ESR10 – Adriana Sanna – based in Lund

Project Title: Establishing the role of MITF and related genes in melanoma survival and development
PhD Award Expected: Summer 2020

I’m Adriana and I come from the beautiful island of Sardinia, in Italy. I got my bachelor in Biology in Milan, and afterwards I spent some great time in London while applying for universities abroad. In 2013, I was delighted to receive the acceptance at the Leiden University Medical Center, where I’m graduating in Biomedical Sciences Research. As one of the most prestigious universities in The Netherlands, I personally appreciated its diverse and excellent environment, without to mention that is an astonishing country.

For my final thesis I also had the chance to work in the popular city of Los Angeles (US); I had great time in lab as well as visiting California during spare time. Such stimulating environment reinforced my propensity to continue as PhD in a foreign country. So, once back to Europe, I was particularly proud to have been chosen as member of MELGEN, which is giving me the exciting possibility to keep on working in Lund, Sweden, for the next years of my career.

Of course, I couldn’t do anything without the constant support of my loyal travel-buddy, MaryJane; who, after an year of full summer time in California, is still quite in doubt about how Swedish winter looks like..!

Research Summary

Data for this project is currently under embargo pending publication in an open-access peer-reviewed journal and will be updated here following publication.


Phung B, Cieśla M, Sanna A, Guzzi N, Beneventi G, Cao Thi Ngoc P, Lauss M, Cabrita R, Cordero E, Bosch A, Rosengren F, Häkkinen J, Griewank K, Paschen A, Harbst K, Olsson H, Ingvar C, Carneiro A, Tsao H, Schadendorf D, Pietras K, Bellodi C, Jönsson G. The X-Linked DDX3X RNA Helicase Dictates Translation Reprogramming and Metastasis in Melanoma. Cell Rep. 2019 Jun 18;27(12):3573-3586.e7. Available at:

Sanna A, Harbst K, Johansson I, Christensen G, Lauss M, Mitra S, Rosengren F, Häkkinen J, Vallon-Christersson J, Olsson H, Ingvar Å, Isaksson K, Ingvar C, Nielsen K, Jönsson G. Tumour genetic heterogeneity analysis of chronic sun-damaged melanoma. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2019 Dec 7. Available at:

Cabrita R, Lauss M, Sanna A, Donia M, Skaarup Larsen M, Mitra S, Johansson I, Phung B, Harbst K, Vallon-Christersson J, van Schoiack A, Lövgren K, Warren S, Jirström K, Olsson H, Pietras K, Ingvar C, Isaksson K, Schadendorf D, Schmidt H, Bastholt L, Carneiro A, Wargo JA, Svane IM, Jönsson G. Tertiary lymphoid structures improve immunotherapy and survival in melanoma. Nature. 2020 Jan;577(7791):561-565. Available at: