Organising Committee

Pablo Muñoz (symposium chair)

Pablo is an evolutionary biologist currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford. The focus of his research is the systematics of tropical plants, and particularly the origin, evolution and domestication of the sweet potato, one of the most important crops worldwide. His research integrates phylogenetics and genome analysis with taxonomy, using herbarium specimens as the main source of data. Pablo has been an active member of SRUK/CERU since he arrived in the UK seven years ago. He was a member of the board of directors and director of the Oxford constituency, and is still an active member of the working group.

More information:

Twitter@pablomurod | WebsitePersonal Website

Sandra Álvarez-Carretero

Sandra obtained a BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Rovira I Virgili University (Spain) and an MSc in Bioinformatics at Högskolan I Skövde (Sweden). She then carried out her PhD in Computational Biology at Queen Mary University of London, where she worked on the application of Bayesian MCMC statistical methods to infer species divergence times by integrating molecular and morphological quantitative data. Currently, she is a postdoctoral researcher at University College London where she is developing and applying new methods to estimate species divergence times with morphological quantitative data. She aims to use these new tools in timetree inference when combining large-scale morphological datasets (with both extant and fossil species) with phylogenomic data sets. She has been a member of SRUK/CERU since 2017, when she joined the SRUK/CERU London working group. In 2018, she joined the press department as the London press officer and the blog editors team. In 2019, she became the CoEIC of the SRUK Blog and, since 2020, she is the director of the press department and became deeply involved in the SRUK/CERU’s website management and development.

More information:

Twitter@sabifo4 | GitHub@sabifo4

Laura Bravo

Laura is a PhD student in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham studying clinical bioinformatics under a 1+3 postgraduate program in Mechanisms of Inflammatory Diseases (MIDAS). Her research is based around systems immunology applied to multimorbidity studies and big data. Laura is in her last year of PhD and has been an active collaborator of CERU Midlands for the last two years, being both a vice director and director and now still part of the wonderful working group.

Rafael Carrascosa

Rafa is a DPhil student in Biophysics at the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, currently researching about how to use DNA as a building material for dynamic structures at the nanoscale level. By using techniques such as DNA origami, he designs these structures that are later characterised to study their expected behaviour and how they can perform complex tasks after being given a set of commands. Rafa did a BSc in Biotechnology at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and an MSc in Nanobiotechnology at the University of Aalborg. He has worked in multiple laboratories and has experience with nanomedicine, the interface between biology, and physics and DNA nanotechnology, being mostly an experimentalist but also having done some work in computer simulations.

Ana Cristina Carvajal Duperier

Ana carried out her BSc in Biology (Madrid Complutense University, Spain) and then pursued an MSc in Environmental Biology (Swansea University, Wales). After that, she worked for Tejerina Foundation as the Head of the Translation and Documentation Department. She was also the Head of Cultural Planning, where she was in charge of organising both National and International conferences and activities collaborating with different Spanish and European universities. She is also the former Head of Medical Documentation and Library at Sanofi – Synthélabo. Currently, she is a freelance scientist for technical translation collaborating with several companies such as IQVIA or ELABURU, among others.

Sara Franco

Sara holds a degree in Biotechnology at the University of León (Spain) and two Master’s Degrees, one in Advanced Microbiology (University of Barcelona) and another in Quality Management and Safety in the Food Industry (Madrid’s Institute of Training, Spain). She obtained her PhD in plant pathology at the University of Turin (Italy) in 2019, where she specialised in the development of new molecular techniques for the diagnosis of plant pests. She did her first postdoc at Newcastle University working on a project in partnership with Syngenta UK. This project led to new insights into the roles of enzymes involved in the detoxification of xenobiotics in wheat, where she looked into the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of herbicide-resistant weeds. Right now, Sara works as a postdoc at the University of York, focusing on the use of bacteriophages as biocontrol agents of the major plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in the plant rhizosphere.

Pablo González

Pablo is a plant biologist based at the University of Leeds, where he is halfway through a PhD in Plant Biology. The focus of his research is understanding how plants use information about their environment to regulate their transition into and out of flowering. After completing a BSc in Environmental Biology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a further MSc in Plant Biotechnology at the University of Oviedo, he crossed seas to pursue his love for plants in the UK. When he is not in the lab or the greenhouse, he enjoys jogging and playing videogames.

Claudia López

Claudia holds a BSc in Biology at the University of the Basque Country (Spain). While at the Basque Country, she also completed the degree for the intermediate level of piano at the Conservatory of Music. She holds an MSc degree between the University of Oviedo (Spain) and Cranfield University (UK), where she obtained a double mention in Biotechnology of the Environment and Health and also in Food Systems and Management. Currently, she is carrying out her PhD in Mycology between the University of Montpellier (France) and the Cranfield University, where she is focused on developing biocontrol agents to reduce mycotoxins in food.

Isabel Murillo

Isabel was born in Barcelona, where she studied Biology and later obtained her Master’s degree in Biotechnology. As an undergraduate, she was interested in projects combining microbiology and plants. Her PhD at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) allowed her to explore that field. In 2001, Isabel was awarded a Postdoctoral Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, which brought her to the UK. In Bristol, she fell in love with the city, which she sees as an open-minded and charismatic community. At the University of Bristol, Isabel has been researching for many years pathogen-host interactions, first with Neisseria meningitidis and then with Shigella flexeneri. She is currently a lecturer in Microbiology. Isabel loves education and helping students in their journey throughout their time at university. She is one of the digital champions at the University of Bristol and a member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee, amongst others in the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Francisco Romera

Francisco is part of the Cornwall Business School at the Falmouth University, being a course leader for BSc (Hons) Business and Marketing Online course. He has been working full-time since 2018 as a lecturer in the UK participating in different undergraduate and postgraduate modules, being module coordinator and supervisor of theses and dissertations. He holds a PhD in the area of business sustainability and innovation. Previously, he obtained a master’s degree in Strategy and another in Education. Prior to his activity as a lecturer, he has worked in other sectors for the private sector and non-profit organisations working in the areas of administration and marketing. Francisco is also an active researcher working in business and sustainability.

Carmen Sánchez Cañizares

Carmen is an agronomist and the main focus of her research is a process called Biological Nitrogen Fixation, which only certain microbes can carry out in order to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a biochemically usable form for the plants, mimicking the effect of chemical fertilisers. She is currently working in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher in the rhizosphere laboratory, studying the regulatory networks that control the metabolism of these bacteria in order to understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for the establishment of an efficient symbiosis with legume plants, what will lead to sustainable crop yields. During her time in Oxford, she has been a lecturer in Biological Sciences at The Queen’s College and participated regularly in several outreach activities. She is actively involved in the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK/CERU), currently as the Director of Institutional Relations, previous director of the Oxford constituency, and former vice-president and president of SRUK/CERU.