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 where he participates and focuses on identifying personalized therapies for patients with pancreatic cancer in collaboration with the Presbyterian Hospital of NY. Alvaro is the current Director of Career Development and Advisory commission as well as an active member of the New York chapter and the MECUSA commission.

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.

Ignacio F. Mata

Latin America – Member since 2015

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).

Ana Maestre

Fostering Docs

Tomás Aparicio

Fostering Docs

Tomás Aparicio obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He previously worked at the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO, Madrid), studying the molecular factors that carry out DNA replication. In 2011 he moved to New York, where he works as a research associate at Columbia University. His current research focuses on the mechanisms that preserve chromosomal integrity and its implication in pathologies such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases through proteomics and molecular biology techniques. Outside of the laboratory, Tomás is interested in technology transfer and open-science initiatives. He has been an IE @Columbia program fellow (Columbia Business School) and a Bio & Health Tech Entrepreneurship Lab NYC member. He served as secretary of the General Board of ECUSA and coordinator of several professional development programs for scientists such as FosteringDOCS. He also collaborates with ASAPBio, the National Postdoctoral Association, and is an associate editor for BioProtocol.

Cristina Saugar

Fostering Grads

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José Antonio Rodríguez


Ignacio García


Ignacio Garcia Gomez- Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University. PhD in Biology from the Complutense University of Madrid. He did his doctoral thesis at the Ramon y Cajal University Hospital and worked as a Post-Doc in the Cell Therapy Laboratory of the University Hospital of La Paz in Madrid. In 2011 he moved to the US thanks to a Ramon Areces Foundation grant to start working at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is currently Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University studying the development and differentiation mechanisms of inner hair cells and outer hair cells in the inner ear.

Bárbara González

Science to Industry

Alba González

Science to Industry

Alba is a PhD graduated from Barcelona. She pursued her postdoctoral studied in the University of New York (NYU) and in the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) where she studied mechanisms of immune suppression in cancer. She is now leading a project at the biotech startup Senti Biosciences developing novel cell therapies for cancer.