Begoña Díaz, PhD

Begoña Díaz, PhD

Investigator, The Lundquist Institute
Associate Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Co-Director, Cancer Biology and Immunotherapeutics Institute, The Lundquist Institute


Behavioral Adaptive Responses to Stress in Normal and Tumor Cells

Research Description

Dr. Diaz' main current research projects include:

1 - Regulation of invadosome-mediated cell invasion. We wonder how the microenvironmental conditions of normal and cancer cells contribute to the formation and activity of invadosomes (cellular tools for invasion). We discovered that stress caused by hypoxia and reactive oxygen species promote invadosome formation and extracellular matrix remodeling. We also uncovered the presence of invadosome-like structures inside human tumor samples. Investigation of the mechanisms regulating invadosome activity has important implications to understanding cell behavior during tissue homeostasis and aging as well as deciphering aberrant cell behavior in disease states such as fibrosis and cancer.

2 - Regulation of stress-induced organelle adaptations in cancer.
We wonder how cellular organelles respond to various stress conditions to support the progression of carcinomas. Our goal is to find mechanisms that disrupt these adaptations and induce cancer cell death. We have discovered that protein lipidation (myristoylation) is necessary for lysosome functions in cancer cells. Investigating the stress-driven adaptations of organelles inside cancer cells will further our understanding of cancer biology and has important implications in the discovery of novel anti-cancer therapeutic strategies.


  • PhD in Sciences, University Autónoma of Madrid (Spain), 1999

Recent and/or Significant Publications

Mejia I, Chen YC, Díaz B. Analysis of Golgi Morphology Using Immunofluorescence and CellProfiler Software. Methods Mol Biol. 2023; 2557:765-784. PMID: 36512250.
Bui S, Mejia I, Díaz B, Wang Y. Adaptation of the Golgi Apparatus in Cancer Cell Invasion and Metastasis. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021; 9:806482. eCollection 2021. PMID: 34957124.
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). PubMed PMID: 33050151.
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. PMID: 32686708.
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; 6:718-726. eCollection 2019. PMID: 31011543.
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. Epub 2018 Nov 12. PMID: 30439350.
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. 2019 Feb; 22:132-136. eCollection 2019 Feb. PMID: 30581916.