University of Bristol
Sebastian studied clinical medicine at “Iuliu Hatieganu” Medical School, Cluj-Napoca, Romania and trained as a junior doctor in Nephrology and Dialysis before moving to USA where he obtained a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2004.This was followed by postdoctoral training at Duke University Medical Center (North Carolina, USA) where he became interested in studying the connections between alternative splicing and cancer. Using fluorescent splicing reporters that recapitulate in vivo the alternative splicing of fibroblast growth factor 2 and are able to follow epithelial-mesenchymal transitions he discovered unusual plasticity in prostate cancer cells in animal models. This was further followed by studies of circulating tumour cells from patients showing that the same plasticity is associated with aggressive prostate and breast cancer behavior.Since moving to the University of Bristol in 2008 he continued to study alternative splicing in vivo, switching the focus towards the importance of VEGF splice isoforms in cancer as well as kidney diseases.
My main research interests include the study of alternative splicing in vivo, coordinated regulation of alternative splicing in physiology and disease as well as manipulation of splice isoforms choice for therapeutic goals. Alternative splicing is the main process that decides the diversity of proteins in our bodies. It is estimated that more than 90% of genes are alternatively spliced in humans and therefore this process affects all cellular properties. The function of the majority of splicing isoforms is not characterized yet. Numerous splicing isoforms have been associated with disease progression in recent years and there is much interest in understanding their contribution to pathogenesis and how this can be reversed.