Prof. Julio Vera-González

I am interested in the connections between cancer and aging at the cellular level, a way to understand those two conditions with strong effects in human health.

Research interest

An explanation to the similarities and differences between cancer and aging

"I am interested in the connections between cancer and aging at the cellular level, a way to understand those two conditions with strong effects in human health."

Cancer progression and aging are linked at the cellular level by the abnormal function of some signalling pathways that protect our cells against external or internal insults damaging their genetic material. The key name here is p53, the master controller of the DNA damage response, and its protein partners in charge of cell cycle and cell death regulation.

The question we focused on is: How is the response of the cell after DNA damage fine tuned to decide between the live and the death (at the cellular level)? Evasion of this mechanism is a key step towards cancer progression, but in the long run this mechanism induces aging.
We want to identify the critical features of this protective mechanism that are subverted in cancer. This will help us developing new therapeutic approaches.

We are developing data-based mathematical models to investigate the DNA damage response, the role of p53 and some of other proteins whose expression is promoted by p53 after damage. We are especially interested in 14-3-3sigma, an important protein in charge of cell cycle control which appears silenced in a variety of tumours.

Our initial results suggest that modulation in the expression of this protein, which establishes a positive feedback loop with p53, could change drastically some basic features of the p53 dynamics directly related to its activity as transcription factor. This could propagate the effects of 14-3-3sigma downregulation to other proteins with p53-mediated expression.

Academic background

2013 - now

Professor at the department of dermatology, university hospital Erlangen.

2008 - 2012

Research Group Leader in the BMBF funded project CALSYS: "Systems Biology of Cancer and Aging"
University of Rostock, Germany

2005 - 2008

Post-doctoral researcher in EU FP6 Project COSBICS: "Computational Systems Biology of Cell Signalling"
University of Rostock, Germany

2002 - 2005

PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: "Multiobjective Optimisation of biochemistry systems. Applications in biotechnology and biomedicine"
University of La Laguna, Tenerife/Spain

2004

Technological manager
Regional Fedaration of enterprises of the Metal Sector and the New Technologies
Tenerife, Spain

2000 - 2002

Master Degree in Life Sciences
University of La Laguna, Tenerife/Spain

1999 - 2000

Master Degree in Enviromental Management and Engineering
Escuela de Organizacion Industrial (EOI), Sevilla/Spain

1994 - 1999

Degree in Applied Physics
University of La Laguna, Tenerife/Spain

Selected publications

Model-Based Phenotypic Signatures Governing the Dynamics of the Stem and Semi-differentiated Cell Populations in Dysplastic Colonic Crypts

Nikolov S, Santos G, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

MiR-205-5p and miR-342-3p cooperate in the repression of the E2F1 transcription factor in the context of anticancer chemotherapy resistance.

Lai X, Gupta SK, Schmitz U, Marquardt S, Knoll S, Spitschak A, Wolkenhauer O, Pützer BM, Vera J

Theranostics. 2018 Jan 1;8(4):1106-1120.

Unraveling a tumor type-specific regulatory core underlying E2F1-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition to predict receptor protein signatures

Khan FM, Marquardt S, Gupta SK,Knoll S, Schmitz U,Spitschak A, Engelmann D, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O & Pützer BM

Nature Communications

Personalized cancer immunotherapy using systems medicine approaches.

Gupta SK, Jaitly T, Schmitz U, Schuler G, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

Briefings in Bioinformatics 2015.

Dissecting Long-Term Glucose Metabolism Identifies New Susceptibility Period for Metabolic Dysfunction in Aged Mice

A. Chauhan, H. Weiss, F. Koch, S.M. Ibrahim, J. Vera, O. Wolkenhauer, M. Tiedge (2015)

PLOS One

The RNA world in the 21st century – a systems approach to finding non-coding keys to clinical questions

Schmitz U, NAderi-Meshkin H, Gupta SK, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

Briefings in Bioinformatics 2015.

Chk1 and Wee1 control genotoxic-stress induced G2-M arrest in melanoma cells

Vera J, Raatz Y, Wolkenhauer O, Kottek T, Bhattacharaya A, Simon JC, Kunz M

Accepted for publication in Cellular Signalling (2015).

