Vento-Tormo Group | Cellular Genetics

Vento-Tormo Group | Cellular Genetics

Vento-Tormo Group

Vento-Tormo Group (VenTo group)
Vento-Tormo Group (VenTo group)

Our Research and Approach

  • Immunogenomics - Immune responses against infection. Using genomics, imaging and computational tools, we seek to understand the checkpoint mechanisms that ensure tailored immune responses against different infections in distinct tissues. Our long-term goal is to understand the intracellular and extracellular mechanisms that shape the architecture of the immune response against infection.
  • Reproductive atlas - Reconstructing dynamic maps of reproductive organs. As part of the Developmental Atlas in partnership with the Human Cell atlas, we are seeking to produce a comprehensive 3D cellular map of the reproductive system.
  • Cellular networks - Cell-cell communication. We aim to create an interactome map that will help us understand the basic mechanisms of cellular responses and functions, by mapping all interactions between the receptors on cells' surfaces and the ligands they bind, along with their downstream signals. To acheive this we are developing new approaches using single-cell and spatial transcriptomic data.

Immune responses against infection

Immunogenomics

Immune cells are spread throughout the body’s tissues and in circulation where they defend against infection and injury and contribute to homeostasis. Their response adapts to the specific challenges faced in different tissue environments. 

One of the most intriguing environments is the maternal-fetal interface during pregnancy. Here, an appropriate immune cell response guarantees peaceful co-existence of fetal and maternal cells whilst also protecting against infection that may threaten the developing fetus.

Questions we aim to address:
  1. What drives divergent immune responses against pathogens in unique, specialised peripheral tissues?
  2. What detrimental effects does an imbalanced immune response have on fetus and mother during pregnancy?
  3. What are the mechanisms involved in the transmission of viruses from mother to fetus (vertical transmission)?

Our lab uses genomics, imaging and computational tools to understand the checkpoint mechanisms that ensure tailored immune responses against different infections in distinct tissues. Through international and local collaborations, we have access to large cohorts of individuals and state-of-the-art in vitro co-culturing systems. Our long-term goal is to understand the intracellular and extracellular mechanisms that shape the architecture of the immune response against infection.

Reconstructing dynamic maps of reproductive organs

Reproductive atlas

Sexual reproduction depends on the fusion of gametes (sperm and eggs) during fertilisation followed by implantation of the resulting embryo in the lining of the womb (the endometrium). Cellular decisions made in the early stages of embryo development will determine cellular diversity and their organisation in complex tissues and organs.

The majority of tissues will continue their development and maturation in adult life where they establish contact with the external environment. One exception to this principle is the placenta. The placenta is a unique transient organ that protects the fetus against external insults whilst providing it with nutrients.

Placental defects are associated with fetal growth restriction, miscarriages and preeclampsia, reflecting the crucial role of this organ in fetal development and maternal health.

Questions we aim to address:
  1. What alterations in the maternal-fetal communication are associated with placental defects?
  2. What cellular decisions made in early development shape cellular differentiation and tissue organisation?
  3. What external and internal signals regulate the division and maturation of the gametes?

We use genomics, imaging and computational tools to produce a comprehensive 3D cellular map of the reproductive system. Our lab is part of the Developmental Atlas in partnership with the Human Cell Atlas.

Cell-cell communication

Cellular networks

The complex intracellular signalling pathways that drive cellular differentiation and function start with the binding of a signalling molecule (the ligand) to its receiving molecule (receptor). Mapping the ligand-receptor interactions during development, childhood, adult life and ageing is crucial to understand and predict cell identity and response.

In addition, an encyclopaedia of cell surface ligand/receptors interactions in both fetal and adult tissues is of huge interest for the design of novel targeted therapies, as these classes of proteins can be targeted by biologics.

Relevant interests in our lab:
  1. What are the signals initiated by different ligand-receptor interactions?
  2. Can we predict new extracellular and intracellular pathways using single-cell and spatial transcriptomics data?
  3. Can we systematically map all the interactions of the body?

In collaboration with other experimental and computational teams at the WSI and EBI, we are currently developing new methods to link the receptor-ligand interactions with intracellular pathways and transcription factor activities using single-cell and spatial transcriptomic data.

