Graduate Research Prize Winners 2013
I studied medicine at Universidad La Salle in Mexico City, and soon realised that it was my passion. During my degree, I had the opportunity to be a clinical tutor, teaching a workshop on cardiovascular examination, and in the final year I was selected to do an elective placement at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Being in this environment, in which there is such a close relationship between science and the clinic, awoke in me an interest in science. After returning to Mexico City for a further two years, during which time I finished my medical internship at the National Institute for Medical Science and Nutrition, also undertaking a year studying clinical research in the Surgical Oncology Division, this enthusiasm for science drove me back to Oxford to pursue academic studies.
I was awarded an NDM Prize studentship and a Clarendon Fund Scholarship to read a D.Phil. in Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, for which I worked in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research under the supervision of Professor Gareth Bond. It was an amazing experience: my project gave me the opportunity to learn a mixture of epidemiological, bioinformatics and molecular biology techniques, which really helped me to develop as a clinician-scientist. During my 4 years of study, I focussed upon the identification and analysis of genetic variants that affect human cancer. In the course of this work I, in collaboration with a research group at the NIH, U.S., identified and described the molecular mechanism of a genetic variant that increases the risk of testicular cancer. This genetic variant, residing within the kit ligand oncogene, exerts its effect upon cancer risk by altering the binding site for one of the most widely studied proteins in cancer biology: p53. Interestingly, despite this effect, we also found that the variant has undergone positive natural selection in certain populations, which raised evolutionary questions. We hypothesised that the apparent positive selection could be due to the variant’s role in the skin, where it protects against UV damage. This work was recently published in the journal Cell.
One of the greatest things about Oxford is the wide range of interesting people that you get to work with. I was in a great research group, made up of people from all over the world. I also had the opportunity to interact with many other individuals and participate in a project to teach medical students across the globe. Currently, I am undertaking my clinical training in Medical Oncology at Vall D’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, where I would love to continue my research by translating it into the clinic.
Zeron-Medina J, Wang X, Repapi E, Campbell M, Su D, Castro-Giner F, Davies B, Petrse E, Sacilotto N, Tomlinson I, Minshausen N, de Val S, Bell D, Bond GL, (2013) A polymorphic p53 Enhancer in the KIT Ligand Oncogene Influences Cancer Risk and Has Undergone Natural Selection. Cell 155, 1-13
Grochola LF, Zeron-Medina J, Mériaux S, Bond GL. (2010) Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the p53 signaling pathway. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2 13
Zerón-Medina J, Rodríguez-Covarrubias F, García-Mora A, Guerrero-Hernandez M, Chablé-Montero F, Albores-Saavedra J, Medina-Franco H.(2011) Solitary fibrous tumor of the pelvis treated with preoperative embolization and pelvic exenteration. Am Surg. Jan;77(1):112-3.
Vergara-Fernandez O, Zeron-Medina J, Mendez-Probst C, Salgado-Nesme N, Borja-Cacho D, Sanchez-Guerrero J, Medina-Franco H. (2009) Acute abdominal pain in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. J Gastrointest Surg. 13(7):1351-7
Medina-Franco H, Salgado-Nesme N, Zerón-Medina-Cuairán J. (2009) Sentinel lymph node biopsy after neo-adjuvant systemic chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. Breast J. ;15(5):549-50.
Finlayson AE, Zeron J, Beaumont L, Handuleh J, Leather A. (2011) Post 9/11 Somalia: the strategic role of health systems strengthening in global security. Med Confl Surviv. 27(4):205-10
Bowen J, Southgate R, Ali A, Little S, Liakos A, Greaves F, Strachan J, Baraco A, Adem G, Abdillahi M, Handuleh J, Reed K, Walker F, Zeron J, Strachan M, Bowen S, Hellyer T, Hersheson J, Whitwell S, Fyfe M, Phillips J, Trim C, Johnson O, Leather A, Al-Hadithy N, Finlayson A. (2012) Can UK healthcare workers remotely support medical education in the developing world?: Focus group evaluation. JRSM Short Rep. 3(7):47.
Alexanderson E, Cruz P, Talayero JA, Damas F, Zerón J, Meave A. (2007) Transient perfusion and motion abnormalities in takotsubo cardiomyopathy. J Nucl Cardiol. 14(1):129-33.
Alexánderson E, Ricalde A, Zerón J, Talayero JA, Cruz P, Adame G, Mendoza G, Meave A. (2006) Discordant pattern, visual identification of myocardial viability with PET. Arch Cardiol Mex. 76(4):347-54.