Germán Rivas

CSIC pre-doctoral fellow (1985-1989): Instituto de Química Física, CSIC, Madrid. Fogarty postdoctoral fellow (1990-1992): National Institutes of Health, Bethesda. EMBO postdoctoral fellow (1993-1994): Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland. CSIC tenure-track scientist (1994-1995), CSIC scientist (1996-2005), investigator (2006-2015) and research professor (since 2015) at CIB-CSIC (Laboratory of Systems Biochemistry, Department of Structural and Chemical Biology), Madrid. Visiting scholar (Max Planck Inst. Biochemistry; 07/18-12/18). His research lines integrate biochemistry, biophysics, membrane reconstitution, and bottom-up synthetic biology approaches to reconstruct minimal bacterial division engines from its molecular building blocks in controlled cell-like environments. This challenge, to attain or optimize functionality, require a profound mechanistic understanding of how the elements of the essential molecular machines driving division (the divisome) are organized, in time and space, as a network of multiple interactions to function. It is his thesis that the behavior of these machines is governed not only by specific molecular interactions but also by the physicochemical properties of the intracellular environment, as molecular crowding, surface interactions, and -more in particular- compartmentation driven by liquid-liquid phase separation, an emergent mechanism of the intracellular organization. This effort, which is framed in the quest of building synthetic cells from scratch, will contribute to complete his understanding of how bacterial cells divide and organize their intracellular space, and will provide novel horizons for biotechnological and biomedical applications.

María J. Barrena

Obtained a Master Degree in Chemistry by the Universidad de Extremadura in 2000. Thanks to a CSIC grant for undergraduate students, she joined the Department of Crystallography and Structural Biology (Institute “Rocasolano”, CSIC). She did the PhD in the same Department, under the supervision of Prof. Martín Martínez-Ripoll and Dr. Armando Albert, working on the molecular mechanisms of salt stress in plants and with the support of a FPU grant. In 2006, she became FEBS postdoctoral fellow and moved to the MRC-LMB (Cambridge, UK), where she worked with Dr. Phil Evans, and in collaboration with Dr. Harvey McMahon and Dr. Mariann Bienz. She worked on projects with biomedical interest, combining crystallography with biochemical, molecular and cellular approaches. In 2009 she went back to Spain with a Ramón y Cajal contract and joined the CBGP (UPM-INIA). After a short stay, she moved to her former lab at Institute "Rocasolano". In 2017 she was awarded with a "Leonardo" grant from "Fundación BBVA" and this year she has finally obtained a permanent position as "Científico Titular" in the same institute. Her research interest is focused in understanding Ca2+ mediated signal transduction processes at molecular level that may yield to biomedical and biotechnological applications in the field of neurobiology. Concretely, she studies how Ca2+ orchestrates protein-protein interactions at the vicinity of the membrane. To understand these molecular mechanisms, she carries out structural (crystallography mainly), biochemical and biophysical approaches, with the aim of finding regulatory molecules that permit to understand certain signalling pathways with therapeutic potential.

Carlo Viscomi

He is a Senior Investigator Scientist at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Cambridge. He had a degree in Biology at the Department of Biomolecular Sciences and subsequently a PhD in Physiological Sciences at the University of Milan where he was initially trained as an electrophysiologist, working on the pacemaker channels responsible for the spontaneous heart activity. During his PhD, he moved his interests into molecular biology and mouse genetics. From 2004 to 2009, he became a postdoctoral fellow, at the Molecular Neurogenetic Unit, Neurological Institute “C. Besta” and then a group leader, working on mitochondrial diseases with the specific goal of investigating the molecular basis of these disorders and developing new therapies. In 2013 he moved to the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit (MBU), Cambridge, UK as a Senior Investigator Scientist. At the MBU, he continued to focus on the development of new experimental therapies for mitochondrial disorders, including the possibility to improve OxPhos defects by overexpressing the master regulator of mitochondrial cristae Opa1, the use of rapamycin to increase mitochondrial clearance by autophagy, and the implementation of AAV-based gene therapy approaches. One of these approaches, based on the stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis using the NAD precursor nicotinamide riboside, is currently under clinical trial. In collaboration with several groups at the MBU, he contributed to several publications in the fields of mitochondrial biology and medicine, including the development of zinc-fingers-based approaches to shift mitochondrial heteroplasmy, and the definition of the structure of mitochondrial complex I. In January 2019 he moved to the University of Padova, Italy as a Professor of Genetics.

