Maria Blasco: Science is the only reliable tool for facing challenges | Society | Valencian Community Edition

Director of the National Center for Research on Cancer (CNIO), Maria Blasco, who this Friday received an honorary doctorate degree from the International University of Valencia (VIU), highlighted the “essential” importance of investing in science because it is “the only reliable tool to meet the challenges of the present and the future”.

Blasco, one of the most influential Spanish scientists worldwide in oncology research and a benchmark as a researcher, stressed that she considers it an “honour” for the scientists’ work to be recognized, because it is “important to give the value that the research deserves”. This is the way to increase prosperity and meet global challenges.”

During her talk she began by emphasizing that science and the advancement of knowledge is a “collective mission” and that’s why she shared this appreciation with her team she’s been working with for 25 years, a scientist from Alicante who spoke about the research he’s developing in his group, including the link between cancer and aging.

“Science is what changes the world, what makes us progress as human beings and is the only reliable tool to meet current and future challenges. We saw this with the Covid-19 pandemic, as it was evidence of science’s ability to respond quickly to a global crisis situation.”

She also emphasized the role of women in science, and although she highlighted that there are more women trained at the highest level, the number of researchers who lead their group and decide what to investigate does not reach 30 percent, when they should represent what not less than 50 percent.

Blasco was sponsored by Débora Burks, Director of the Center for Príncipe Felipe Research (CIPF) in Valencia, who during her speech highlighted her as a benchmark in research and emphasized her contributions to cancer and aging, her commitment to gender management excellence, and her work in basic research.”

VIU President Eva Maria Jenner Larza highlighted Maria Blasco’s “talent, effort, perseverance, profession and legacy” at the ceremony, and noted that the appointment is a recognition of “her career and scientific achievements as well as her commitment to health, the role of women in science and the dissemination of science as an engine of social change.” “.

Before the law, the university’s president told EFE that Blasco is “a relevant person, with an international name and a long history”, someone who “has influenced the world of research, science and investigation after what we went through with the Covid epidemic”.

The Minister for Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society, Carolina Pascual, noted that society, having navigated a pandemic, had become “fully aware” of the value of science and research and underlined the appreciation of Maria Blasco.

Pascual is a “scientist of internationally recognized stature, who is also a prophetess on her own land, who shows herself as a great researcher and as a woman of reference for girls attracted” to science, noting that this is “important.” you have a reference.

Maria Blasco received her PhD in 1993 from the Center for Molecular Biology “Severo Ochoa” under the tutelage of scientific reviewer and lead Margarita Salas, and in the same year she joined Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York (USA) as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Under the direction of Nobel Prize winner Carol Greider.

As a postdoctoral student, he isolated one of the essential telomerase genes and created the first telomerase-deficient mouse model, which helped demonstrate the importance of telomerase in maintaining telomere, chromosomal instability, and disease.

Since then and for more than 20 years, Blasco’s work has focused on demonstrating the importance of telomeres and telomerase in cancer, as well as in age-related disease.

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