Begoña Díaz, PhD

Begoña Díaz, PhD

Investigator, The Lundquist Institute
Assistant Professor in Residence, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA


Study of cell adaptation to stress during cancer progression and metastasis with the goal to uncover actionable targets for therapeutic intervention

Research Description

Dr. Diaz' main current research projects include:

1 - Regulation of cancer progression by protein myristoylation.
Protein myristoylation is aberrantly activated in some tumors when compared with normal tissues. We are interested in understanding how myristoylation is elevated in cancer, which are the functional consequences, and how this process could be targeted for therapeutic benefit. We use genetic and pharmacological approaches in cancer cells in vitro and tumor models in vivo, to disrupt myristoylation and further dissect its function in cancer progression. We have recently found that myristoylation is necessary for lysosomal degradation and mTORC1 activation in cancer cells (Chen et al. Scientific Reports 2020), providing a mechanism for myristoylation-dependent cancer progression that we are further analyzing.

2 - Invadopodia in cancer progression.
Invadopodia are cancer cell invasive protrusions with associated proteolytic activity that endow cancer cells with the ability to cross biological barriers. We have previously shown that invadopodia participate in and are regulated by redox signaling (Diaz et al. Science Signaling 2009), and that hypoxia promotes invadopodia formation and function through Notch-dependent ADAM12-mediated shedding of HB-EGF (Diaz et al. Journal of Cell Biology 2013). More recently, we have described the existence of TKS5-positive invadopodia-like structures inside human tumor surgical specimens (Chen et al. Experimental and Molecular Pathology 2019). We are interested in further evaluating invadopodia markers in human tumors, as well as understanding the regulation of invadopodia formation and activity in cancer progression.
Research Interests


  • PhD, 1999, Biological Sciences, Autonomous University, Madrid, Spain

Recent and/or Significant Publications

Chen YC, Baik M, Byers JT, Chen KT, French SW, Díaz B. TKS5-positive invadopodia-like structures in human tumor surgical specimens. Exp Mol Pathol. 2019 Feb;106:17-26. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2018.11.005. Epub 2018 Nov 12. PMID: 30439350; PMCID: PMC6368464.
Baik M, French B, Chen YC, Byers JT, Chen KT, French SW, Díaz B. Identification of invadopodia by TKS5 staining in human cancer lines and patient tumor samples. MethodsX. 2019 Mar 28;6:718-726. doi: 10.1016/j.mex.2019.03.024. PMID: 31011543; PMCID: PMC6461573.
Chen YC, Baik M, Byers JT, Chen KT, French SW, Díaz B. Experimental supporting data on TKS5 and Cortactin expression and localization in human pancreatic cancer cells and tumors. Data Brief. 2018 Nov 30;22:132-136. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2018.11.138. PMID: 30581916; PMCID: PMC6297239.
Chen YC, Navarrete MS, Wang Y, McClintock NC, Sakurai R, Wang F, Chen KT, Chou TF, Rehan VK, Lee DJ, Diaz B. N-myristoyltransferase-1 is necessary for lysosomal degradation and mTORC1 activation in cancer cells. Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 20;10(1):11952. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-68615-w. PMID: 32686708; PMCID: PMC7371688.
Mejia I, Bodapati S, Chen KT, Díaz B. Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Invasiveness and the Tumor Microenvironment: From Biology to Clinical Trials. Biomedicines. 2020 Oct 9;8(10):E401. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines8100401. PMID: 33050151.