2015 – Speakers


María S. Soengas was born in Agolada, Pontevedra (Spain). She graduated in Molecular Biology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She received her PhD at the laboratory of M. Salas at CBMSO. In 1997 Soengas moved to the S. Lowe´s group in New York, then joined the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan. Since 2008, Soengas leads the Melanoma Group at the CNIO.


Natalia Rodriguez holds a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Science Communication. Currently, she is communications coordinator at Research4Life, a project funded by the World Health Organization and many scientific publishers, which provides free to low-cost research information to developing countries. She also works as visual designer for Climate KIC, the EU’s main climate innovation initiative. She works with science-based organizations, non-profits and research institutions with a focus on science and technology. She designs smooth, clean and polished infographics, marketing material and develops digital communication strategies.


Sara Alfonso is MBA, Graduate in Economics and Business Administration and Graduate in Law. In 1999, she joined the Technology Transfer Office of Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid (ICAI-ICADE) as Postgraduate Fellow of the European Union Programme. Between 2000 and 2003 she was Delegate in Brussels of Madrimasd. During the year 2003, she worked as Coordinator of the Office of the IV Regional Science and Technology Plan of Comunidad de Madrid, department in charge of coordinating the tasks for the elaboration of the Plan in the Research Directorate General of Comunidad de Madrid. Later she joined the biotechnology company Genetrix, where she worked as Project Manager and Responsible for European Projects and Communication. In January 2008, she joined Madrimasd as Responsible for Programmes at the IMDEA Coordination and nowadays, she is European Projects Manager at the same organisation being involved in the elaboration of proposals and in the management and coordination of European Projects.


Chiat Cheong (PhD in 2005) worked in academia across Europe as a researcher on cancer gene therapy for 11 years. In 2009 her strong interests in communication and project management drew her away from her London laboratory back to the Netherlands. There she joined the Postdoc Career Development Initiative, a young organisation aimed at empowering PhD graduates to make the most of their potential in and outside academia. She made significant contributions to the professionalisation of this initiative and developed targeted training programmes to enable PhDs and postdocs to open doors to careers other than academic research. During the nearly 6.5 years at this organisation she served over 1000 early career researchers. She is convinced that choices should be driven by motivation and not by limitations. And as she has not yet reached the peak of her own career and is ever looking for opportunities to grow, she recently left PCDI to find her next professional challenge.


Angela Nieto is full professor and head of the Developmental Neurobiology Unit at the Instituto de Neurociencias (CSIC-UMH) in Alicante, Spain. She received her PhD in 1987 from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). After a postdoct at the Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Alberto Sols (CSIC-UAM), she moved to the National Institute for Medical Research in London to work with David Wilkinson where she isolated a number of genes involved in the morphogenesis of the nervous system. In 1993, she obtained a position of staff scientist at the Cajal Institute in Madrid. From then on, she has led a research group interested in cell movement and adhesion in the early vertebrate embryo. Her main contribution has been the isolation and characterization of the Snail gene family, showing its role in the formation of different tissues and organs during embryonic development and how its reactivation at late developmental times or in the adult leads to several pathologies, including tumor progression, fibrosis and defects in bone development and mineralization. She was elected EMBO member in 2000 and Member of the Academy of Europe in 2009. Among others, she has received the Carmen and Severo Ochoa Prize (2004), the Francisco Cobos Foundation Prize in Biomedical Research (2005) and the Rey Jaime I Prize in Basic Research (2009). She is member of the Editorial Boards of EMBO J, EMBO reports; Current Opinion in Genetics and Development; Mechanism of Development; Gene Expression Patterns and Int. J. Developmental Biology. She is the President of the Spanish Society for Developmental Biology, a member of the Board of directors of the International Society of Differentiation and the Spanish delegate for EMBO/EMBC/EMBL.


Roberto Buccione completed his PhD at the University of l’Aquila, Italy, studying the process of oogenesis in mammals. After continuing these studies as a post-doctoral researcher at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor ME, USA, he joined the Mario Negri Sud research institute in S. Maria Imbaro, Italy, where he leads a research group focused on the  biology of tumour cell invasion. He joined EMBO Molecular Medicine as a Scientific Editor in October 2012, where he is working presently.


Alberto Ferrús completed his PhD at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1976) in the field of Genetics. Then, he joined Prof. D.R. Kankel’s lab at Yale University as a postdoctal researcher (1976-1979). He became research associate from 1979-1981 at Caltech in the lab of Prof. S. Benzer. From 1981-1986 he became assistant professor at Center for Molecular Biology in Madrid, and later, associated Professor at Cajal Institute where he is now working as a Research Full Professor in the Cell. Mol. and Dev. Neuroscience department (CSIC). Dr. Ferrús is member of the editorial advice committee of: “Neurobiology of Disease” (1994-2000); “Journal of Neurogenetics” (2000-2003), “Genes, Brain and Behavior” (2001-present), Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience” (2007-present), “Intl. J. Dev. Biology” (2011-present).


Chapin Rodriguez obtained a BSc in chemistry at Duke University (US) and a PhD in molecular biology and biochemistry from the University of Cambridge (UK).  Subsequently he performed postdoctoral research in neuroscience at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine (US). In addition to his work in natural sciences, he completed a Certificate in Global Affairs at New York University, and he is conducting research with Chinese colleagues on improving undergraduate and post-graduate medical training there. As a professional editor, he has helped to prepare more than 850 manuscripts for submission to journals in social and natural sciences. He has worked with several universities and research centers to provide training in research communication to investigators, including the University of Zagreb, the Czech Academy of Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization (Germany), the National University of San Marcos (Perú), Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Sichuan University/West China School of Medicine (China), Guangxi Medical University (China), and Universidad de Alcalá (Spain).


David Alcántara is a Senior Marie Curie Fellow and invited researcher at Bionand. Degree in Chemistry at Málaga University and Ph.D (2008) at Seville University under supervision of Prof. Soledad Penadés and Dr. Jesús Martínez de la Fuente in the Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas (CSIC-US) of Sevilla. In 2008 is hired at Prof. Voisin’s biomedical imaging group (RSMB-CNRS, France). In 2009 got a Fulbright fellowship, to continue research on biomedical sensing with Prof. Josephson at Harvard University (2009-2010). In 2010 obtained a Marie Curie fellowship (International Outgoing) to continue research at Harvard Medical School. In 2012 is incorporated to INA (Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragon) and Bionand as visiting researcher, in the Nanobiotechnology area. In 2013 Dr. Alcantara obtained a Senior Marie Curie Research Fellowship (FP7) to continue his research. In 2008 founded The All Results Journals, the first Total Open Access journals in Science. Since 2010, he is the president of the Society for the Improvement of Science (SACSIS).