Immunity and Infection

 Research group

Group Leader

José Miguel López-Botet Arbona

The group integrates researchers from IMIM and Pompeu Fabra University (UPF, with extensive experience in the study of human Natural Killer (NK) cell biology. We currently collaborate on the development of two main research areas:

• "Characterization of NK cell receptors and their involvement in the response to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)” (M. López-Botet). We originally reported that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection promotes to a variable extent a persistent reconfiguration of the human NK cell compartment. We are currently exploring the mechanisms that drive the development of this adaptive NK cell response, addressing its involvement in antiviral defense and putative implications in different settings (e.g. kidney transplantation, cancer, multiple sclerosis), in collaboration with clinical teams.

• “NK cells in cancer immunotherapy” (A. Muntasell). NK cells can recognize and eliminate transformed cells while shaping the development of tumor-specific adaptive immunity. Several mechanisms decreasing NK cell function have been described in cancer patients. Our current projects are aimed at the identification of targetable checkpoints enhancing NK cell anti-tumor responses as well as at exploring the value of phenotypic, genetic and functional NK cell-related variables as biomarkers of response/resistance to treatment in breast and colorectal cancer patients, in collaboration with clinical teams.



Elisenda Alari Pahissa (Researcher)

Ramón Gimeno Martínez (Researcher)

Aura Muntasell Castellví (Researcher)

Mireia Altadill Balsells (PhD Student)

Michelle Ataya Fernández (PhD Student)

Mariona Cabo Ester (PhD Student)

Gemma Heredia Díaz (Technician)

Sara Raquel Santana Hernández (Technician)

Carme Sánchez Galiano (Research Assistant)


Main Publications

• Deza G, Bertolín-Colilla M, Sánchez-Serrano S, Soto D, Pujol RM, Gimeno R, Giménez-Arnau AM. Basophil FcεRI expression is linked to time to omalizumab response in chronic spontaneous urticaria. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2018; 141(6): 2313-2316.e1. IF 13.258. D1.

• Tamborero D, Rubio-Pérez C, Muiños F, Sabarinathan R, Piulats JM, Muntasell A, Dienstmann R, López-Bigas N, Gónzalez-Pérez A. A pan-cancer landscape of interactions between solid tumors and infiltrating immune cell populations. Clin Cancer Res 2018; 24(15): 3717-3728. IF 10.199. D1.

• Hardy-Werbin M, Arpí O, Taus A, Rocha P, Joseph-Pietras D, Nolan L, Danson S, Griffiths R, López-Botet M, Rovira A, Albanell J, Ottensmeier CH, Arriola E. Assessment of neuronal autoantibodies in patients with small cell lung cancer treated with chemotherapy with or without ipilimumab. OncoImmunology 2018; 7(2): e1395125. IF 5.503. Q1.

• Alari E, Moreira A, Zabalza A, Álvarez-Lafuente R, Munteis E, Vera A, Arroyo R, Álvarez-Cermeño JC, Villar LM, López-Botet M, Martínez-Rodríguez JE. Low cytomegalovirus seroprevalence in early multiple sclerosis: A case for the "hygiene hypothesis"?. Eur J Neurol 2018; 25(7): 925-933. IF 4.621. Q1.

• Sisinni L, Gasior M, de Paz R, Querol S, Bueno D, Fernández L, Marsal J, Sastre A, Gimeno R, Alonso L, Badell I, López-Granados E, Torres J, Medina L, Torrent M, Díaz de Heredia C, Escudero A, Pérez-Martínez A. Unexpected High Incidence of Human Herpesvirus-6 Encephalitis After Naive T Cell-Depleted Graft of Haploidentical Stem Cell Transplantation in Pediatric Patients. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2018; 24(11): 2316-2323. IF 4.484. Q1.

Ongoing Research Projects

• Development of molecular tools to enhance NK cell-mediated ADCC responses elicited by trastuzumab against breast cancer

- Financing institution: Worldwide Cancer Research (15-1146)

- Period: from 2015 to 2018.

- Principal investigators: López-Botet Miguel, Muntasell Aura

• Targeting Natural Killer cells Against CYtomegalovirus  (TANKACY)

- Financing institution: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (PCIN-2015-191-C02-01). EC Infect Era Program

- Period: from 2015 to 2018

- Principal investigators: Hengel, Hartmut (coordinator); López-Botet, Miguel; Vilches, Carlos; Di Santo, James; Stern-Ginossar, Noam

• Uncovering resistance to monoclonal antibodies in colorectal and breast cancer

- Financing institution: Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. ISCIII (PIE15/00008)

- Period: from 2015 to 2019

- Principal investigators: Albanell, Joan (coordinator); López-Botet, Miguel; García de Herreros, Antonio; Espinosa, Lluís; Furlong, Laura; Bellosillo, Beatriz


Participation in Research Networks

• Red Española de Esclerosis Múltiple (REEM)

- Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. ISCIII. Subprograma RETICS. RD16/0015/0011

- Principal investigators: López-Botet, Miguel


Group’s Recognitions

• Officially recognized as a consolidated research group by Generalitat de Catalunya: Comunicació en el Sistema Immunitari

- Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (SGR 888) (associated to UPF)

- Principal investigators: López-Botet, Miguel (IMIM/UPF coordinator); Muntasell, Aura (IMIM); Aramburu, José (UPF); López-Rodríguez, Cristina (UPF)



• Costa-Garcia M. Interplay of human adaptive NKG2C+ NK cells with specific antibodies and T cells in the response to cytomegalovirus infection.

- Universitat Pompeu Fabra

- Directors: Muntasell, A; López-Botet, Miguel

- Date of defense: 11/06/2018









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