Cooperative gene regulation by microRNA pairs and their identification using a computational workflow

Schmitz U, Lai X, Winter F, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J, Gupta S

Nucleic Acids Research 2014, 42 (12): 7539-7552,

Tumors as chaotic attractors

Nikolov, S. and Wolkenhauer, O. and Vera, J.

Mol Biosyst. 10 (2):172 - 9

The systems biology of mitochondrial fission and fusion and implications for disease and ageing

Chauhan, A. and Vera, J. and Wolkenhauer, O.

Biogerontology 15(1): 1 - 12

A systems biology approach to study microRNA-mediated gene regulatory networks (2013)

Lai X, Bhattacharya A, Schmitz U, Kunz M, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O

BioMed Research International, vol. 2013,

Hybrid modeling of the crosstalk between signaling and transcriptional networks using ordinary differential equations and multi-valued logic

Khan FM, Schmitz U, Nikolov S, Engelmann D, Pützer BM,Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

Biochim Biophys Acta; 1844 (1 Pt B): 289-98.

Kinetic modeling-based detection of genetic signatures that provide chemoresistance via the E2F1-p73/DNp73-miR-205 network

Vera J, Schmitz U, Lai X, Engelmann D, Khan FM, Wolkenhauer O, Pützer BM (2013)

Cancer Research,

Computational analysis of target hub gene repression regulated by multiple and cooperative miRNAs

Lai X, Schmitz U, Gupta S, Bhattacharya A, Kunz M, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2012)

Nucleic Acids Research, 40: 8818-8834.

Analysis of cell adhesion during early stages of colon cancer based on an extended multi-valued logic approach

Guebel DV, Schmitz U, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2012)

Molecular Biosystems 8(4):1230-1242

Model-based investigation of the transcriptional activity of p53 and its feedback loop regulation via 14-3-3Σ

Vera J, Nikolov S, Lai X, Singh A, Wolkenhauer O (2011)

IET Systems Biology 5: 293-307

Computational analysis and modeling the effectiveness of "Zanamivir" targeting neuraminidase protein in pandemic H1N1 strains

Gupta SK, Gupta SK, Smita S, Srivastava M, Lai X, Schmitz U, Rahman Q, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2011)

Infection, Genetics and Evolution 11: 1072 - 1082

Systems Biology Of JAK-STAT Signalling In Human Malignancies

Vera J, Rateitschak K, Lange F, Kossow C, Wolkenhauer O, Jaster R (2011)

Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 106: 426-434

A model-based strategy to investigate the role of microRNA regulation in cancer signalling networks

Nikolov S, Vera J, Schmitz U, Wolkenhauer O (2011)

Theory in Biosciences 130: 55-69

Dynamic energy budget approaches for modelling organismal ageing

van Leeuwen I, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O (2010)

Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 365: 3443-3454

Non-coding RNA detection methods combined to improve usability, reproducibility and precision

Raasch P, Schmitz U, Patenge N, Vera J, Kreikemeyer B, Wolkenhauer O (2010)

BMC Bioinformatics 11: 491

Baccoside A suppresses epileptic-like seizure/convulsion in Caenorhabditis elegans

Pandey R, Gupta S, Tandon S, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2010)

Seizure 19: 439 - 442

Investigating dynamics of inhibitory and feedback loops in ERK signalling using power-law models (2010)

Vera J, Rath O, Balsa-Canto E, Banga J, Kolch W, Wolkenhauer (2010)

Molecular BioSystems 6: 2174-2191

Optimization of biochemical systems through mathematical programming: methods and applications

Vera J, Marin-Sanguino A, Torres N (2010)

Computers & Operations Research 8: 1427-1438

Integration of sensitivity and bifurcation analysis to detect critical processes in a model combining signalling and cell population dynamics

Nikolov S, Lai X, Liebal UW, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2010)

International Journal of Systems Science 41: 81-105

Dynamics of microRNA regulation of cancer network

Nikolov S, Vera J, Herwig R, Wolkenhauer O, Petrov V (2010)

Comptes rendus de l'Académie Bulgare des Sciences Tome 63: No 1

Dynamical effects of epigenetic silencing of 14-3-3s expression

Vera J, Schultz J, Ibrahim S, Wolkenhauer O, Kunz M (2010)