By mapping all the ligand-receptor interactions and their downstream signals in different fetal and adult tissues we aim to create an interactome map that will help us to understand the basic mechanisms of cellular responses and functions.

Join our group

We are looking for motivated students and postdocs to join our group. We offer a friendly, collaborative atmosphere and direct one-to-one supervision.

We are based at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and collaborate with the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), our close neighbour. All members of the group will work together and have the opportunity to develop their experimental and computational analysis skills and experience.

Interested?

Please contact Roser Vento-Tormo at roser.vento@sanger.ac.uk.

We are accepting applications for Postdoctoral Fellows. We welcome applications from Wet-Lab and/or Dry-Lab researchers.

For further information please read here: Advanced Research Assistant, Postdoctoral Fellow and Senior Bioinformatician

Postdoctoral fellow positions

We encourage potential postdocs to apply for independent funding. We are happy to brainstorm ideas and help with the development of the proposal.

PhD positions

To apply for a PhD position in our group, please refer to the Wellcome Sanger Institute’s PhD Programme.

People

Vento, Roser
Roser Vento-Tormo
Group Leader

Roser leads a research team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Key Projects, Collaborations, Tools & Data

Research Programmes and Faciltites

Partners and Funders

Internal Partners

Publications

  • Single-cell reconstruction of the early maternal-fetal interface in humans.

    Vento-Tormo R, Efremova M, Botting RA, Turco MY, Vento-Tormo M et al.

    Nature 2018;563;7731;347-353

  • Single-cell transcriptomes from human kidneys reveal the cellular identity of renal tumors.

    Young MD, Mitchell TJ, Vieira Braga FA, Tran MGB, Stewart BJ et al.

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2018;361;6402;594-599

  • Exponential scaling of single-cell RNA-seq in the past decade.

    Svensson V, Vento-Tormo R and Teichmann SA

    Nature protocols 2018;13;4;599-604

  • Prostaglandin E2 Leads to the Acquisition of DNMT3A-Dependent Tolerogenic Functions in Human Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells.

    Rodríguez-Ubreva J, Català-Moll F, Obermajer N, Álvarez-Errico D, Ramirez RN et al.

    Cell reports 2017;21;1;154-167

  • Genetic and Epigenetic Determinants in Autoinflammatory Diseases.

    Álvarez-Errico D, Vento-Tormo R and Ballestar E

    Frontiers in immunology 2017;8;318

  • DNA demethylation of inflammasome-associated genes is enhanced in patients with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes.

    Vento-Tormo R, Álvarez-Errico D, Garcia-Gomez A, Hernández-Rodríguez J, Buján S et al.

    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 2017;139;1;202-211.e6

  • IL-4 orchestrates STAT6-mediated DNA demethylation leading to dendritic cell differentiation.

    Vento-Tormo R, Company C, Rodríguez-Ubreva J, de la Rica L, Urquiza JM et al.

    Genome biology 2016;17;4

  • NF-κB-direct activation of microRNAs with repressive effects on monocyte-specific genes is critical for osteoclast differentiation.

    de la Rica L, García-Gómez A, Comet NR, Rodríguez-Ubreva J, Ciudad L et al.

    Genome biology 2015;16;2

  • Epigenetic control of myeloid cell differentiation, identity and function.

    Álvarez-Errico D, Vento-Tormo R, Sieweke M and Ballestar E

    Nature reviews. Immunology 2015;15;1;7-17

  • Gains of DNA methylation in myeloid terminal differentiation are dispensable for gene silencing but influence the differentiated phenotype.

    Vento-Tormo R, Álvarez-Errico D, Rodríguez-Ubreva J and Ballestar E

    The FEBS journal 2015;282;9;1815-25

  • NF-κB directly mediates epigenetic deregulation of common microRNAs in Epstein-Barr virus-mediated transformation of B-cells and in lymphomas.

    Vento-Tormo R, Rodríguez-Ubreva J, Lisio LD, Islam AB, Urquiza JM et al.

    Nucleic acids research 2014;42;17;11025-39