Jordi Gonzalez Molina

Research Specialist

About me

I am a research specialist at Kaisa Lehti's group (MTC). My main research interests are the biophysical, biochemical, and cellular aspects of the tumour microenvironmnet and their impact on tumourigenesis and tumour development. A second focus of my research is the development of 3D in vitro culture methods using Biomaterials to mimic and study the tumour microenvironment.

Research description

Sarcoma Projects

Sarcomas are a very diverse group of malignancies accounting for about 1% of adult and 15% of childhood cancers. Sarcomas arise from connective tissues and are typically rich in structural extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins such as fibrillar collagens, however specific sarcoma subtypes such as rhabdomyosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma are exceptions. With the final goal of improving patient treatment, we are investigating the impact of the tumour microenvironment, with a biomechanical and ECM focus, on sarcomagenesis and tumour progression.  We are currently working on two main sarcoma projects:

  1. Impact of cell- and ECM-induced mechanical confinement on rhabdomyosarcoma tumorigenesis and tumour progression.
  2. Dysregulation of fibrillar collagen turnover and mechanosensing in leiomyosarcoma.

These studies involve an in-depth tissue characterisation combining multi-omics technologies with biomechanical and image analysis techniques. Moreover, we develop biomaterial-based 3D culture systems to mimic clinically relevant cellular and ECM tissue features to functionally assess the mechanisms of action of potential novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets.


Relevant Publications

  1. Gonzalez-Molina J., Kirchhof K.M. , Rathod B., Moyano-Galceran L., Calvo-Noriega M., Kokaraki G., Bjørkøy A., Ehnman M., Carlson J.W., Lehti K. Mechanical Confinement and DDR1 Signaling Synergize to Regulate Collagen-Induced Apoptosis in Rhabdomyosarcoma Cells. Adv Sci. 2022 Aug 11;e2202552.

  2. Gultekin O., Gonzalez-Molina J.,Hardell E., Moyano-Galceran L., Mitsios N., Mulder J., Kokaraki G., Isaksson A., Sarhan D., Lehti K., Carlson J.W. FOXP3+ T cells in uterine sarcomas are associated with favorable prognosis, low extracellular matrix expression and reduced YAP activation. Npj Precision Oncology. 2021 Nov 19;5(1):97.

  3. Binzer-Panchal A., Hardell E., Viklund B., Ghaderi M., Bosse T., Nucci M.R., Lee C.H., Hollfelder N., Corcoran P., Gonzalez-Molina J., Moyano-Galceran L., Bell D.A., Schoolmeester J.K., Måsbäck A., Kristensen G.B., Davidson B., Lehti K., Isaksson A., Carlson J.W. Integrated Molecular Analysis of Undifferentiated Uterine Sarcomas Reveals Clinically Relevant Molecular Subtypes. Clin. Cancer Res. 2019 Apr 1;25(7):2155-2165.

  4. Gonzalez-Molina J., Gramolelli S., Liao Z., Carlson J.W., Ojala P.M., Lehti K. MMP14 in Sarcoma: A Regulator of Tumor Microenvironment Communication in Connective Tissues. Cells. 2019 Aug 28;8(9).

  5. Gonzalez-Molina J., Zhang X., Borghesan M., Mendonça da Silva J., Awan M., Fuller B., Gavara N., Selden C. Extracellular fluid viscosity enhances liver cancer cell mechanosensing and migration. Biomaterials. 2018 Sep;177:113-124.


Ovarian Cancer Projects

In high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSC), cancer cells originating in the ovary/fallopian tube disseminate throughout the peritoneum and invade the fatty tissue of the omentum. This process involves cell migration through adipose tissue and considerable remodelling of the tumour microenvironment (TME). With disease progression, the initially adipocyte-rich tissue is increasingly replaced by a fibrotic tissue with high extracellular matrix (ECM) and cancer associated fibroblast (CAF) content, leading to profound changes in cellular composition, tissue architecture, and mechanics. We aim to understand how HGSC cells invade and remodel the omentum, and how the evolving features of the TME regulate therapy response. To answer these questions, we combine the analysis of patient-derived tissue, ex vivo cultures and co-cultures, and the development of novel hydrogel-based artificial tissues.


Relevant Publications

  1. Gonzalez-Molina J., Moyano-Galceran L., Single A. §, Gultekin O., Alsalhi S., Lehti K. Chemotherapy as a regulator of extracellular matrix-cell communication: implications in therapy resistance. Seminars in Cancer Biology. 2022 Mar 21;S1044-579X(22)00068-2.

  2. Pietilä E.A., Gonzalez-Molina J., Moyano-Galceran L., Jamalzadeh S., Zhang K., Lehtinen L., Turunen S.P., Martins T.A., Gultekin O., Lamminen T., Kaipio K., Joneborg U., Hynninen J., Hietanen S., Grénman S., Lehtonen R., Hautaniemi S., Carpén O., Carlson J.W., Lehti K. Co-evolution of matrisome and adaptive adhesion dynamics drives ovarian cancer chemoresistance. Nature Communications. 2021 Jun 23;12(1):3904.

Teaching portfolio

PhD student course, Tumor microenvironment, Dept. of Oncology-Pathology, KI (2019, 2020, 2021), course co-organizer


2015 – 2018, MPhil/PhD in Cancer mechanobiology, Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, University College London, London, UK.

2013 – 2014, MSc in Biomedical Research, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

2006 – 2011, BSc in Human Biology, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.