Molecular Biosystems 6: 254-263

A multi-level model accounting for the effects of JAK2-STAT5 signal modulation in erythropoiesis

Lai X, Nikolov S, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2009)

Computational Biology and Chemistry 4: 312-324

14-3-3sigma gene silencing during melanoma progression and its role in cell cycle control and cellular senescence

Schultz J, Ibrahim SM, Vera J, Kunz M (2009)

Molecular Cancer 8: 53

Exploration of homodimer receptor - homodimer protein interactions

Vera J, Kwon T, Schmitz U, Kolch W, Wolkenhauer O (2009)

International Journal of Bioinformatics Research and Applications 4: 447-457

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Time delay and protein modulation analysis in a model of RNA silencing

Nikolov S, Lai X, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2009)

Communications of SIWN 6: 111-117

Role of inhibitory proteins as modulators of oscillations in NFkB signalling

Nikolov S, Vera J, Rath O, Kolch W, Wolkenhauer O (2009)

IET Systems Biology 3: 59-76

Time delay and Epo dose modulation in a multilevel model for erythropoiesis

Nikolov S, Lai X, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2009)

Bioautomation 12: 53-69

Dynamics of receptor and protein transducer homodimerisation

Vera J, Millat T, Kolch W, Wolkenhauer O (2008)

BMC Systems Biology 2: 92

A systems biology approach to analyse amplification in the JAK2-STAT5 signalling pathway

Vera J, Bachmann J, Pfeifer A, Becker V, Hormiga J, Torres Darias N, Timmer J, Klingmuller U, Wolkenhauer O (2008)

BMC Systems Biology 2: 38

Dynamic properties of a delayed protein cross talk model

Nikolov S, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O, Petrov V (2008)

BioSystems 91: 51 - 68

Investigation of dynamic behaviour of receptor tyrosin kinase and protein tyrosine phospatase reaction network using mathematical model

Nikolov S, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O, Petrov V (2007)

International Electronic Journal of Bioautomation (IEJB) 8: 105-114

Power-Law Models of Signal Transduction Pathways

Vera J, Balsa-Canto E, Wellstead P, Banga J R, Wolkenhauer O (2007)

Cellular Signalling 19: 1531-1541

Detection of potential enzyme targets by metabolic modelling and optimization. Application to a simple enzymopathy

Vera J, Curto R, Cascante M, Torres NV (2007)

Bioinformatics 23: 2281-2289

SBML Export Interface for Systems Biology Toolbox for Matlab

Schmidt H, Drews G, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O (2007)

Bioinformatics 23: 1297-1298

PLMaddon: a power-law module for the Matlab SBToolbox

Vera J, Sun C, Oertel Y, Wolkenhauer O (2007)

Bioinformatics 19: 2638 - 2640

Chaos in a delayed protein cross talk model with periodic forcing

Nikolov S, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O, Yankulova E, Petrov V (2007)

Comptes rendus de lAcademie bulgare des Sciences 2: 127-132

Bioinformatics analysis of interactions of receptor homodimers with intracellular protein homodimers

Vera J, Kwon T, Schmitz U, Millat T, Wolkenhauer O

Rostocker Informatik-Berichte, 31, 2007

MetMAP: An integrated Matlab package for analysis and optimisation of metabolic systems

Vera J, Torres NV (2003)

Silico Biology 4: 001
open access

Integrated nonlinear optimization of bioprocesses via linear programming

Vera J, Torres NV, Moles CG, Banga JR (2003)

AIChE Journal 12: 3173-3187

Multicriteria optimization of biochemical systems by linear programming: Application to production of ethanol by Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Vera J, de Atauri P, Cascante M, Torres NV (2003)

Biotechnology and Bioengineering 3: 335-343

Biochemical pathway modeling tools for drug target detection in Cancer and other complex diseases

Marin-Sanguino A, Gupta SK, Voit EO, Vera J

In Michael Johnson editor: Methods in Enzymology, Vol. 487,
Burlington: Academic Press, 2010, pp 319-370.

Third-Kind Encounters in Biomedicine: Immunology Meets Mathematics and Informatics to Become Quantitative and Predictive

Eberhardt M, Lai X, Tomar N, Gupta SK, Schmech B, Steinkasserer A, Schuler G, Vera J

In: Systems Medicine, Methods in Molecular Biology (2016) 1386: 135-179.
Published by Springer.

