Muñoz-Canoves, Pura


Pura Muñoz-Canoves

She studied Pharmacology at the University of Valencia. She obtained her PhD in Biology at the Madrid Autonomous University for work carried out at The Scripps Research Institute, and did postdoctoral work at the University of California-San Diego and The Scripps Research Institute, and in 1995 she joined the Cancer Research Institute in Barcelona as a postdoc, becoming an independent group leader in 1997. In 2002 her group moved to the Center for Genomic regulation in Barcelona, and she became a senior group leader in 2007 in that Institution. In 2009 she moved to the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), supported by ICREA, as coordinator of the Cell Biology Unit. At present, she is an ICREA Research Professor and Cell Biology Professor in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences at the UPF, and is an EMBO Member. Since May 2016, she holds a double appointment at the Spanish National Cardiovascular Research Center (CNIC) in Madrid. She received several awards: City of Barcelona Award on Life Sciences (2014); Pfizer Award on Basic Research (2015); La Vanguardia of Science Award (2015, 2017); City of Gandía Award (2016).

She is internationally recognized for its significant contributions to the fields of skeletal muscle regeneration in physiology and pathology (particularly, in the context of inflammation and fibrosis), and more recently in aging (and more specifically, stem cell aging).

Her discoveries challenged the prevailing view that muscle stem cell regenerative decline with aging is caused by alterations in the extrinsic environment: using very old (geriatric) mice, she found a dramatic drop in the regenerative capacity compared to old mice, and ascribed this decline to stem cell-intrinsic changes, associated to cellular a switch from normal quiescence into senescence (Nature 2014). She further showed that stem cells have and need basal autophagy for fitness maintenance (Nature 2016). Never before senescence or preoteotoxicity were demonstrated in stem cells in vivo, during physiological aging, with effects on tissue repair. The relevance of these studies extends beyond the muscle research field, with implications in regenerative medicine in aging. Major publications in recent years include: 1) Sousa-Victor P et al. Geriatric muscle stem cells switch reversible quiescence into senescence; Nature 506:316-21, 2014. 2) García-Prat L et al. Autophagy maintains stemness by preventing senescence; Nature 529: 37-42, 2016; Solanas G et al. Aged stem cells reprogram their daily rhythmic functions to adapt to stress; Cell 170:678-692, 2017.