Career Development Commission

The mission of the Career Development (CD) committee is to strengthen, enrich and promote the professional careers of ECUSA members, and to stimulate the development of new generations of professionals in fields related to science and technology.

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Team CD

Alvaro Curiel

Chair CD

He has double B.Sc. in Biology and Biochemistry (University of Navarra), and he performed his doctoral thesis at the National Center for Oncological Research on chemoresistance mechanisms and animal models for brain tumors. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University and a recipient of the prestigious Revson Fellowship where he is participating in clinical trials focused on characterizing these tumors and identifying personalized therapies for pancreatic cancer patients in collaboration with Presbyterian Hospital in NY using artificial intelligence tools. In addition, Alvaro is working on democratizing the “omics” tools in this disease to any user. Alvaro is Director of Professional Development as well as an active member of the MECUSA committee.

Sara Bandres

Co-Chair CD

Sara is a molecular geneticist whose research interests are primarily focused in understanding how genetic variation affects neurodegenerative diseases. Her career started with a PharmD degree, followed by a Neuroscience M.Sc, and lastly a Ph.D. (Hons) in Genetics from the University of Granada, Spain. In 2017, she joined the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland as a postdoctoral researcher with the goal of conducting further research in the bioinformatics field, aimed at studying neurological disorders spanning the etiological risk spectrum from monogenic to more complicated sporadic forms. Dr. Bandres-Ciga has been recently awarded with the 2019 NIA Women in Science Excellence in Research Award. She is passionate about inclusivity and democratization in science and has been active in scientific outreach and training. Sara co-leads the Training, Networking and Communication working group at the Global Parkinson’s Disease Genetics Program (GP2) and the International Parkinson’s Disease Genomic Consortium – Trainee Network. Sara is the co-director of Career Development and Advisory Board – CDA ECUSA and a member of ECUSA – Washington DC.

Julia Ramirez Moya

Co-Director Mentoring/Fostering Grads

She studied Biochemistry and did her masters in Molecular Biomedicine at the university “Autónoma de Madrid”. Then, she joined a laboratory at the Biomedicine Research Institute, in Madrid, where she studied RNA regulatory mechanisms in cancer and obtained her Ph.D. in 2021. Currently, she is in Boston working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Boston Children’s Hospital – Harvard Medical school studying the role of non-coding RNAs and RNA editing in cancer.

Conchi Izquierdo Carnero

Director Program DICITE (International Affairs and Science Diplomacy-Policy)

Dr. Dr. Conchi Izquierdo is the Director of International Affairs and Science Diplomacy-Policy Program at ECUSA. She joined ECUSA in 2020 where she was the Head of Mentoring group in RAICEX (International Association of Spanish Researchers and Scientist) coordinating the international Mentoring Program -REBECA- in collaboration with the Spanish Foundation for Science & Technology (FECYT) and EURAXESS. From 2021- 2023, Dr. Izquierdo was also the president of INet-NYC (International Networking NYC), an organization which provide support and professional guidance for all the international scientists in STEM fields.

Ignacio F. Mata

Co Director Mentoring/Latinoamerica

Neurogeneticist from Asturias who directs a Neurogenetics laboratory at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland USA.

Dr. Mata started his scientific career during his PhD at the Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias. After a 2-year stay at the Mayo Clinic he did a post-doc at the University of Washington (Seattle) where he became an assistant professor in 2011. In 2018 he received an offer from the Cleveland Clinic to lead a Neurogenetics laboratory in the Genomic Medicine Institute. His lab’s research is focused on the study of genetic factors associated with different neurological diseases, with special attention to Parkinson’s and dementias. He also directs the Latin American Consortium for the Study of Parkinson’s Genetics (LARGE-PD).

Pablo Gimenez

Co Director Mentoring/Fostering Grads

Pablo studied Psychology and did his masters in drug abuse research at the Universidad de Valencia. After that, he obtained his PhD at Universidad Complutense Medical School where his research focused on studying new drugs to reduce alcohol consumption at the preclinical level. Currently he works at University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School as a postdoctoral researcher studying the molecular basis governing the abusive consumption of alcohol.

Violeta Duran Laforet

Co Director Mentoring/Fostering Grads

Violeta is a postdoctoral researcher at the Neurobiology department at University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. She has a degree in Pharmacy by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. After getting her degree she joined the Neurovascular Research Unit of the Medical School at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid where she pursued her PhD studies. During her doctorate she was a visiting scientist at the Neuroprotection Research Lab at Harvard Medical School under Professor Eng Lo’s supervision. In 2021 she joined Dori Schafer’s lab where she studies the role of senescent cells in the development of neurodegenerative pathologies.

Alba Boix Amorós

Director CD in New York

She received her Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain), where she studied the human milk microbiome in health and during lactational mastitis. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where her work is focused on the study of the human microbiome in different settings, including the maternal transfer of bacteria to the infant at delivery and the protective role of a healthy microbiome against disease.


Samuel Alvarez


Leyre Zubiri


Leire Abalde


Nerea Zabaleta