Prof. Álvaro Somoza Calatrava
Álvaro Somoza studied Chemistry at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid where he did his Ph.D., under the direction of Prof. Carmen Carreño, focused on the total synthesis of Rubiginones. He then joined the group of Prof. Eric Kool at Stanford University. There he worked on a project focused on using modified oligonucleotides to study the role of sterics and hydrogen bonding interactions in RNA interference. Later, he moved to Barcelona to work with Dr. Ramón Eritja at the IRB, where he started a project devoted to the study of the interactions between RNA strands and the protein involved in RNA interference. In 2009, he joined IMDEA Nanociencia and was promoted to Senior Scientist in 2015.
The research of Dr. Somoza is focused on the preparation of modified oligonucleotides and function alization of nanoparticles for different biomedical applications, such as the detection and treatment of Uveal Melanoma, Pancreatic and Breast Cancer and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Particularly, modified nucleic acids are conjugated to nanoparticles for the regulation and detection of relevant genes and microRNAs involved in those diseases. Some of the sensing systems aim to work with ex vivo samples (RNA extracts) without the need of any equipment. Here, a change in the colour of a solution will confirm the presence of the disease.
For the treatment of the diseases, the nanostructures are also functionalized with different drugs and targeting molecules to improve their efficacy as nanomedicines. In this case, the aim is also to build robust and selective systems that can be translated to in vivo experiments.