Research Directions and labs
Cancer research

D. Pjanova lab

Dace Pjanova , Dr. biol.

Senior researcher
Phone: +371 67808215


Cancer Cell Biology and Melanoma Research group has been established by joining two groups with expertise in cancer cell biology (lead by Dr. habil. med. Jekaterina Erenpreisa) and melanoma (lead by Dr. biol. Dace Pjanova) with the focus on fundamental problems of cancer cell biology.

Currently, the main priority of the group is the search for properties of tumour cells associated with resistance to treatments, either genotoxic or targeted, focusing studies on the relationship between induced reversible polyploidy, embryonality, and accelerated cell senescence (Figure 1), in combination with genetic and epigenetic changes in tumour cells. 



Figure 1. A graphical Abstract from the article by Salmina et al. “The cancer aneuploidy paradox: In the light of evolution”, Genes (Basel), 2019. Jan 25;10(2). pii: E83. doi: 10.3390/genes10020083.

Additional problems explored by the group are i) innate immunity role in the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy, ii) cell nucleus epigenetic and structural regulation in the models of induced differentiation of cancer cells, and iii) identifying high, medium to low risk melanoma susceptibility genes as well as inherited variations in genes that could have an effect on the melanoma outcome and treatment response.

Historically, the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology was founded by Prof. Jānis Oļģerts Ērenpreiss (1929-1996)

Prof. Jānis Oļģerts Ērenpreiss, Dr habil. med, was a theoretician and experimentator in the cell nucleus structure and carcinogenesis. He wrote several books on the theory of cancer. His last book ‘Current Concepts of Malignant Growth. Part A. From a Normal Cell to Cancer’ was published in 1993. Jānis planned to write Part B ‘From Cancer to the Normal Cell’, however passed away. On the whole, from the very first experiments as a PhD student on normalisation of cancer cells by the regenerative field, he was an adept of the embryological theory of cancer, started by great scientists of the 19th century. In particular, Jānis developed the gametogenetic model of carcinogenesis. He used to say: “Nothing but cell fetalisation occurs during cancerogenesis”.

Now when the embryological properties of cancer cells due to the discovery of their stemness became so evident, the monography of Jānis Ērenpreiss in many aspects has become very actual. As well, it contains a very interesting review and analysis on the complementary pair of the oncogenes c-myc and ras and on the role of proto-oncogenes in normal gametogenesis. Therefore, it is republished here by Jekaterina Ērenpreisa with permission of the Publishing House "Zvaigzne" in the electronic form.

  J Ērenpreiss. Current Concepts of Malignant Growth. Part A. From a Normal Cell to Cancer

Scientific Staff

Jekaterina Ērenpreisa , Dr. habil. med.,

Jekaterina Ērenpreisa , Dr. habil. med.

Leading researcher
Phone: +371 67808220

Rūta Veinalde , Dr. rer. nat.,

Rūta Veinalde , Dr. rer. nat.

Phone: +371 67808215

Kristīne Salmiņa , Dr. biol.,

Kristīne Salmiņa , Dr. biol.

Phone: +371 67808220

Zane Simsone , MSc.biol.,

Zane Simsone , MSc.biol.

Research assistants
Phone: +371 67808215

Ilze Leve ,

Ilze Leve

Laboratory assistant
Phone: 67808215

Nineļa Miriama Vainšeļbauma , MSc. biol.,

Irina Verhovcova , BSc. biol.,

Irina Verhovcova , BSc. biol.

Laboratory assistant
Phone: 67808215

Cooperation partners


GenoMEL/BioGenoMEL – melanoma genetics consortiums

Prof. Mark S Cragg, Southampton University, Cancer Research Units, UK - cancer cell biology

Dr. Thomas R Jackson, PhD – Manchester University, Cancer Research Centre, UK – cancer, cell senescence

Prof. Michael Hausmann, Heidelberg University, Kirschhoff Institute of Physics, Germany – superresolution microscopy, organisation of the chromatin

Prof. Alessandro Giuliani, Ist. Super. di Sanita, Rome, Italy – system biology, statistics

Dr. Alexander Belyayev, Inst. Botany, Prague, Czech Republic – transposable elements, FISH

Dr. Masa Tchuchiya, Keio University, Tsuruoka, Japan – physics of the chromatin

Prof. Kenichi Yoshikawa, Doshisha University, Kyotanabe, Japan - biophysics of the chromatin

Prof. Alexander Vinogradov and Dr. Olga Anatskaya, Institute of Cytology, St. Petersburg, Russia – polyploidy transcriptome.

Dr. Vita Pašukiene, National Cancer Institute, Center of Scientific Resesarch, Lithuania – immunomodulation and adjuvants in cancer therapy.


Prof. Simona Donina, Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital Latvian Oncology Center – cancer immunology

Prof. Sergejs Isajevs, Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital Latvian Oncology Center, Pathology Center – melanoma pathology

Prof. Jelena Kirilova, Daugavpils University, Daugavpils – fluorescent probes

Dr. Guna Feldmane, Ltd “Larifan” – immunomodulation

Dr. Tālivaldis Freivalds, Latvian University – chromatin stainability

Dr. Juris Ērenpreiss, Riga Stradins University – sperm chromatin

Dr. Inna Inashkina, BMC – molecular genetics


Prof. Yi-Ling Lin, Academia Sinica, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Taiwan – antiviral properties of dsRNA

Dr.Christine E. Engeland, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), National Center for Tumor Diseases, Heidelberg, Germany – immunotherapy in cancer


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Current Projects

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Mājas lapas izstrādi finansēja ERAF aktivitātes projekts Nr. 2010/0196/2DP/ "Latvijas biomedicīnas pētījumu integrācija Eiropas zinātnes telpā".