MECUSA


MECUSA

ECUSA with M for ‘Mujer’

MECUSA is an interdisciplinary program of ECUSA that aims to promote the role of women in science. In MECUSA we work in (i) awareness of the gender gap that exists in the science world, (ii) we educate future and present generations about the importance of the role of women in science, and (iii) we seek solutions to the loss of women in science in so many scientific careers.

Anyone interested in our commission can email us to the following email address: mecusa@ecusa.es

MECUSA Team

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Leire Abalde Atristain

Chair MECUSA

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Leire is a neuroscientist from Donostia-San Sebastian who completed her undergraduate studies in Biotechnology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a master’s in Biomedical Research at the Pompeu Fabra University, also in Barcelona. Sponsored by a predoctoral fellowship from the La Caixa Foundation, Leire moved to the US in 2013 to obtain her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins Universitywhere she was recognized with a Young Investigator Award for her thesis work. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Marc Freeman at Oregon Health & Science University,where she studies the role of glial cells in the degeneration of neurons in the central nervous system. Leire joined the ECUSA’s e-Visibility program in 2020 because of her passion for science communication, her conviction that without Science there is no future, and her STEMinist ideals. Since 2021 she also leads MECUSA in its mission to empower women scientists, improve their visibility, and advocate for gender equity in science.

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Nerea Zabaleta Lasarte

Co-chair MECUSA

Nerea Zabaleta is a postdoctoral researcher at the Mass Eye and Ear hospital associated with Harvard Medical School (Boston), where she is characterizing the use of viral vectors for gene therapy of genetic and infectious diseases. Previously, she studied a Degree in Biochemistry and a Master in Biomedical Research at the University of Navarra. She completed her thesis at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) on the application of in vivo gene editing as a treatment for genetic liver diseases, and during this time she was a visiting research scholar at Genethon (France) and at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NY). Her work has been published in high-impact journals, she is a co-inventor of two patents, she received the Young Investigator Award from the Spanish Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (SETGyC) and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Alfonso Martín Escudero Foundation.

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Carmen Morcelle

Project Coordination and Execution

Carmen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard (Cambridge, MA). After finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Alcalá, she completed a research master’s degree at the University College London (United Kingdom) and later obtained a PhD in Biomedicine from the University of Barcelona. After a first two-and-a-half-year postdoc at Fudan University in Shanghai, she moved to Boston, where she spent a year working in a laboratory at Harvard/Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 2022, she joined the Ragon Institute, where she is currently working on understanding how cells of the immune system are able to survive and function within unfavorable environments. In ECUSA, Carmen is co-Chair of Communication, she actively collaborates with the Women in Science committee (MECUSA) and she is also on the board of ECUSA Boston.

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Melisa López Antón

Project Coordination and Execution

Melisa is a Blavatnik Fellow in Biotechnology Entrepreneurship at Yale University. Through her work, Melisa helps researchers who have discovered technologies with business potential to start biotechnology companies that benefit society. Previously, Melisa did her postdoctoral research in the Medical Oncology department at the Tish Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, New York, in the field of disseminated cancer cell latency. Melisa has received numerous European scholarships during her research career including a Marie Curie fellowship sponsoring her PhD at Cardiff University, and a Leonardo DaVinci scholarship to train at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. Melisa is a project coordinator for MECUSA, a member of ASCO, AACR, NYAS, and SRUK. “To face the immense challenges of the 21st century, the world cannot deprive itself of the potential, intelligence and creativity of thousands of women” (Henri Beyle). More than two centuries after the writer Henri Beyle pronounced this phrase, Melisa is convinced that MECUSA will help make it finally come true.

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Macarena Ramos González

Project Coordination and Execution

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Maca, originally from Malaga, studied Physical Activity and Sports Science (INEF) in Granada, where she began a career in exercise biomechanics. After studying heart rate variability she received a scholarship from the European Union to study in California, and then went on to do a Masters in Exercise Physiology at the University of Oklahoma. For her doctorate studies, Maca decided to focus on Applied Cardiovascular Human Physiology, at the University of Delaware in Newark, where she is scheduled to graduate in 2022. Her thesis focuses on the antioxidant effects of melatonin on the dilation and relaxation of blood vessels, and in blood pressure responses to physiological phenomena such as exercise. Maca belongs to different professional organizations such as ACSM, APS and has served as a department representative during at the University of Delaware board meetings. Maca joined MECUSA in 2020 and is in charge of coordinating different projects and events. Outside the lab, Maca enjoys going to breweries and the countryside with her friends, plays sports, and spend time with her dog Hera.

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Alvaro Curiel

Liaison CDA

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.

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Yolanda Campos Jurado

Advisor

Yolanda is a postdoctoral researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and her work focuses on the intersection between grief and binge drinking. This work is a continuation of her PhD project at the University of Valencia, in which she evaluated the effect of pain on relapse in alcohol consumption and demonstrated the key role played by mu-type opioid receptors in motivating and rewarding these relapses. Before that, Yolanda studied Pharmacy at the University of Valencia. She has also been involved in science communication, equity and diversity projects such as Pint of Science, Brain Awareness Week, Women and Neuroscience and Girls4Stem. Yolanda likes to combine her work in the lab with other activities such as cooking, climbing, theatre and travelling.

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Elizabeth Diago Navarro

Advisor

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Elizabeth has a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Complutense University of Madrid and a Masters in Public Health from the State University of New York at Albany, USA. She currently works at ISGlobal in Barcelona as manager of the Health Crisis Preparedness and Response program. She has worked and collaborates with the NYC Department of Health as manager of the city’s health system preparedness program for health emergencies related to special pathogens and antibiotic resistance. As such, she has been actively involved in the department’s response to COVID-19 by providing recommendations to the NYC healthcare system and as an advisor to the city’s contact tracing program. Her research activity focused on developing new strategies to treat and diagnose antibiotic resistant infections. Elizabeth is a founding member of the ECUSA-NY chapter and in the 2016-2019 period she was elected National Treasurer and member of the ECUSA board of directors. In 2019 she stepped up in MECUSA as co-chair, and since the leadership turnover in June 2021 she continues to serve the group as an advisor..

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Emma Muiños López

Advisor

Emma did her doctoral thesis on cartilage regeneration with amniotic membrane stem cells at the Institute for Biomedical Research of A Coruña (INIBIC). She continued with her first postdoc at the Clínica Universitaria de Navarra working on in vivo screening of bioprinted biomaterials. She moved to New York in 2018 for her second postdoc at NYU Langone Health on Inflammaging. Her research is focused on understanding how the immune system affects bone regeneration during aging, with the aim of improving fracture repair in older patients. She recently returned to Spain to launch her career as principal investigator at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra.

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Juliana Abraham

Advisor

Juliana Abraham is a Biochemist graduated from Buenos Aires University and she earned a Ph.D in Environmental Science and Technology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Currently, she is a Research Scientist at the Center for Environmental Systems, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ. Her research focuses on the recovery and valorization of liquid and solid waste through biological processes to obtain energy and high-value products. Juliana was co-director of the advisory program (2017-2021) and continues to collaborate as a member of this team. She has also been a member of the Board of the NY chapter since 2015 and a member of the MECUSA commission since 2017.