Career Chats 2017
Having completed his Bachelor Degree in Molecular Biology in the UK, Robert Soliva decided to switch field and he finished his thesis on Computational Chemistry and Molecular Modelling at the University of Barcelona. He was later in charge of the Computational Chemistry and Biology Department in one of the reference pharmaceutical companies in Spain, where he gained more than 12 years’ experience in drug development. From 2011 to 2016 he worked at ZBM Patents and Trademarks, where he drew up patentability and freedom of operation reports, in addition to drafting patents in the life sciences field. He is now Chief Scientific Officer of Nostrum Biodiscovery, the first joint IRB Barcelona and BSC spin-off.
Oscar Flores is Computer Engineer (UPC 2009), Doctor in Biomedicine (UB 2014) and MBA (ESADE 2015). He did his PhD in the Joint BSC-CRG-IRB Programme in Computational Biology in Prof. Modesto Orozco’s group, where he applied bioinformatics techniques to the analysis of genetic and epigenetic data. Oscar was awarded the PhD Extraordinary Award (Summa Cum Laude) for his PhD Thesis and a Unique Talent scholarship by ESADE.
In January 2015, he founded Made of Genes, a company devoted to personal genomics which has raised more than 1M €. Two years after its launch, this company now employs 15 full-time members of staff. Made of Genes has received numerous international awards, including the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 and the Dubai Future Accelerators. Made of Genes is currently working with Etisalat, the largest Telecom company in the Middle East, to deploy a National Genome Databank in the United Arab Emirates.
Anna Serra is the Communication and Business Development Director at the Barcelona Science Park. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. After two years of postdoctoral training in France (ESPCI and ENS centres), she returned to Barcelona and started working at Intelligent Pharma as a Business Development Manager. After four years with that start-up, she moved to OPKO, an international pharmaceutical company, where she served as Export Manager for three years. Finally, last December she joined the team at the Barcelona Science Park.
Laia Crespo joined Ysios Capital, a venture capital firm specialized in human health, in 2009 and she is currently Investment Director. She has been a Board Observer at AM-Pharma (The Netherlands) and currently serves on the board of OxThera (Sweden), Minoryx Therapeutics (Barcelona) and Inbiomotion (Barcelona).
Prior to joining Ysios she assessed commercial and scientific licensing-in opportunities as part of the European New Business Development team of Janssen-Cilag, a pharmaceutical company that belongs to the Johnson & Johnson group.
Laia developed her professional career mainly in the biotechnology cluster of Cambridge, UK, from 2002-2007 in companies such as Spirogen (now AstraZeneca), Medivir and UCB-Celltech. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Barcelona (2002) and an MBA from the Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge (2008).
Nana Aba Williams received a PhD in Medical Chemistry from the University of Reading, UK, in 2005. After almost two years of postdoctoral research at the Barcelona Science Park, she joined Novartis (Oncology Department), where she trained and began a career in clinical research management. After experience at Novartis and other Contract Research Organisations, she moved to the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), where she currently serves as Senior Project Manager.
David Pina, who is Portuguese but was born in Paris, has worked at the Research Executive Agency in Brussels since 2009, where he has been responsible for the management of FP7 and H2020 grant portfolios and organising evaluation exercises, first for the Marie Curie Actions, and currently for the Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation Programme.
He graduated in Biochemistry from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and obtained his PhD from the University of Salamanca, Spain. He was a postdoctoral fellow for three years, first at the Curie Institute, France, and later at the University of Cambridge, UK, before joining the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission back in 2007.
Cristina Arimany-Nardi is Managing Editor of the Journal of Personalized Medicine and Scientia Pharmaceutica in MDPI. She holds degree in Pharmacy and Biochemistry and a PhD in Biomedicine from the University of Barcelona.
After a short postdoctoral period at the same university, she moved into the scientific publishing field, in the new office that MDPI opened in Barcelona last year.
Nuno Alves studied for his PhD in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, UK, where his clinical research focused on nerve regeneration after injuries to the central nervous system. During his time at the University of Cambridge, he co-founded Cambridge Squared, a technologic consultancy, and Innovation Forum, an organisation which seeks to foster interaction between Academia, Industry and Policy makers.
Innovation Forum has expanded internationally and now has branches in thirteen countries. Nuno is currently working as a Business Developer at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst where his main role is to build and maintain a strong network within the bioscience sector in the region and across the UK. Nuno comes from Portugal and had lived in five countries before starting his PhD at Cambridge.
Laura Rodríguez holds a degree in Biotechnology (Autonomous University of Barcelona), a Master’s degree in Molecular Biotechnology (University of Barcelona (UB)) and a PhD in Biotechnology from the School of Pharmacy (UB). She has five years’ experience in biomedical research at the national and international level (UB, and Queen’s University Belfast).
In the field of innovation, she has completed a postgraduate course in Innovation Management (UAB) and participated in training programmes such as the “Summer School in Innovation and Business Creation”, organised by EIT Health, and “CaixaImpulse”, run by Caixa Capital Risc and the Fundació La Caixa.
She has been working in the Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Unit at the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) in Barcelona since 2015. In addition, Laura is a lecturer on the Pharmacy degree course at the UB and on the Master’s course on Translational Biomedical Research at VHIR.
Paloma Arias Ramos is Sales Manager of the Academic Segment at MERCK. She holds a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid.
