Felipe Cortés

Research interest

The DNA damage response (DDR) ensures efficient and accurate repair of DNA breaks, coordinating it with important cellular functions such as cell cycle progression, chromatin dynamics and gene expression. Deficiencies in the DDR can compromise cell survival, genome integrity and tissue homeostasis, with the consequent implications for human health. This is exemplified by a range of human genetic syndromes with characteristic developmental, degenerative and/or cancer predisposition problems. We apply a comprehensive approach, covering from the detailed molecular analysis of the process to the pathological implications in patients and animal models, in order to understand how DNA breaks are signaled and repaired, and how, if inefficient or aberrant, these processes can impact on human health.


  • Feng, W.; Kawauchi, D; Körkel-Qu, H.; Deng, H; Serger, E; Sieber, L.; Lieberman, J.A.; Jimeno-González, S.; Lambo, S.; Hanna, B.; Harim, Y.; Jansen, M.; Neuerburg, A.; Friesen, O.; Zuckermann, M.; Rajendran, V.; Gronych, J.; Ayrault, O.; Korshunov, A.; Jones, D; Kool, M.; Northcott, P.; Cortés-Ledesma, F.; Lichter, P.; Pfister, S. and Liu, H.K. The chromatin remodeler Chd7 is indispensable for mammalian brain development through activation of a neuronal differentiation program Nature Communications in press

  • Sastre-Moreno, G.; Pryor, J.M.; Moreno-Oñate, M.; Herrero-Ruiz, A.; Cortés-Ledesma, F.; Blanco, L.; Ramsden, D. and Ruiz-Pérez, J.F. Regulation of human Polλ by ATM-mediated phosphorylation during non-homologous end joining DNA Repair in press

  • Caron, P.; Choudjaye, J.; Clouaire, T.; Bugler, B.; Daburon, V.; Aguirrebengoa, M.; Mangeat, T. Iacovoni, J.S.; Álvarez-Quilón, A.; Cortés-Ledesma, F. and Legube, G. (2015) Non-redundant functions of ATM and DNA-PKcs in response to DNA double-strand-breaks Cell Reports 13: 1598-1609

  • Gomez-Herreros, F.; Schuurs-Hoeijmakers, J.H.M; McCormack, M.; Greally, M.T.; Rulten, S.; Romero-Granados, R.; Counihan, T.J.; Chaila, E.; Conroy, J.; Ennis, S.; Heinzen, E.; Goldstein, D.B.; Delanty, N.; Cortés-Ledesma, F.; de Brouwer, A.P.M.; Cavalleri, G.L.; El Khamisy, S.F.; de Vries, B.B.A. and Caldecott, K.W. (2014) TDP2 protects transcription from abortive Topoisomerase 2 activity and maintains normal neural function Nature Genetics 46: 516-521

  • Álvarez-Quilón, A.; Serrano-Benítez, A.; Lieberman J.A.; Quintero, C.; Sánchez-Gutiérrez, D.; Escudero, L.M. and Cortés-Ledesma, F. (2014) ATM specifically mediates repair of double-strand breaks with blocked DNA ends Nature Communications 5: 3347

  • Gómez-Herreros, F.; Romero-Granados, R.; Zeng, Z.; Álvarez-Quilón, A.; Quintero, C.; Ju, L.; Umans, L.; Vermeire, L.; Huylebroeck, D.; Caldecott, K.W. y Cortés-Ledesma, F. (2013) TDP2-dependent non-homologous end-joining protects against topoisomerase II-induced DNA breaks and genome instability in cells and in vivo PLoS Genetics 9: e1003226

  • Muñoz-Galván, S.; López-Saavedra, A.; Jackson, S.P.; Huertas, P.; Cortés-Ledesma, F.* and Aguilera, A. * (2013) Competing roles of DNA end resection and non-homologous end joining functions in the repair of replication born double-strand breaks by sister-chromatid recombination Nucleic Acids Research 41: 1669-1683

  • Zeng, Z.; Cortés-Ledesma, F.*; El Khamisy, S. F.* and Caldecott, K. W.* (2011) TDP2/TTRAP is the major 5’-tyrosyl DNA phosphodiesterase activity in vertebrate cells and is critical for cellular resistance to topoisomerase II-induced DNA damage Journal of Biological Chemistry 286: 403-409

  • Cortés-Ledesma, F.*; El-Khamisy S. F.; Zuma, M. C.; Osborn, K. and Caldecott, K. W.* (2009) A human 5'-tyrosyl DNA phosphodiesterase that repairs topoisomerase-mediated DNA damage Nature 461: 674-678

Active Grants

  • 2015-2020: European Research Council, Consolidator Grant, ERC-CoG-2014-647359. 2,000,000 €

  • 2015-2017: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, Proyectos de I+D+I del Programa Estatal de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad, SAF2014-55532-R. 266,200 €

  • 2015-2017: Fundación Ramón Areces, XVII Concurso Nacional para la adjudicación de Ayudas a la Investigación en Ciencias de la Vida y de la Materia. 128,000 €

Group members

Group leader:
  • Felipe Cortés Ledesma
Senior Researchers:
  • Dr. José F. Ruiz
  • Carlos Gómez Marín
  • Cristina González Aguilera
  • Silvia Jimeno González
  • Pedro Manuel Martínez Garcia
  • Marta Muñoz Barrera
PhD students:
  • Andrés Herrero Ruiz
  • Rajender Katamoni
  • Jenna Lieberman
  • Almudena Serrano Benitez
  • José Terrón Bautista
  • Cristina Robledo Bernal Lozano
  • Irene Delgado Sainz
Master students:
  • Marta Moreno Oñate
  • Raquel Romero Bueno