What’s your background?
I am originally from the north of Spain. I have always had a curious mind and I always loved learning about different topics, from music to history, from business to politics and from astronomy to cellular biology. I felt a true scientific curiosity for the first time in my life when I was about 14 years old, while I was reading a book written by the great Spanish neurophysiologist, Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
I was fascinated by the cellular anatomy of the neuron and the organisation of the nervous system. My biology teacher from high school gave me the last push I needed to study a science degree. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology in Madrid (2007-2012). I then studied a Master’s in business administration and specialised in management of R&D and innovation. In 2014, I moved to Manchester to start my PhD at the University of Manchester, funded by the BBSRC.
During my PhD, I investigated the mechanical cellular forces involved in neuronal growth during development, under the supervision of Prof Andreas Prokop, and I submitted my thesis in 2018.
Three days after submission, I started my first job as a postdoc (also at the University of Manchester) at Prof Christoph Ballestrem’s lab, where I continued my neuronal studies focused on the role of the extracellular matrix topography in mechanosensing and regeneration.
Why did you move beyond academia?
I have always felt the appeal of the industrial side of science. While I was doing my postdoc, I realised that my motivation is to contribute to the translation of academic research into products or therapies that will have an impact for society, making people’s life better. My long-term goal is contributing to the development of a drug or therapy that will mitigate and reverse the effects of neuronal degeneration.