What started your scientific vocation?
My scientific vocation started at an early age, as I have strong scientific role models in my family. My father is a professor in physics so, since I was born, I have always been surrounded by scientists. I used to spend long hours at the university with him when I was a little kid and seeing his passion for his work and science inspired me to pursue a scientific career as well. I was also a curious kid by nature; science came as a very natural path to follow for me.
What is your area of expertise? What drew you to this field of research?
I studied Biology with a focus in Molecular Biology. After finishing my degree, I pursued a PhD in Computational Biology where I studied regulatory network dynamics in bacteria. I moved abroad to Switzerland for my PhD. I would say my area of expertise is in the interface between microbiology and computational tools. After finishing my PhD and working as a postdoctoral researcher for a couple of years, I decided that rather than performing theoretical work, what really motivated me was to apply my skills in a setting where I could have a direct impact in improving people´s lives. Also, after many years abroad, I felt the need of coming back to my country of origin. I was very fortunate to join the Vaccine Research Department at FISABIO, led by Dr. Javier Díez-Domingo, where I am working on applying real world evidence to investigate aspects such as vaccines effectiveness, vaccines safety and to understand the burden of different respiratory infectious diseases in my region of origin: Valencia in Spain.
How did you get Involved In PROMISE?
I got involved in PROMISE since the moment I joined the Vaccine Research Department at FISABIO.
What Is your role in the project?
In PROMISE I am involved in all the activities and discussions within WP1 Task 1.2 together with other members from my research group (mainly Dr. Ainara Mira-Iglesias and Dr. Alejandro Orrico-Sánchez) and researchers from GSK, Pfizer, Sanofi, the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), RIVM (The Netherlands), SSI (Denmark) and THL (Finland).
Which main challenge are you contributing to address?
Within our Task we aim to understand the burden of RSV related hospitalisations in all age groups, as well as different risk groups in 5 different European countries. One of our main objectives is also to understand COVID-19´s impact on RSV hospitalisations.
What impact will these outcomes have?
The output of our Task will give an overview of the severity of RSV across a set of different European countries. As within our Task we are all aligned in the research procedure used for estimating the burden of the disease, we will also be able to understand the variability of the disease across the participating countries. This will help healthcare authorities and the general public to understand the real impact of RSV across all age groups and different countries.
The RSV field is in an exciting moment in time with the recent approval of a vaccine for older adults by the FDA, and the positive opinion of the EMA on its use, so our outcomes have also the potential to guide vaccination policies once vaccines start getting approved in Europe.
Thinking about your personal experience in PROMISE, what learnings will you take away from your participation in the project?
The biggest learning I will take from my participation in the project is the power of collaboration. Since I joined the project, I have felt that collaboration is a key aspect of PROMISE, not only across countries, but also across public-private sectors. I feel immense gratitude for the opportunities these collaborations are opening for me, both at the personal and professional level. At the personal level because I am learning a lot about different countries and ways of tackling problems, and at the professional level because of all the opportunities arising thanks to the natural synergies that always appear when collaboration is foster.