Patricia Ferreira

Obtained her PhD in Science (Biochemistry) in 2004 at CIB-CSIC for her work on structural biology with a flavo-oxidase. She did a postdoctoral stay at the College of Medicine at Drexel University in Philadelphia-USA working on the mechanism of action of a flavoprotein involved in antibiotic biosynthesis, and a second one at the CIB-CSIC in Madrid-Spain focusing her project on redox enzymes and their utilization in white biotechnology. In 2009, she was awarded a “Juan de la Cierva” grant, and joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Zaragoza. She is currently Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Academic Coordinator of the Degree in Biotechnology at University of Zaragoza. She is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI) and PI responsible of the Associate Research Join-Unit BIFI-CSIC "Group of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Computational Biology". Her research work is devoted to understand the action mechanisms of flavo-oxidoreductases as a key tool to exploit their biotechnological and therapeutical potential using Cellular, Biochemical, Biophysical and Computational approaches.

Pilar Cortés

Obtained her B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the Universidad de Navarra (Spain) and received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain). She initiated her scientific career in the field of Clinical Microbiology, in the study of molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases caused by bacteria and parasites, and in the study of the mechanisms of bacterial resistance to antimicrobials. She joined the Group of Molecular Microbiology of the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in October 2001. At present, she participates as a researcher in different lines of the group focused on the identification of bacterial targets for new antimicrobial compounds in Salmonella spp. and Acinetobacter baumannii, high-affinity iron uptake systems as targets for immunotherapy, and in bacteriophage-based therapies.

Emiliano Maiani

Obtained a Master Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” defending a thesis on “Degradation of ribosomes through autophagy in mammalian cells”. He earned his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology (2013) at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” under the supervision of Stefania Gonfloni, where he worked on death pathways triggered by chemotherapeutic agents in female germline cells. In 2013, he joined the Cell Stress and Survival laboratory headed by prof. Francesco Cecconi at the Danish Cancer Society Research Center (DCRC), Copenhagen, Denmark. During this period he worked on the crosstalk between autophagy, cell proliferation and DNA damage repair pathways. At the end of 2017, he moved for a second postdoc at the Computational Biology Laboratory headed by Elena Papaleo at the DCRC, Copenhagen. In this period, he expanded his knowledge to computational and structural biology. Since 2019 he is Senior Scientist at the Computational Biology Laboratory where he carries in silico and in vitro approaches for the study of Short Linear Motifs in apoptosis and autophagy context.

Ángel Millán

He got his PhD in chemistry in 1990 in the University of Balearic Islands. His research experience comprises stays in: University College London (2 months), Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of Czechoslovakia (4 months), University of Nijmegen (4 years), IMP/CNRS Perpignan (1year). He is a senior scientist in the Institute of Materials Science of Aragón since 1996. Actually, his main research interests are multifunctional biomedical nanoplatforms and nanothermometry. He has published 100 papers (2745 citations, H-index=22), 7 book chapters, 3 international patents, and 4 Spanish patents. He has participated in 98 international congresses. His management experience includes coordinating 4 Spanish national projects and 8 international projects. He has also participated in 37 national and international research projects as co-investigator.