In 1997, she completed a Ph.D. in the same field in Dr. Francisco Malpartida Romero’s lab at the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB) in Madrid.
She then moved into the private sector, working for Sigma-Aldrich as Technical Service Specialist first and then as Sales Development Specialist.
Vicente Tur holds a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University Francisco de Vitoria, in Spain. In 2002, he moved to Germany to do a Ph.D. in Protein Design in Luis Serrano’s group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL – Heidelberg).
He defended his thesis at the University of Heidelberg (Magna Cum Laude) and then moved to Barcelona, with Luis Serran’s team, to the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2008, Vicente entered the biotech industry as the High-Throughput Screening Platform leader of Oryzon Genomics, where he worked on designing laboratory assays for robotic platforms.
Finally, he moved into the Regulatory Affairs industry. In this regard, he has held the post of Regulatory Affairs Manager at Asphalion for the last six years. His eSubmissions team is in charge of the submission and maintenance of Applications for Marketing Authorisations of medicinal drugs in Europe, the United States, Switzerland.
After obtaining a B.Sc. in Pharmacy in 2001, Ignacio Bermúdez started his scientific career by studying an Experimental Masters in Pharmacology. In 2003 he obtained his Ph.D. for his work on the implications of topoisomerases in the chromatin structure of S. cerevisiae, in Joaquim Roca´s team at CSIC-IBMB-PCB.
Those years provided him with the scientific background and project-managing skills needed to step into the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. His first post was Galenic Development Manager at Mesoestetic Pharma Group, which he did for four years.
His scientific background allowed him to develop a sound scientific marketing strategy. During those years he also gained expertise in galenic formulations and scale-up processes.
After spending a year at ISDIN as a Formulation Development manager, he is now in charge of the technical department at Prima-Derm, a cosmetic company based in Gavà specialized in high-tech cosmetics and genetic tests related to aging and wellness.
Daniela obtained her PhD from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, within the Mouse Biology Unit at the Italian outstation of Monterotondo. Her work focused on the transcriptional and post-translational regulation of the transcription factor C/EBPβ, as well as on its role in regulating macrophage polarization in a mouse model of muscle inflammation. After her PhD, Daniela entered the world of science publishing through an internship at The EMBO Journal. In 2007, she joined FEBS Letters as Editor and has been the Editorial Manager since 2014.
René Bindels is the scientific director of the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences. After his MSc in Biology and his PhD at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, he performed a Postdoc at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA).
He has been a full professor at the Radboud University Medical Center since 2003. As physiologist he is interested in the regulation of ion transport processes in kidney and small intestine in health and disease.
He is also responsible for several physiology courses for medical and health science students.
Joan J. Guinovart is Director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and emeritus professor at the University of Barcelona. He received his PhD from the University of Barcelona and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Guinovart’s research focuses on glycogen metabolism, with special emphasis on its alterations in diabetes and Lafora disease. He has published over 170 articles on the subject and mentored more than 40 graduate students and postdocs. Dr. Guinovart has served as President of the Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SEBBM) and the Confederation of Spanish Scientific Societies (COSCE).
He has also served as member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). He is the current President of the International Union of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (IUBMB). He was elected to the Spanish Royal Academy of Pharmacy, the Institute for Catalan Studies and the Academia Europaea.
He has been recognized with the FEBS Diplôme d’honneur and the St. George’s Cross of the Government of Catalonia, among other distinctions. He holds an honorary doctorate from the Andres Bello University (Santiago, Chile).
Guillermo Montoya is a group leader and research director at the Protein Structure and Function program at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (CPR) at University of Copenhagen. Here he combines x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to study different aspects of protein-DNA complexes and macromolecular machines.
Montoya began his scientific career at University of Zaragoza where he obtained his PhD in chemistry in 1993. He then found his passion for structural biology when he joined the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt as a postdoc. He later moved to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg where he stayed for seven years, first as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a research associate.
In 2002 he pursued a career as an independent group leader at the Spanish National Cancer Center (CNIO) in Madrid and was promoted to senior group leader in 2007. After 12 years in Madrid, Guillermo Montoya was recruited to CPR in 2014 to lead the new research program in Structural Molecular Biology. .
Myriam Alcalay is group leader in functional genomics at the Department of Experimental Oncology of the European Institute of Oncology (IEO) in Milan. Born in Chile, she obtained a medical degree and a PhD in hematology at the University of Perugia.
She has dedicated her career to the study of acute leukemias and contributed to groundbreaking discoveries in the field. Her recent interests include the use of integrated genomic approaches to study the molecular basis of acute leukemia and the identification of novel therapeutic strategies for acute myeloid leukemias with bad prognosis.
She is also associate professor at the University of Milan and scientific coordinator of the Molecular Oncology program of the European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM).
Guzmán is the co-founder and accounts director of Scienseed, an agency for the communication of science. Scienseed specialises in the use of multiple types of narratives and formats to communicate research in the most creative and effective way.
The activity of the company ranges from the production of videos, websites and animations, to publications, social media campaigns and public engagement activities. In just 3 years Scienseed has managed to become responsable for the communication of 4 large European research consortia as well as to work with numerous national and international research institutions.
Guzmán is a doctor in molecular biology and, before jumping into science communication, he worked as a researcher at institutions like the University of Leeds (UK), Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (Spain), University of Montreal (Canada), University of Leicester (UK) and the Max-Planck Institute (Germany).