculty and leader of the Tumour Microenvironment Team. Using a combination of intravital imaging, in vivo models, clinical material and cell and molecular biology approaches, his research was focused on understanding the role of the tumour microenvironment on tumour progression and response to therapy with the goal of developing better approaches to diagnosis and treatment.

Outside the lab, Dr Calvo mostly spends his time with his family. He is passionate about sports, music, films, books and travel.