Our Team

We are a multidisciplinary team with expertise in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Biology and Biochemistry:

Dr.Irene Marco-Rius

Group Leader

Irene completed her PhD in the group of Prof. Kevin Brindle at University of Cambridge (UK) in 2014. She had previously studied a BSc in Physics at Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain, 2005-2009) and a MSc in Medical Physics and Biomedical Optics at University of Heidelberg (Germany, 2009-2010). She worked as postdoctoral researcher in the group of Prof. Dan Vigneron at University of California San Francisco (USA) and Dr. Arnaud Comment at Cambridge (UK).

In 2018 she received a prestigious la Caixa Junior leader fellowship and a subsequent BIST-la Caixa Junior Group Leader position to start her own line of research at IBEC. Her research is focused on the development of non-invasive MR imaging and spectroscopy technologies to study metabolic pathologies in human disease and evaluate response to treatment.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Adriana Gonzalez

Adriana studied Biology in her home country, Venezuela and later she moved to Germany where she got a Master of Sciences in Molecular, Cellular and Neurobiology and later a PhD in Natural Sciences at the Christian Albrecht University of Kiel. During this time, she was working on the functional and biochemical characterization of Alzheimer´s disease-related proteins using cellular and mouse models. Later, she got a Marie Curie to join the lab of Dr. Michael Krieg at the Institute of Photonic Sciences to pursue her first postdoc working on the development of new bioluminescence imaging techniques and in a new photon-based system to address intercellular communication.

At the MIPMED team, she will bring expertise in biological and biochemical methods and work on the determination of possible biomarkers for muscular dystrophy 1 (DM1) using organ-on-a-chip (OOC) devices.  

Dr. Margarita Bulatova

Margarita earned her PhD in May 2021 from the Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry at the University of Jyvaskyla, where she was supervised by Professor Matti Haukka. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry and a Specialist Degree in Physical Chemistry. With experience in both academia (at the University of Jyvaskyla and Saint Petersburg State University) and industry (at Reaxys and ChimTech), Margarita has a diverse skill set that includes inorganic and organic synthesis, crystal engineering, various characterization techniques, and molecular modeling.

Throughout her career, Margarita has transitioned from an inorganic chemistry background to focus on biology and medicine-related fields. She joined MIPMED in January 2023 to work on hyperpolarized NMR methods, development of new sunstrates and studies of metabolism.

In her free time, Margarita enjoys pursuing her hobbies of photography, blogging, and hiking.

Dr. David Gómez Cabeza

David completed his PhD in Bioengineering in 2023 while working in the group of Dr. Filippo Menolascina at the University of Edinburgh. During this time, he studied the use of mathematical modeling to describe biological systems, particularly synthetic ones, with the goal of better predicting and (re)engineering them. His research focused on easing the problems of parameter inference and model selection by leveraging the field of optimal experimental design to maximize the informative content of experimental data. Prior to this, David completed his MSc in Systems and Synthetic Biology at the University of Edinburgh after obtaining his BSc in Microbiology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

In 2023, David joined the MIPMED team to provide his interdisciplinary expertise in the study of liver-related diseases such as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) for personalized medicine using non-invasive hyperpolarized nuclear magnetic resonance (HP_MR) methods.

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PhD Students

Marc Azagra Rodríguez

Marc holds a BSc in Chemistry (Autonomous University of Barcelona, 2017), an Official Master’s degree in Industrial Chemistry and Introduction to Chemical Research (Autonomous University of Barcelona, 2018) and a Master’s degree in Fine Chemistry (Esteve S.A and Autonomous University of Barcelona, 2019).

In 2020 he started his PhD under Irene’s supervision with funding from the European BLOC project. Throughout his training, he has had hands-on experience with metabolomic techniques such as NMR and mass spectrometry. He is also co-author of the sci-blog “Momentos Magnéticos” (“Magnetic Moments”).

Alba Herrero Gómez

Alba holds a BSc in Biochemistry (Georgian Court University, 2019) and an MSc in Biotechnology (College of Staten Island, 2020).

In 2020 she joined IBEC and the BLOC project as a Research Assistant, and in 2021 she started her Ph.D. studies under Irene’s supervision with a FI AGAUR fellowship. Through her training, she has hands-on experience in analytical chemistry and instrumentation as well as cell culturing and microscopy. Her background and previous research experience in multidisciplinary fields is an asset in the team. She is working on the biological models needed to study metabolomic pathologies in human disease through MR imaging and spectroscopy.

Lluís Mangas

Lluís is currently studying a MSc in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Barcelona (UB). He joined the team in October 2021 to complete his masters’ thesis project on a design of a biosystem for metabolic NMR acquisition.

In 2022 he started his PhD project “Development of a multi-Organ-on-a-Chip to study cross-metabolism between liver ans kidneys, compatible with Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance Imaging”. During his time at MIPMED, he will learn about hyperpolarization, data acquisition and clinical NMR applications.

Gergő Matajsz

After completing his master’s thesis project in 2021 as part of the MIPMED group, developing the Multiwell chip, Gergő returned in 2023 as a research assistant to work on the BLOC and FLASHonCHIP projects. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2022 with an MEng degree in Biomedical Engineering, and he spent a year as an exchange student at the University of Toronto in 2019-20.

In 2023 he continued his work as MIPMED as a PhD student. He is currently working on CAD and microfluidics designs and frequently visits the microfabrication facility to make devices via various 3D printing and lithography techniques. Additionally, he took on laboratory management responsibilities to improve the workflow of the team.

Undergrad Students & Interns

Laura Aguiar

Laura is currently participating in a dual degree exchange program at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (2022) in the field of Biomedical Engineering. She began her studies in her home country of Colombia as part of a joint program between the Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito and the Universidad El Rosario (2019), in the same field.

During her studies, she was a part of the RehaTEK research group where she worked on the design projection of innovative and low-cost assistive technologies, seeking to respond to the social demands and participation of People with Disabilities (PwD). She also worked experimentally with Misty Robots as part of this initiative, initiating programming tests on Misty II. Additionally, she has experience in programming with different software such as Matlab, Python, and Colab.

Chiara Bernardi

Chiara is currently studying Biomedical Engineering at Polytechnic of Turin (PoliTo). She began her studies in Bari, a city in the south of Italy, where she was born. After the bachelor’s degree (2021) she decided to move to Turin, to continue her studies.

During her studies, she developed a passion in biomedical signal and image processing. During a digital pathology laboratory, she developed a segmentation algorithm used for the identification of individual cell within hostological images from colon section. Additionally, she has some programming skills with Matlab and Python.

She joined the team for her master’s thesis project, followed by David Gómez Cabeza. Under his supervision she will work on HP-MR data processing and analysis of 3D non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) developed in Organ-on-a-chip device.