Rodrigo Fernández-Pacheco

Obtained his degree in Chemistry at the University of Zaragoza, in 2000. At the Department of Inorganic Chemistry he obtained the Advanced Studies Diploma (2000-2002) in the field of syhtnesis of organometallic compounds and homogeneous catalysis, under the supervision of Prof. Daniel Carmona. He worked at the Quality Analysis laboratory of the food processing company Uniq. at Paignton, UK, in 2003. In 2008 he obtained his PhD with the thesis entitled “Synthesis, Characterisation and Functionalisation of Magnetic Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications”. That year he started a postdoctoral research stage at the STEM group of the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, University Paris-sud (France), under the supervision of Prof. Odile Stéphan. During this period he specialized in the field of Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy and Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (STEM-EELS). In January 2011 he returned to Zaragoza, to start a contract as Microscopy technician at the Advanced Microscopy Laboratory of the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon (LMA-INA). As the technical responsible of the TEM equipments, he is currently in charge of the internal and external service, research support and training of users in Electron Microscopy.

Javier García-Nafría

Obtained a Biochemistry degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (2007) and a PhD in Chemistry from The University of York (2011). He then moved to MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge) for two post-docs. At first working in structural mechanisms of neuronal ion channels (2012-2017) and later working on general functional mechanisms of G protein coupled receptors (2017-2019). In 2019 he moved as Group Leader to the Institute of Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems (BIFI) working in structural biology of signal transduction.

Pedro Alzari

Carried out his undergraduate and graduate studies at the National University of La Plata in Argentina, where he obtained the PhD in Physics. After training in protein crystallography with M.G. Rossmann at Purdue University, in 1985 he joined the lab of Roberto Poljak at the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France) to work on the molecular bases of antibody specificity and the maturation of the immune response, in collaboration with C. Milstein (MRC, Cambridge, UK). Since 1998 Pedro Alzari is the Head of the Structural Microbiology Unit (Department of Structural Biology and Chemistry) at the Institut Pasteur. He has coauthored over 200 scientific publications and supervised 15 PhD theses. His research has been focused in the structural enzymology of pathogenic microorganisms, in particular M. tuberculosis. In the 2000s he coordinated a structural genomics project on this human pathogen, funded by French and European sources, which allowed the introduction of novel methodologies for faster and more accurate crystallographic studies. At present, his research efforts are focused on the assembly and phosphoregulation mechanisms of protein machines involved in actinobacterial metabolism and cell division.

Ana M. Álvarez-Fernández

Graduated in Chemistry at the Autonomous University of Madrid (1992). She obtained a MSc in Agricultural Chemistry (1993-1995) and a Ph.D. in Sciences (1996-2000) at the same university. She spent 6 years as a Postdoctoral at EEAD-CSIC, with a CSIC-DGA contract (2001-2003) and a ‘Ramón-Cajal’ contract (2004–2007). She realized several pre- and post-doctoral stays: at the Organic Chemistry Department of the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) in May-December of 1997, at the Food Science Department and the of the University of Bologna (Italy) in several short stages in 2000, 2004 and 2005, and at the Metabolomics Lab of Genomic Center of the University of California, Davis (USA) in August 2007. She has now 25 years of expertise in Agricultural Chemistry research. Since 2001 she is a member of the Plant Stress Physiology group of the EEAD-CSIC, and since 2014 she leads the Metabolomic and Proteomic Service of the EEDA-CSIC. She combines knowledge and expertise in plant metal homeostasis, analytical chemistry, metabolomics, metallomics and fertilization with micronutrients. Currently, she is a scientist at Aula Dei Experimental Station-Spanish National Research Council (EEAD-CSIC), Zaragoza (Spain), and her research is focused on different lines: i) to study organic ligand-assisted acquisition and transport of metals in plants, ii) to study metabolomic profiles in metal-stressed plants, identifying relevant players in metal homeostasis, iii) to establish a knowledge-based framework for exploiting root exudation to supply metals to plants, and iv) to establish a knowledge-based framework for boosting the efficiency of foliar metal fertilizer treatments.

