Dr Fernando Calvo completed an undergraduate degree in Biology in 1999 and a MSc in Biochemistry in 2001, both at the University of the Basque Country (Leioa, Spain). After a short spell in industry with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Alderly Edge, UK), he joined Professor Piero Crespo's team in the University of Cantabria (Santander, Spain) in 2002. There, he studied small GTPases signalling pathways, focusing on their spatial regulation and functions within different cellular compartments. In 2008 Dr Calvo obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and was awarded the Best Thesis in Biomedicine by the University of Cantabria. In the last part of his PhD, he studied the interplay between Ras and Rho signalling pathways and uncovered a mechanism controlling Cdc42 functions with significant implications on the invasive potential of melanoma cells.
Being increasingly attracted to the field of cancer cell invasion and metastasis, he decided to join Dr Erik Sahai's team at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute in 2010. During his Post Doc, Dr Calvo was trained in intravital two-photon microscopy, a powerful tool for studying the metastatic process in vivo. This technique permits direct visualization of dynamic phenomena in high resolution deep in the tissue of a living organism. He also studied the role of the tumour microenvironment in cancer progression, focusing on the characterization of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) from the new perspective of mechanobiology. As such, he uncovered the importance of mechanotransduction (the mechanisms by which cells convert mechanical stimulus into chemical activity) in generating and maintaining the activated status of CAFs.