Dept. of Systems Biology and Bioinformatics is a part of the University of Rostock, Germany Universität Rostock

Prof. Julio V. González

Image: Prof. Julio V. González

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


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


Vera J, Raatz Y, Wolkenhauer O, Kottek T, Bhattacharaya A, Simon JC, Kunz M
Chk1 and Wee1 control genotoxic-stress induced G2-M arrest in melanoma cells

Accepted for publication in Cellular Signaling (2015).

Guebel DV, Schmitz U, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2012)
Analysis of cell adhesion during early stages of colon cancer based on an extended multi-valued logic approach

Molecular Biosystems 8(4):1230-1242


Vera J, Marin-Sanguino A, Torres N (2010)
Optimization of biochemical systems through mathematical programming: methods and applications

Computers & Operations Research 8: 1427-1438

Vera J, Schultz J, Ibrahim S, Wolkenhauer O, Kunz M (2010)
Dynamical effects of epigenetic silencing of 14-3-3s expression

Molecular Biosystems 6: 254-263

Nikolov S, Lai X, Liebal UW, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2010)
Integration of sensitivity and bifurcation analysis to detect critical processes in a model combining signalling and cell population dynamics

International Journal of Systems Science 41: 81-105

Schultz J, Ibrahim SM, Vera J, Kunz M (2009)
14-3-3sigma gene silencing during melanoma progression and its role in cell cycle control and cellular senescence

Molecular Cancer 8: 53
open access

Lai X, Nikolov S, Wolkenhauer O, Vera J (2009)
A multi-level model accounting for the effects of JAK2-STAT5 signal modulation in erythropoiesis

Computational Biology and Chemistry 4: 312-324


Nikolov S, Vera J, Rath O, Kolch W, Wolkenhauer O (2009)
Role of inhibitory proteins as modulators of oscillations in NFkB signalling

IET Systems Biology 3: 59-76

Vera J, Wolkenhauer O
A system biology approach to understand functional activity of cell communication systems

in: Methods in Nano Cell Biology; Ramaswamy B (ed.); Elsevier 2008. ISBN 13: 9781597492706 ... More

Vera J, Millat T, Kolch W, Wolkenhauer O (2008)
Dynamics of receptor and protein transducer homodimerisation

BMC Systems Biology 2: 92
open access

Vera J, Bachmann J, Pfeifer A, Becker V, Hormiga J, Torres Darias N, Timmer J, Klingmuller U, Wolkenhauer O (2008)
A systems biology approach to analyse amplification in the JAK2-STAT5 signalling pathway

BMC Systems Biology 2: 38
open access

Nikolov S, Vera J, Wolkenhauer O, Petrov V (2008)
Dynamic properties of a delayed protein cross talk model

BioSystems 91: 51 - 68


Vera J, Curto R, Cascante M, Torres NV (2007)
Detection of potential enzyme targets by metabolic modelling and optimization. Application to a simple enzymopathy

Bioinformatics 23: 2281-2289

Vera J, Sun C, Oertel Y, Wolkenhauer O (2007)
PLMaddon: a power-law module for the Matlab SBToolbox

Bioinformatics 19: 2638 - 2640

Vera J, Balsa-Canto E, Wellstead P, Banga J R, Wolkenhauer O (2007)
Power-Law Models of Signal Transduction Pathways

Cellular Signalling 19: 1531-1541

Vera J, Torres NV (2003)
MetMAP: An integrated Matlab package for analysis and optimisation of metabolic systems

Silico Biology 4: 001
open access

Vera J, Torres NV, Moles CG, Banga JR (2003)
Integrated nonlinear optimization of bioprocesses via linear programming

AIChE Journal 12: 3173-3187
open access

Vera J, de Atauri P, Cascante M, Torres NV (2003)
Multicriteria optimization of biochemical systems by linear programming: Application to production of ethanol by Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Biotechnology and Bioengineering 3: 335-343

open access

Contact Details

University Hosptital Erlangen
Ulmenweg 18
91054 Erlangen, Germany

Collaborators & Partners

University of Rostock
Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)
Research Units for Systems Biology
Prof. Manfred Kunz
Comprehensive Centre for Inflammation Medicine
University of Lübeck
Nestor Torres Darias
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular biology, University of La Laguna, Tenerife/Spain
Prof. Dr. Svetoslav Nikolov
Institute of Mechanics and Biomechanics (BAS), Sofia/Bulgaria