Jon Schoorlemmer

Obtained a PhD in Biology at the University of Utrecht (1993), defending a thesis entitled “Gene regulation in embryonic stem cells". Upon completion of his postdoctoral training at the CIB (Madrid, Spain) and Mount Sinai Medical Center (New York, USA) he moved back to CIB (Madrid, Spain) as a semi-independent researcher in the epigenetics of pluripotency. In 2007, he joined the Fundación "Agencia Aragonesa para la Investigación y el Desarrollo" (ARAID), ascribed to the Aragonese Institute for the Health Sciences (IACS, Zaragoza, Spain). He directs a small research group at the Aragonese Center for Biomedical Investigations (CIBA), and is credited with several publications in leading academic journals which have been referenced over 1100 times (his current H-index is 15). His research led to the discovery of DNA elements and transcriptional mechanisms that control pluripotency-specific gene expression (J.Schoorlemmer et al., (1994) Mol.Cell.Biol.14, 1122-1136), contributed to the understanding of epigenetic gene regulation (J.Schoorlemmer et al. (1997) EMBO J. 16, 5930-5942), and neuronal physiology (J.Schoorlemmer and M. Goldfarb (2001) Current Biology 11, 793-797; Goldfarb M et al. (2007) Neuron 55(3), 449-463). Since 2007, his research has been directed at understanding the role of Endogenous Retrovirus (ERV) in stem cell pluripotency (D. Guallar et al. (2012) Nucleic Acids Res. 40(18): 8993-9007; Climent M et al. (2013) Stem Cells Dev. 22(3): 459-72) and disease. Dr. Schoorlemmer´s current research is focused on the contribution of HERV to neurodegenerative disease in general, and MS and ALS in particular. Active projects in his group aim to understand the presence of HERV in patients with the expression of inflammation markers.

Jesús Gonzalo-Asensio

He is Biochemistry graduate (2002) and PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology (2006) by the University of Zaragoza. During his scientific trajectory, he has been granted with competitive grants from national programs FPU (2002), JAE-DOC (2009), Juan de la Cierva (2010) and Ramón y Cajal (2017). Dr. Gonzalo-Asensio has performed stays in Pasteur Institute (Paris), McGill University (Montreal) and National Center for Biotechnology-CSIC (Madrid). He is currently Lecturer in Biotechnology at the University of Zaragoza. His scientific career has been devoted to decipher virulence regulation and host-pathogen interactions in the Mycobacterium genus. This knowledge was successfully applied in the construction and molecular characterization of the tuberculosis vaccine MTBVAC, which is currently in human clinical trials. Today, he works on two main areas: 1) the development of novel anti-virulence therapies as a novel alternative to classic antimicrobials and 2) the analysis of the impact of genetic polymorphisms on the adaptation of Mycobacterium ecotypes to their hosts.

Joaquín Sanz

Currently with a Ramón y Cajal position as senior researcher at the Department of Theoretical Physics and the Institute BIFI of the University of Zaragoza. After a formal training in Physics (master degree, University of Zaragoza, 2010), he pursued a PhD under the supervision of professor Yamir Moreno in the Institute BIFI. His dissertation (PhD in Physics, cum laude, University of Zaragoza, 2014) focused on the development of mathematical models inspired by the theory of complex networks and systems, aimed at describing different aspects of the infection cycle of the human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. For his postdoc, he joined the laboratory of the expert in functional genomics of the immune system, Dr. Luis Barreiro, first hosted in the Université de Montréal, Canada (2014-2018), and then in the University of Chicago, USA (2018-2019). During his tenure in Dr. Barreiro lab, he focused on the characterization of the disparate causal factors underlying inter-individual differences in immune responses to pathogens, combining population genetics tools with mathematical models to analyze large multi-omics datasets compiled in the context of functional genomic experiments.

