I hold a MSc in Biotechnology, and developed my thesis on how acidosis contributes to immunosuppression and the development of pancreatic cancer. I decided to continue my career in immuno-oncology, but now applied to the pathogenesis of metastasis in breast cancer.
Francisco Landum started his scientific and academic journey in 2016, when he enrolled in the BSc of Biochemistry at the NOVA School of Science and Technology, in Lisbon. After receiving his degree in 2019, Francisco joined the Instituto Superior Técnico, also in Lisbon, for his MSc in Biotechnology, and then developed his Master's thesis in the laboratory of tumor inflammation and angiogenesis led by Massimiliano Mazzone at the VIB, in Leuven, Belgium. There he investigated the role of a bicarbonate transporter (Slc4a4) in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), and contributed to unraveling an immunosuppressive mechanism through which that transporter influences the polarization of tumor associated macrophages (TAMs). More specifically, Francisco demonstrated that PDAC cells hijack Slc4a4 to maintain a favorable intracellular pH, while at the same time increasing the extracellular acidity of the microenvironment, leading to acidosis and concurrent reprogramming of TAMs. Francisco and his colleagues observed that targeting Slc4a4 resulted in a lower tumor burden in a PDAC mouse model, which was accompanied by a rewiring of TAMs to an anti-tumoral phenotype in the presence of T cells. In April 2022, Francisco joined the Cancer Dormancy & Immunity Laboratory at the Champalimaud Foundation, where he helps with laboratory organization and supports multiple research projects.