In the laboratory with… Dr. Ángel García Alonso. Professor Doctor and investigator. Faculty of Pharmacy
In the laboratory with… is an area in which we introduce with five questions the talent and excellence of Campus Vida researchers on a weekly basis.
Post / Research Group: Contracted Professor, holder of a PhD. Department of Pharmacology (BioFarma Group). Faculty of Pharmacy. University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). Principal Investigator of the emerging “Platelet Proteomics” group of IDIS (the Santiago Health Research Institute). Principal Investigator of the Molecular Medicine and Chronic Diseases Research Centre (CIMUS), USC. The Platelet Proteomics Laboratory.
Institution: University of Santiago de Compostela.
A specialist in clinical proteomics, particularly applied to studying the mechanisms of activation of blood platelets, he has published 26 articles on this theme in the last 9 years with an accumulated impact index of between 186 and 850 citations. He has specialised in cardiovascular research and has centred on acute myocardial infarction in order to identify new pharmacological biomarkers and objectives – basically of the platelet type – which allow a better diagnosis and treatment of this pathology. He has edited a book about platelet proteomics, published by Wiley & Sons, and has written several book chapters on the theme. As a conference speaker, he has been invited to international congresses. He has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Departments of Biochemistry and Pharmacology at Oxford University for 5 years, where he received Research Merit Awards. He returned to the USC in 2006 firstly as a Parga Pondal researcher and later as a Ramón y Cajal researcher. He has been, and still is, the Principal Investigator of national projects, and he participates in international collaborations. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Proteomics Society.
1. Who is the most important scientist of the twentieth century for you? Why?
Albert Einstein for his endless contributions which have revolutionised the world of Physics, not only his Theory of Relativity, but also his explanation about the photoelectric effect, and others. I would also highlight Alexander Fleming for discovering penicillin which, despite being a chance discovery, demonstrates that adequate observation and interpretation are essential to become a great scientist. Doubtlessly, Watson and Crick, and their discovery of the structure of DNA, were key for the major evolution in biomedical research in recent decades, and they deserve an outstanding place.
2. Which discovery changed the world? Why?
Doubtlessly, sequencing the human genome. This milestone, which culminated at the beginning of this century, is a before and after in biomedical research, and decisively contributes to advance in genomics and proteomics which, when complemented by other biotechnologies, will improve the chances of predicting and adequately treating many pathologies.
3. Why did you decide to be a researcher?
It was quite vocational. I began my doctoral thesis in the mid-1990s, when there was also an economic crisis and very few resources available. I was fortunate enough to carry it out in my leading department at the USC, the Department of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine. I have always been enthusiastic about biomedical research and I try to apply my knowledge to my teaching practice; I think that’s essential.
4. What is your most important research line? What results do you expect to obtain and what impact may they have on society?
Without doubt, it is clinical proteomics applied to cardiovascular research, more specifically to studying the mechanisms of activation of blood platelets in patients who have suffered acute myocardial infarction. The aim is to identify biomarkers that allow a better diagnosis and treatment of such a serious and prevalent pathology in our society. These studies are carried out in collaboration with the Cardiology Service at the University Clinical Hospital in Santiago.
5. In what way do you think that the “Campus Vida” surroundings improve your research?
Campus Vida has implied an improvement in the setting where I carry out my research and not only at the infrastructures level, but also as regards scientific interaction and collaboration with other researchers. In fact my entering in CIMUS, and also in IDIS, has placed me in an unbeatable position to be more competitive and to achieve excellent results in the increasingly more serious economic context we are living in. I trust that the brusque cuts in R&D+I, which are so compromising for the future of a country, that are currently being applied do not endanger my research career; I will certainly consider fighting for my objectives as best as I can and with the same enthusiasm that I have always shown.