The CG&Bio Lab at LIIGH-UNAM

Current lab members


C. Daniela Robles-Espinoza, Ph. D. (Principal Investigator)

Daniela studied her B. Sc. in Genome Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and her Ph.D. in Cancer Genetics at the University of Cambridge, UK. She has expertise in the bioinformatic analysis and interpretation of genomes in the context of cancer predisposition and progression, especially melanoma. She is member of the National System of Researchers (SNI), level II, and currently holds an International Fellowship at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, in Cambridge, UK, and a Newton Advanced Fellowship from the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK.

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Christian Molina Aguilar, Ph. D. (Senior technician)

Christian graduated from the Biomedical Sciences programme at UNAM, and has an experimental science background. He’s the one that keeps everything inside the wetlab running smoothly! He is currently working on a project testing the functional effects of candidate melanoma-predisposing genetic variants identified from family studies, and he is also establishing a Patient Derived Xenograft (PDX) model collection and cell line cryobank from Mexican acral melanoma patients.

He is also consolidating his own line of research in our lab, focused on understanding the cellular, molecular, and physiological processes that induce damage in the liver and that lead to Metabolic Dysfunction Associated Steatotic Liver Disease (MASLD), fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). He’s also interested in applying bioinformatics techniques to study tumour evolution. He was a postdoctoral fellow in our lab from 2017 to 2023, and started as a senior technician in 2024.

Patricia Basurto Lozada (Ph. D. Student)

Patricia studied a B. Sc. in Biotechnology Engineering at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and a MSc. in Infection and Immunity at University College London, UK. She is currently a Ph.D. student in our lab applying bioinformatic methodologies to elucidate the somatic genomics of acral lentiginous melanoma in Mexican patients.



Irving Simonin Wilmer (Ph.D. student)

Irving studied a B. Sc. in Applied Math at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, where he wrote a thesis on applications of Bayesian statistics. He is a Ph. D. student in our group working on a project that aims to find the genetic variants that predispose to acral lentiginous melanoma by analysing genotyping data from Mexican and British melanoma patients and controls.



Estefanía Vázquez (Ph.D. student)

Estef graduated from the BSc. in Biotechnology at the Autonomous University of Queretaro. Her research interests include the mechanisms of resistance and prediction of response to immunotherapy. During her work experience she developed a strong interest in cancer genomics, advances in technology and its implementation into the clinic setting. Estef’s PhD project focuses on the study of the immune infiltration in acral lentiginous melanoma tumours from Mexican patients.


Felipe Castañeda Córdova (MSc student)

Felipe is a Medical doctor by training, now undertaking a MSc in Health Sciences Research registered at Anáhuac University. His research focuses on the transcriptomic changes associated to the evolution from a healthy liver to hepatocellular carcinoma with an emphasis on metabolic alterations. He is doing his thesis in our group under the director of Dr Christian Molina.




Internship students

We also have a number of students undertaking internships during their undergraduate studies or previous to starting a postgraduate degree. They include Ariel Pulido (Undergraduate Program in Genome Sciences, LCGEJ-UNAM), Sebastián Carrillo (Arkansas State University), Rodolfo Arriaga (University of Guanajuato), Mayra López Azuara (Monterrey Institute of Technology), Axel Rodríguez Pérez, Efraín Marín Peralta, María Fernanda Talavera Cruz, Johana Itzel Ramos Galguera, Jessica García Martínez and Valeria Martínez Cuevas (all from LCGEJ-UNAM).

We have also hosted international students, including Ivar van der Zee (MSc student, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 2022-2023), Isabella Salinas (BSc, MIT, USA, Summer 2023) and Bram van Haastrecht (MSc student, Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Summer 2024). We have opportunities for international students too, contact us if you’re interested!



Raúl Ossio Vela, M.D. (PhD)

Raúl’s PhD thesis focused on creating software tools for genomic data visualization, with the goal of using these to explore genetic variation that increases risk to develop melanoma. He is the main author of our software tool VCF/Plotein. Now he is working at a software company in Monterrey, Mexico. You can read his paper here.



Carolina Castañeda García (PhD)

Carolina graduated with a Ph. D. in Biomedical Sciences in 2024. Her thesis focused on identifying genetic variation (rare and common) that predisposes to develop melanoma. She applied bioinformatic techniques to study targeted sequencing data from a case-control dataset with more than 3,000 individuals, collected by our collaborators at the University of Leeds, UK. You can read her paper here.


Fernanda Arriaga (MSc)

Fer graduated with an MSc with a focus on Biotechnology from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM). Her thesis focused on studying the protective effect of caloric restriction in the development of liver fibrosis, which is a condition associated with progression to hepatocellular carcinoma. She was directly supervised by Christian Molina. She is now a MSc student at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and University of Cambridge, UK.


Isaac García Salinas (BSc)

Isaac graduated from the B.Sc. in Microbiology at the Autonomous University of Queretaro with honours. In our lab, he worked on a project that aims to interpret functionally the role of GWAS hits in melanoma predisposition and telomere length determination. After a successful MPhil at the Sanger Institute and Cambridge University, he has started his PhD work on the genetic basis of disease in the same university.


Rebeca Olvera (BSc)

Rebeca graduated from the B. Sc. programme in Technology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She’s part of our wetlab team and her research focused on evaluating the functional effects of genetic variants found in patients with familial melanoma. She has been admitted to the MPhil in Genome Sciences at the Sanger Institute and Cambridge University, starting October 2021.


Kevin Villa (BSc)

Kevin graduated with a BSc in Biology from the Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo, and did his dissertation in our lab studying the effects of caloric restriction on hepatocellular carcinoma development with an emphasis on the fibrotic stage. He worked under the direct supervision of postdoc Christian Molina.



We are for the moment unable to take on any more students or postdocs. But – are you interested in collaborating with us? Send us an email!