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Where did you train?
I studied Biochemistry at the University of Barcelona. I then joined the laboratory of Dr. Ignasi Fita at Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona where I studied the structure of viral proteases. This was a collaboration with Dr. Tim Skern in Vienna, so I got to travel quite a bit during my PhD. Once I graduated, I joined Dr. Wei Yang at NIH where I started working on DNA-binding proteins.
Why structural biology?
When I was an undergraduate, I attended a talk by my future PhD supervisor. He showed the crystal structure of an Fab fragment against human rhinovirus. I was fascinated by the potential of SEEING how proteins function with atomic detail. I asked him if I could join his laboratory, and the rest is history.
How did you know that you wanted to have a career in academia?
I always enjoyed working in the laboratory. Designing experiments, interpreting the results, you name it. That passion evolved onto wanting to choose my own projects. I got a faculty position at McMaster University, where I had my laboratory until the summer of 2017.
What brought you to McGill?
Two things: research environment and state-of-the-art facilities. McGill offers endless opportunities for cross-disciplinary research, I am surrounded by outstanding colleagues and it is the best place in Canada for structural biology research. What else could we ask for?
What is the best part of your job?
The freedom and the excitement of research never gets old, but nothing beats helping somebody reach his/her potential. Mentoring trainees is definitely a very rewarding aspect of the job.
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