Monday, 25 September 2023 09:33

Luis Enjuanes receives the Gregorio Marañon National Research Award

Luis Enjuanes receives the Gregorio Marañon National Research Award César Hernández, CSIC

The National Research Awards 2023, granted by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, recognise the professional career of CNB researcher Luis Enjuanes. The jury has awarded him the 'Gregorio Marañón' National Research Award, in the area of Medicine and Health Sciences, for the excellence and impact of his work, making him a reference in the field of virology. His excellent career is complemented by the impact of his contributions to the knowledge of coronavirus replication and transcription, as well as his continuous research and innovation in the area of vaccines.

The National Research Awards, worth 30,000 euros in each category, distinguish Spanish researchers who stand out for their careers and international relevance in their respective areas of research. They also recognise the merit of young people - with a maximum age of 40 - who have made significant achievements in the early stages of their careers.

In addition to the CNB researcher, the awards have recognised the work of seven other researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in the fields of archaeology, virology, mathematics and global change, as well as molecular biology, nanogenerators and dance.

Luis Enjuanes

Luis Enjuanes es profesor vinculado Ad Honorem de Virología y director del grupo de investigación en Coronavirus (replicación, interacciones virus-huésped y protección) del Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB) del CSIC.

Lleva más de 35 años trabajando en coronavirus. Su interés actual es el estudio de los mecanismos de replicación, transcripción, virulencia e interacción virus-huésped de los coronavirus. Desde enero de 2020, su grupo está trabajando en una vacuna frente al SARS-CoV-2, aplicando la misma técnica que ya usaron en los brotes de SARS-COV, en 2002, y MERS, en 2012.

El laboratorio de coronavirus del CNB ya fue pionero en el mundo en el año 2000 al conseguir una copia de ADN del genoma del coronavirus que, por tanto, se puede modificar posteriormente, una herramienta que está al alcance de unos pocos laboratorios de todo el mundo para trabajar en la modificación genética de coronavirus. El objetivo del equipo de Enjuanes es localizar los genes de virulencia del virus para eliminarlos mediante modificación genética. Al eliminarlos se consigue una versión del virus atenuada, que más tarde se puede administrar como vacuna para que los pacientes desarrollen una respuesta inmune que les proteja en futuras exposiciones al virus virulento. Así están trabajando para obtener una vacuna frente al nuevo coronavirus, para la que esperan contar pronto con un prototipo.

Enjuanes ha publicado más de 235 artículos en revistas internacionales y 58 capítulos de libros. Además de Fogarty Visiting Fellow en los Institutos Nacionales de Salud (NIH) en EE UU, ha sido científico visitante en el Centro de Investigaciones sobre el Cáncer (FCRC) de los Institutos Nacionales de EE UU (NIH). Es profesor de Virología de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid y del Instituto Pasteur de París. Ha sido nombrado Virólogo Senior Distinguido por la Sociedad Española de Virología, Académico de la Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, y Académico de la Academia Norteamericana de Microbiología. Asimismo, es Expert Consultant de los NIH y de la Organización Mundial de la Salud, y ha sido editor jefe de Virus Research.

En el año 2020 recibió la Medalla al Mérito en la Investigación y en la Educación Universitaria concedido por el Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.

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