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Dr. Xabier Agirre Ena

Researcher. Hemato-Oncology program.
Study of alterations in epigenetic mechanisms in hematological neoplasms.

Be part of: Cima Universidad de Navarra

Professional career

Bachelor in Biology (1997). University of Navarra.
Doctor in Biology (2002). University of Navarra.


Dr. Xabier Agirre graduated in Biology from the University of Navarra in 1997, completed his PhD at the Department of Genetics at the University of Navarra from 1997 to 2002. After his PhD, he completed his post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Felipe Prósper at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra (2002-2004). From 2004 to date, Dr. Agirre has been the Principal Investigator and head of the Cancer Epigenetic Mechanisms Laboratory of the CIMA Onco-hematology Program. In 2007 he completed a 6-month stay in the laboratory of Prof. Reiner Siebert (Institute of Human Genetics. Kiel, Germany). During the years 2013-2015, thanks to obtaining a Marie Curie contract from the European Commission, Dr. Agirre was a visiting member in the laboratory of Dr. Ari Melnick at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York (USA). In 2015, he moved again to the CIMA of the University of Navarra where he continues his work as Principal Investigator of the Epigenetic Mechanisms of Cancer group. In addition, during the years 2015-2017 he was director of the Genomics Unit of CIMA Lab Diagnostics.


Dr. Agirre´s principal research interest and key discoveries have been focused on Molecular bases of the hematological malignancies: Within this research line, Dr. Agirre has focused on a) Determination of the role of epigenetic alterations in the prognosis and pathogenesis of hematological malignancies: We have contributed to prove that hypermethylation of different genes has a prognostic role in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and to identify new routes involved in the disease regulated by DNA methylation and histone modifications. b) Determine the role played by DNA methylation, histone modifications, transcriptional regulation and epitranscriptome in normal hematopoietic differentiation and in lymphoid neoplasms, particularly MM: In this case, in collaboration with the group of Dr. Inaki Martin-Subero and in the context of the Blueprint consortium, we have defined the epigenome and DNA methylome of patients with MM. c) Over the last years, we have focused on identifying novel epigenetic drugs as potential novel treatments for hematological tumors: Specifically, and in collaboration with Dr. Julen Oyarzabal and Dr. Antonio Pineda's group at our institution, we have developed several novel chemical series of epigenetic inhibitors that are being validated in myeloid and lymphoid tumors, as well as different solid tumors.


As an educator

Dr. Agirre has been a professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Navarra since 1997 and has been a Collaborating Professor since 2022. He first participated as an assistant professor in undergraduate courses and, from 2007 to the present, he is the professor responsible for the subject "Epigenetic mechanisms of cancer" at the University Master's Degree in Biomedical Research from the University of Navarra. In 2023 he was accredited as a professor by AQU Catalunya. He has directed 11 doctoral theses (4 more in progress), 10 final master's projects and 3 final degree projects.

As a researcher

Dr. Agirre has participated as principal investigator or collaborator in 45 regional, national or international projects. He is the inventor of 6 patents and has published more than 140 articles in journals indexed in ISI web of knowledge with an Impact factor, with an H factor of 53 and more than 9100 citations.
More information

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