Maria Teresa Villalba Diaz
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Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UCM since 2011. First 7 years of my career investigating Signal Transduction in phospholipid metabolism during my Doctoral Thesis, under supervision Dr. JM Mato, insulin receptor structure and searching for intracellular messengers with a postdoctoral contract of 2 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY. As Assistant Professor at UCM I worked on the structure/function of proteins in the BBM department’s Allergy group. I have been Principal Investigator of 1 European Project, 6 institutional projects (2 National Plan, 2 CAM and 2 RETICs) and 9 contracts with companies. 16 Doctoral Theses presented, four in progress (3FPU, 1 RETICS contract). I have published 169 research articles -42 in the last 5 years- in journals (160 indexed, 4 in Spanish journals and 7 chapters of books) international, of which in 23, I am the last author ; factor h=43 (Google Scholar) 5707 and 2276 in the last five years ; h=37 (Scopus). Author of 7 patents. I have taught in the BBM1 department for 27 years, in Bachelor’s, Master’s and Master’s degrees. I have also been 4 years Secretary of the Dep. BBM1 and since 2014 I am Vice-Dean of Research and International Relations at the Faculty of Chemistry.
Major scientific achievements : Baculovirus production of cytosolic tyrosine kinase of insulin receptor (now commercial product) in cytosolic tyrosine kinase (now commercial product) (PNAS 1989,1990). Cloning and sequencing of the first allergens in wasp species and the sequential-to-cross-reactivity ratio (J Immunol 1993). These techniques of Molecular Biology developed during my two stays at Rockefeller University (New York, 4 months) and Brandeis University (Massachusetts, 4 months) allowed me to expand our research potential (protein chemistry until then). The recombinant expression of the first pollen allergen (JBC 2001). Detection, structural and immunological characterization and recombinant expression of 20 seed and nut allergens, 12 of the 14 olive and olive pollen allergens (New Engl J of Med 2008) ; their epitope mapping and various hypoallergenic mutants, other Oleaceae pollens (6 panel of JACI 2014 ash allergens, lilac, privet). Discovery of tissue-specific allergens in fresh fruit seeds : kiwifruit, tomato, melon and pumpkin. Participation in epidemiological studies (VEGETALIA, EXPO I and II) with 50 Spanish hospitals, contributing more than 30 allergens. Identification of specific markers for allergy to olive and amaranthaceous pollen. Cross-immune reactivity analysis between food allergens/pollens/latex of great clinical interest as it helps to clarify the diagnosis and role of panallergens. Animal models of allergy in mice and tolerance tests and testing of possible vaccines with allergenic derivatives. Determination of the 3D structure of 6 allergenic proteins. Allergen standardization studies in a European project (CREATE). Collaborations with foreign groups from Austria, France, Italy, United States, Japan, and national as well as clinicians with hospitals and basic groups of the RETICS RIRAAF and ARADyAL. Since 2000 we have maintained uninterrupted contracts with ALK-Abelló, Indoor Biotech, ASAC S. A., Inmunal, Probelte Pharma, Allergopharma.