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Dr Barbara Tanos-Lora
Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences


A global nomad, Dr Barbara Tanos received her undergraduate degree from the University Buenos Aires, Argentina, and her PhD in Molecular Cancer Biology from Duke University in North Carolina (USA).

As a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr Ann Marie Pendergast, Dr Tanos became interested in how signal transduction pathways regulate basic biological processes such as the trafficking of growth factor receptors throughout the cell. During her graduate studies, Dr Tanos uncovered a novel role of Abl tyrosine kinases in the regulation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) internalization through specific phosphorylation of a tyrosine residue and through the disruption of the EGFR/Cbl interaction.  During her postdoc, Dr. Tanos began conceptualizing the idea that specific signals that drive epithelial polarity can be co- opted by cancer cells to optimize the remodeling of tumor tissue architecture, she trained with world-renowned cell biologist Dr. Enrique Rodriguez-Boulan at WCMC-NY, and wrote a review entitled “The epithelial polarity program: machineries involved and their hijacking by cancer,” and also uncovered a novel role for the scaffold protein IQGAP1 in barrier function during the establishment of epithelial polarity. After this, she began to appreciate the importance of understanding signaling from centrioles and cilia, which she hypothesized, could function as signaling hubs. Since little was known about these organelles, Barbara went to the laboratory of Dr. Bryan Tsou, an expert in the field, to learn key aspects of centrosome and cilia biology. There, Barbara identified a novel group of centriolar distal appendage proteins required for cilia formation, and uncovered the mechanism and cell cycle regulation of centriole docking to the plasma membrane. This work was published in Genes and Development, has been highly cited and it is considered to be a hallmark paper in the field. The proteins she described have now been causally linked to hereditary syndromes involving cilia defects (ciliopathies).

At Brunel University, Dr Tanos’s lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms of regulation of centrioles and cilia, how they function as signalling platforms, and what the consequences of their misregulation are in disease. Using a unique mix of expertise in signal transduction, biochemistry, cancer biology and cell biology she uses this information to find and exploit therapeutic opportunities both for cancer and ciliopathies.

Work from the Tanos Lab,  has been recently published in Cell Reports, describing a truly novel and fascinating story on the role of primary cilia in promoting resistance to a variety of cancer drugs:,

and was featured in the MRC and other news websites:,

and Dr. Tanos was interviewed on the radio,

External website:

Newest selected publications

Jenks, AD., Fivaz, M. and Tanos, BE. (2021) 'Quantitative Determination of Primary Cilia Protein Distribution Using Immunofluorescence Staining and MATLAB Analysis'. Bio-protocol, 11 (23). pp. 1 - 29. ISSN: 2331-8325 Open Access Link

Journal article

Chong, WM., Wang, W-J., Lo, C-H., Chiu, T-Y., Chang, T-J., Liu, Y-P., et al. (2020) 'Super-resolution microscopy reveals coupling between mammalian centriole subdistal appendages and distal appendages'. eLife, 9. pp. 1 - 21. ISSN: 2050-084X Open Access Link

Journal article

Lo, C-H., Lin, I-H., Yang, TT., Huang, Y-C., Tanos, BE., Chou, P-C., et al. (2019) 'Phosphorylation of CEP83 by TTBK2 is necessary for cilia initiation'. The Journal of Cell Biology, 218 (11). pp. 3489 - 3505. ISSN: 0021-9525 Open Access Link

Journal article

Jenks, AD., Vyse, S., Wong, JP., Kostaras, E., Keller, D., Burgoyne, T., et al. (2018) 'Primary Cilia Mediate Diverse Kinase Inhibitor Resistance Mechanisms in Cancer'. Cell Reports, 23 (10). pp. 3042 - 3055. ISSN: 2211-1247 Open Access Link

Journal article

Yang, TT., Chong, WM., Wang, W-J., Mazo, G., Tanos, B., Chen, Z., et al. (2018) 'Super-resolution architecture of mammalian centriole distal appendages reveals distinct blade and matrix functional components'. Nature Communications, 9 (1). pp. 2023. ISSN: 2041-1723 Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(15)