ISBN 13 (print): 9781493932825

Envisioning the Application of Systems Biology in Cancer

J.Vera, S.Gupta, O.Wolkenhauer, G.Schuler (2015)

In Cancer Immunology, N.Rezaei (ed.), 429-449, Springer 2015

ISBN 13 (print): 9783662440063

Cancer Systems Biology: Current Achievements in – Omics Data Analysis, Network Reconstruction and Mathematical Modelling

Vera J, Wolkenhauer O, Schmitz U (2014)

In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester.

Modeling Colorectal Cancer: A Stability Analysis Approach

Nikolow S, Ullah M, Nenov M, Gonzales JV, Raasch P, Wolkenhauer O

in: Medical Advancements in Aging and Regenerative Technologies; Daskalaki A
Clinical Tools and Applications: 53-75
IGI Global 2013

MicroRNA Cancer Regulation - Advanced Concepts, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Tools

Schmitz U, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (eds.)

Series: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Vol. 774
Springer 2012.

Computational microRNA biology

Schmitz U, Vera J

in: Encyclopedia of Systems Biology; Dubitzky W, Wolkenhauer O, Yokata H, Cho K-H (eds.); Springer 2012.

ISBN 13 (print): 9781441998620

Bifurcation Analysis of a Model Accounting for the 14-3-3s Signalling Compartmentalisation

Nikolov S, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O

in: Quality Assurance in Healthcare Service Delivery, Nursing, and Personalized Medicine: Technologies and Processes. Lazakidou A, Daskalaki A (eds.); Medical Information Science Reference 2011.

ISBN 10 (print): 161350120X

Modelling miRNA regulation in cancer signalling systems: miR-34a regulation of the p53/Sirt1 signalling module

Lai X, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

in: Computational Modelling of Signalling Networks; Liu X, Betterton M (eds.); Humana 2012.

ISBN 13 (print): 9781617798230

A system biology approach to understand functional activity of cell communication systems

Vera J, Wolkenhauer O

in: Methods in Nano Cell Biology; Ramaswamy B (ed.); Elsevier 2008.

ISBN 13 (print): 9781597492706

BIB: Download file

URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19195559

A power-law model to describe the dynamics of the JAK2-STAT5 signalling pathway

Vera J, Bachmann J, Pfeifer AC, Hormiga JA, Torres Darias NV, Klingmüller U, Wolkenhauer O

in: Understanding and Exploiting Systems Biology in Bioprocesses and Biomedicine; Cánovas M, Iborra JL, Manjón A (eds.); Fundacion Cajamurcia 2006.

ISBN 13 (print): 9788461111350

BIB: Download file

Identification of enzyme targets in metabolic diseases by modelling and optimisation. The case of hyperuricemia in humans

Vera J, Torres NV, Curto R, Cascante M

in: Understanding and Exploiting Systems Biology in Bioprocesses and Biomedicine; Cánovas M, Iborra JL, Manjón A (eds.); Fundacion Cajamurcia 2006.

ISBN 13 (print): 9788461111350

BIB: Download file

An integrative computational framework for personalized detection of tumor epitopes in melanoma immunotherapy

Jaitly T, Schaft N, Doerrie J, Gross S, Schuler-Thurner B, Wolkenhauer O, Schuler G, Taher L, Gupta S, Vera J

PeerJ Preprints 4:e2385v1

Predicting targets of synergistic microRNA regulation

Schmitz U, Gupta S, Lai X, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O

German Conference on Bioinformatics 2013, Göttingen, Germany

Venue: Göttingen, Germany

The regulation of microRNA target hubs

Schmitz U, Lai X, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O

International Workshop on Small RNA in Cancer, Inflammation, and Aging, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 3 - 4 , 2012.

Venue: Copenhagen, Denmark

A systems biology approach to study the cellular function of microRNAs

Lai X, Schmitz U, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O

International Workshop on Small RNA in Cancer, Inflammation, and Aging, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 3 - 4, 2012.

