In the laboratory with…Manuel Fondevila Álvarez, researcher at the Luis Concheiro Institute of Forensic Sciences


In the laboratory with…. is a place where we present the talent and excellence of Campus Vida researchers weekly by means of five questions.

Today we introduce you to Manuel Fondevilla, a researcher from the Genomic Medicine Group at the University of Santiago Compostela (USC), specifically at the Luis Concheiro Institute of Forensic Sciences, accredited as the best group of world research into forensic genetics given the number and impact of its publications.


Manuel Fondevila Álvarez

Researcher at the Luis Concheiro Institute of Forensic Sciences

Campus Vida – USC

He graduated in and became a Doctor of Biology at the USC. He is a member of the Forensic Genetics Unit of the Luis Concheiro Institute of Forensic Sciences. He did his post-doctoral studies at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA) and he is currently a researcher in the Forensic Genetics area of the Luis Concheiro Institute of Forensic Sciences. His works centres on studying DNA degradation, analysing DNA polymorphisms in skeletal samples and applying new tools to forensic genetics.

1. Who is the most important scientist of the twentieth century for you? Why?


It is hard to choose only one because the 20th century was the scenario of dramatic development in all the fields of science and, consequently, it became the ever-increasing specialisation of researchers.

Having said that, the scientists who set the bases of space exploration are, in my opinion, those who were responsible for the most important advances made in the 20th century (this includes many fields  and people, and today’s science is a wide-based pyramid).

2. Which discovery changed the world? Why?

I would say that Darwin’s theory of evolution of species.

This discovery entailed a massive contribution to the conception of human beings as part of a changing universe, but one that is susceptible to being explained by experimenting and logically evaluating the results.

3. Why did you decide to be a researcher?

The guilty party was not doubt “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan. This man certainly had a true talent to arouse curiosity and the desire to learn. There are still many, many questions to answer and I am filled with curiosity.

4. What is your most important research line? What results do you expect to obtain and what impact may they have on society?

Nowadays, I am working on postmortem DNA damage and the accumulation of subproducts from organic molecule degradation. We hope to be able to solve the problems that these phenomena cause in working with degraded DNA, which will help solve the analytical problems that emerge from clinical or forensic analyses of old or badly deteriorated biological samples.

5. In what way do you think that the Campus Vida surroundings improve your research?

Doubtlessly in the possibility of interconnections and collaboration between groups of different knowledge areas, which are all excellent, and working in a team, which facilitates the task of coordinating an interdisciplinary research project.

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