Ana Lleo

Ana Lleo
Ana Lleo Prof.
Humanitas University
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Valencia (Spain) and obtained my degree in Medicine from the University of Milan (Italy) in 2000. I completed my clinical training and received the Board Certification in Internal Medicine and Hepatology in 2006. In the same year, I started my PhD at the University of California-Davis (Davis, CA, USA), where I focused on the study of cholangiocyte biology, liver innate immune response, and the pathogenesis of cholestatic diseases. I went back to Milan in 2010 and joined the Hepatobiliary Immunopathology Lab at the Humanitas Clinical Research Center.
During all this time I was exposed to great mentors and amazing colleagues who encourage me to make a difference through clinical research. I am currently Attending Hepatologist and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in Humanitas University.
Can you share one or two of your specific research interests?
My scientific carrier has been focused in the study of cholangiocyte biology and liver immunology. Currently, my work involves both laboratory and clinical research. I lead a group of young brilliant people that focuses on clinical and etiopathogenetic aspects of liver cancer, with particular attention for liver immune response. I am particularly interested in dissecting the immune microenvironment of cholangiocarcinoma.
Why did you decide to specialize in hepatobiliary cancers?
It was just good luck. I have always been fascinated by cholangiocyte biology and liver immunology, and the more I studied the more realized that cholangiocarcinoma was a major unmet need for patients that needed to be addressed.
Can you describe one of the unforgettable moments in your patients care or research that has impacted your career?
There is no one moment! Working with liver cancer patients on daily basis make an impact on who you are. You find people that inspire you to do you best, recall who you are as a doctor, and remind you the essence of what life is about.
Can you tell us one thing collaboration with colleagues could accomplish that you could not accomplish on your own?
I deal on daily basis with patients affected of Liver Diseases, including Liver Cancer. Working with colleagues from different backgrounds within a multidisciplinary environment has convince me that, if we collaborate, we can truly make a difference. There is very little, if any, that you can do on you own. Collaboration is essential in cancer research, both clinical and basic.
If you had access to one resource that would move your research forward, what would that resource be?
More funding, more time! More talented young people willing to start a career in high-risk science.
How did you learn about the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation?
I was invited to participate in a Workshop by Stacey Lindsey, CEO of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF). It was and incredible personal and professional experience. I profoundly admire the work they do and how they are able to involve professionals, patients, and care givers for a common goal.
Can you tell us why you became a member of the ICRN?
ICRN represents one of the most relevant networks worldwide working on cholangiocarcinoma; it is an honour to be a member of ICRN.