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Zaida Álvarez and Diana Morant (Photo: IBEC).

IBEC researcher Zaida Álvarez wins the ‘Muy Nanotecnología’ award

Zaida Álvarez, a ‘Ramon y Cajal’ researcher at the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), received the ‘Muy Nanotecnología’ award from the Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, during the award ceremony of the second edition of Muy Interesante Prizes for Women Scientists, which took place within the framework of the first ‘Muy Science Fest’, held on 29 November at the Coliseum theater in Madrid. These awards, granted by the Muy Interesante magazine, recognizes the work of outstanding female scientists in fields such as health, technology, and biology, among others. 

Zaida Álvarez was awarded for her pioneering work developed over seven years at Northwestern University, which resulted in a study published in the prestigious Science magazine in 2021 signed by her as the first author. In this study, researchers managed to recover the mobility of paralyzed mice with a single injection of nanofibers into the spinal cord.

In addition to this award, on November 30th, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia also announced the winners of the 2022 Duran Farell Award for Technological Research, where Zaida received a special mention from the jury for her project ‘Artificial Extracellular Matrix Scaffolds of Mobile Molecules Enhance Maturation of Human Stem Cell-Derived Neurons’. This research focuses on the development of a synthetic matrix based on functionalized peptide hydrogels (IKVAV), which could be used as a fundamental tool to search for new therapies that help understand the effect of certain drugs or regenerative therapies on culture plates.

Zaida Álvarez completed her doctoral thesis in biomaterials for the repair of brain damage at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the IBEC between 2010 and 2014. Afterwards, between 2015 and 2019, she carried auto a postdoctoral stay at the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology at Northwestern University in Chicago. Subsequently, from 2019 to 2021, she worked as a Research Assistant Professor at the Feinberg Medical School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

She returned to Barcelona in 2022 as a researcher with a “Beatriu de Pinós” scholarship at IBEC. This year, she has also been distinguished with important scholarships such as the ‘Mike Line’ and the ‘Ramón y Cajal’, as well as the Rafael Hervada award for biomedical research.

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