I was born in Zaragoza, Spain. I obtained my Bachelors degree in 2002 in Biology, specialization Marine Biology, at the University of Alicante, Spain. In 2002, I was awarded a British Council scholarship to do a Master of Research degree. I went to the University of Plymouth to study Applied Fish Biology. My research project was conducted at the FRS Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen under Dr Anthony E. Ellis supervision. He and Dr Jack Harris (from Plymouth) made me fall in love with the field of Fish Immunology. I have very fond memories of my stay in Aberdeen and my project on Mx inducers on Atlantic salmon fry and parr. I graduated in October 2003 and started my PhD the next month back in Spain.
My PhD was carried out in the Cell Biology Department of the University of Murcia, Spain. I studied for 4 years the interaction of probiotic bacteria and teleost fish immune system. This is when I started to work with mucosal immunity since probiotic bacteria were orally delivered to the fish. I became really interested in the gut associated lymphoid tissue, a very complicated matter given the multiple functions of this organ and the lack of lymphoid organization in fish.
All my efforts paid off when I started my first postdoctoral position in January 2008 at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, USA. I joined Dr Sunyer's lab on the quest for the function of IgT, a novel immunoglobulin discovered back in 2005. This was a very exciting part of my career, I learnt how to be a very thorough scientist both conceptually and methodologically. Moreover I was part of the exciting discovery of IgT function, a specialized mucosal immunoglobulin in fish.
In June 2009 I started a second postdoctoral position in Wellington, New Zealand, at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. I continued to study mucosal immunity, this time the skin responses of New Zealand groper against ciliated protozoan parasites. I also taught at the University of Victoria in Wellington and I supervised my first master's thesis on the ontogeny of groper immune system.
From April 2011 to August 2011 I was visiting scientist at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Wellington, New Zealand. This was a great experience and opportunity for me to interact with clinical and mammalian immunologists as well as learning how a private research institute functions. I actively collaborate with Dr Graham LeGros and his research regarding Th2 responses against the gut parasite Nippostrongylus brasiliensis.
I began my new adventure as an Assistant Professor (tenure track) at the Biology Department, University of Mexico in August 2011. I am excited to train undergraduates and graduate students as well as postdocs and be part of the amazing culture in Albuquerque. I am part of CETI, the Center for Theoretical and Evolutionary Immunology. This is a NIH funded grant and a great place to study the evolution of immune responses, from invertebrates to mammals. We currently have four federal funded grants. We use a number of vertebrate species to answer questions regarding evolution and immunity including trout, zebrafish, African lungfish and mice. Ever since I became a PI we have published 20 peer-reviewed papers, four book chapters and released a patent on nasal delivery of vaccines for aquaculture fish.