Silvia Hernández

Graduated in Chemistry in 2006 by the University of Zaragoza where she also received her PhD in Chemistry in February 2011 under the supervision of Prof. Joaquín Barberá and Dr. Mercedes Marcos. Her PhD thesis was on the synthesis of ionic dendrimers and the study of their supramolecular interactions as well as their applications in optics and biomedicine. In March 2011, she joined the group of Professor Ulrich Keyser at the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge (UK) as a research associate to work on the development of artificial nanopores for single molecule detection. In 2014 she was awarded a Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship to work on the design of DNA-based nanostructures for biomimetics and biosensing. She got a grant in 2016 by the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) to apply DNA nanotechnology to emerging cancer imaging technologies in collaboration with Dr. Sarah Bohndiek at the CRUK Cambridge Institute. Since June 2017 she works at the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon (INA) and The Aragon Materials Science Institute (ICMA) as a permanent researcher funded by ARAID (The Aragonese Foundation for Research & Development). Her current research involves the application of DNA nanotechnology to biomedicine and the development of stimuli-responsive DNA-based nanomaterials.

Jorge Rodríguez

His research career has focused on how plants respond iron deficiency. During his PhD at the University of Zaragoza (2007–2012), he discovered that Medicago truncatula secretes flavins into the rhizosphere when iron is limiting, including a novel compound (Rodríguez-Celma et al., 2011 Plant Cell Physiol 52:2173-89). As a postdoctoral researcher at the Academia Sinica in Taipei (2012–2014), Jorge applied transcriptomics to iron deficiency responses in Medicago and Arabidopsis. Using network analysis, he showed that specific coumarin biosynthetic genes in Arabidopsis and riboflavin biosynthetic genes in Medicago are associated with iron uptake and demonstrated that the production of such specialised secondary metabolites is crucial for mobilisation of poorly soluble iron hydroxides (Rodríguez-Celma et al., 2013 Plant Physiol 162:1473-85). His findings have since been taken further by several research groups and is highly cited as pioneering work. He also identified several uncharacterised genes with a role in iron homeostasis. These include the BRUTUS-LIKE genes BTSL1and BTSL2, encoding hemerythrin E3 ubiquitin ligases, that are expressed predominantly in roots. As a Marie Curie Fellow and Postdoctoral Scientist in the Balk laboratory (2015–2019), je is unravelling the precise biochemical function of BTSL1 and BTSL2. The proteins were found to bind iron and are responsible for proteasomal degradation of FIT, a key transcription factor in iron uptake and a hub for regulatory signals that affect the iron deficiency response (Rodríguez-Celma et al., 2019 PNAS in press; Rodríguez-Celma et al., 2019 Front. Plant Sci. 10:98).

Beatriz Herguedas

She studied Biochemistry at the University of Zaragoza (2006) and later a got a PhD at the same university (2007-2011) under the supervision of Milagros Medina and Marta Martínez-Júlvez, where she worked on the structural characterization of flavin-binding proteins. For her postdoc she moved to Ingo Greger´s group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK), where she focused on the characterization of AMPA type Glutamate receptors using a combination of structure characterization, biochemistry and biofphysics to get insights into their mechanism of action. Since February 2019 she is an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Zaragoza, centering her research on the structural analysis of neuronal membrane proteins.

Pedro Baptista

Graduated from the School of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon, Portugal. After that, he worked on clinical research at Eli Lilly & Co (2001) before engaging in a doctorate. From his PhD thesis project (2008) at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, resulted the generation of the first human liver ever made in a laboratory (2010). He is currently a Group Leader at the Health Research Institute of Aragon (IIS Aragon) in Zaragoza, Spain (since 2013) and the founder of the Organ Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at this institution. He is also an Invited Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical and Aerospace Engineering at University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain (since 2015). He is also Deputy Secretary General and an elected Governor of the Board of the European Society of Artificial Organs (ESAO) and Deputy Chairman of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Consortium on Regenerative Hepatology. His current research focuses on creating bioengineered livers that can finally make the long-term transplantation of these lab grown organs a reality. He is also working on liver stem cell biology and the development of novel methods to expand fetal and adult human stem/progenitor cells to the required large numbers necessary for organ bioengineering. Besides, he is interested in applying bioengineered hepatic tissues and organs to study developmental biology, physiology and drug discovery.