Venue: Copenhagen, Denmark

The role of micro RNA regulation in the early inflammatory response: miR-146a and NFkB signaling in lung inflammation

Lai X, Schulz C, Dolniak B, Wolkenhauer O, Schmeck B, Vera J, Sittka A

Symposium on Remodeling, Repair and Regeneration in Lung Diseases, Marburg, Germany, June 21-23, 2012
Best poster award

Venue: Marburg, Germany

Análisis de los fenómenos de adhesión celular en los estadios tempranos de cáncer de colon mediante un modelo de lógica multi-valuada extendida

Guebel DV, Schmitz U, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 13-16 September, 2011

Venue: Buenos Aires, Argentina

On the regulation of microRNA target hubs: a Systems Biology perspective

Lai X, Schmitz U, Gupta S, Kunz M, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

12th International Conference on Systems Biology (ICSB), Heidelberg/Mannheim, Germany, 28 August - 1 September 2011

Venue: Heidelberg/Mannheim, Germany

The role of micro RNA regulation in the early inflammatory response: miR-146a and NFkB signaling in lung inflammation

Lai X, Schulz C, Sittka A, Dolniak B, Wolkenhauer O, Schmeck B and Vera J

12th International Conference on Systems Biology (ICSB), Heidelberg/Mannheim, Germany, 28 August - 1 September 2011

Venue: Heidelberg/Mannheim, Germany

An extensive Boolean network for analysing the signalling events in early stages of humen colon cancer

Guebel DV, Schmitz U, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

11th International Conference on Systems Biology (ICSB), Edinburgh, UK, October 2010.

Venue: Edinburgh, UK

Modeling miRNA regulation in signaling networks: miR-34a regulation of p53/Sirt1 module

Lai X, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O

Conference on Systems Biology of Mammalian Cells-SBMC2010, Freiburg, Germany, 3-5 June 2010

Venue: Freiburg, Germany

Local Genomic Properties as Indicators of Functional Elements

Raasch P, Schmitz U, Patenge N, Vera J, Kreikemeyer B, Wolkenhauer O

3. Gemeinsame Tagung der DGHM und der VAAM, Hannover, Germany, 28.03.-31.03.2010

Venue: Hannover, Germany

A multi-level model accounting for the effects of JAK2-STAT5 signal modulation in erythropoiesis

Lai X, Nikolov S, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

The 2009 International Workshop on "Computational and Integrative Biology" (CIB 2009), Hangzhou, China, 18.09.-20.09.2009

Venue: Hangzhou, China

Use of sensitivity analysis to detect critical biochemical processes in a mathematical model linking intracellular and cell population dynamics in erythropoiesis

Lai X, Liebal U, Nikolov S, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J

The 6th Conference on Computational Methods in Systems Biology (CMSB), Rostock-Warnemünde, Germany, October 2008

Venue: Rostock-Warnemünde, Germany

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Computational Systems Biology of Cell Signalling - COSBICS

Wolkenhauer, O, Vera J

9th International Conference on Systems Biology, Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden, August 2008

Venue: Gothenburg, Sweden

Exploring cell signalling homodimer receptor-homodimer protein interactions and their dynamical consequences

Vera J, Millat T, Kwon T, Schmitz U, Wolkenhauer O

German Conference on Bioinformatics, Potsdam, Germany, 26 September - 28 September 2007

Venue: Potsdam, Germany

Modelling of negative feedback loops regulating the JAK2/STAT5 signal transduction pathway

Bachmann J, Fleck C, Maiwald T, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O, Timmer J, Klingmüller U

Proc. ICSB 2006, Yokohama, Japan, 2006

Venue: Yokohama, Japan

A power-law model with delay to describe the dynamic behaviour of Jak2-Stat5 pathway: from the modelling strategy to the analysis of the properties

Vera J, Bachmann J, Pfeifer A, Hormiga JA, Torres Darias NV, Klingmüller U, Wolkenhauer O

1st International Symposium on Systems Biology: From genomes to in silico and back. Murcia, Spain, June 2006

Venue: Murcia, Spain

Interview mit Dr. Julio Vera González

In "Profile" (Magazin der Universität Rostock)

Extending the philosophy of the general public licenses to the development of software tools in systems biology: A powerlaw module for the Matlab SBToolbox

Sun C, Vera J, O.Wolkenhauer O

Rostocker Informatik Berichte 30(2), pp. 41-45, 2006
ISSN: 0233-0784