Medalla Nº IL de la Real Academia de Ingenieria.
Departamento de Biotecnología-Biología Vegetal. Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid y Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas (CBGP; UPM-INIA). Campus de Montegancedo
Born in Alcazarquivir (Morocco, 1942), she graduated in Agronomy at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM, 1964) and did her doctorate at the same university. Her thesis supervisor was Professor Juan Santa María Ledochowski, a renowned specialist in yeasts. Her advisor at the University of Minnesota, where she studied with a grant from the Juan March Foundation, was Professor James Jezeski, a specialist in Industrial Microbiology.
She has been Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos (UPM) from 1983 until July 2013 and Emeritus Professor since 2013.
She has been a researcher at the College of Agriculture, University of Minnesota (USA) and at the National Institute of Agronomical Research (“Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agronómicas – INIA”); vice-president of the Spanish Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society (SEBBM; 1994-1998) and coordinator of the SEBBM Plant Molecular Biology group (1998-2004); member of the Biology and Medicine Commission of the National Council for Scientific Research (CSIC); member of the scientific board of the Valencia Institute for Agrarian Research (IVIA); head of the Biotechnology Department at the UPM; founder and the first director of the Plant Molecular Genetics Department at the National Biotechnology Centre (CNB-CSIC); director of the Doctorate in Agrarian and Forestry Biotechnology Programme, that the UPM run jointly with the University of Chile (Agronomy and Forestry Science Faculties); lecturer at the International Centre for Higher Mediterranean Agronomical Studies (CIHEAM, Zaragoza). She has contributed to the establishment of the “Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute” of Sancti Spiritus (Cuba), participating in the training of personnel and to the developing its research lines.
She has been a member of the National Commission of Bio-safety of the Environmental Ministry as an expert in transgenic plants (1999-2003). Member of the committees for selection of researchers for the ICREA programme (2002-2006), and for evaluating the University Professors in Cataluña (AQU, 2007-2013) and in the Vasque Country (UNIBASQ, 2012-2015). Member of the committee to nominate Honoris Causa Doctors of the UPM and the editorial board of the UPM-press (2010-…).
She has been awarded the UPM’s General Foundation’s Research Prize, the UPM-Medal (2001) and was nominated Illustrious Character (“Personaje Ilustre”) of the UPM in 2015. She has received the AMAVI (2000) Prize for sciences, the Columela (2010) prize by the “Colegio de Ingenieros Agrónomos” of Andalucia to the agronomical research and the ANTAMA prize (2014) for her Scientific Communication in favour of the agrarian biotechnology in Spain.
She is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) since 1988 and was part of its selection committee (1997-1998). Since June 2003 is member of the Royal Academy of Engineering, being the first woman elected (medal IL) and was proposed for the Royal Academy of Veterinary Sciences (2011).
Her research deals with several aspects of plant genetic engineering, genomics and biotechnology, especially in relation to decipher the mechanisms of gene regulation during seed development and germination, and with the application of molecular methods for obtaining plant resistance to pests and diseases.
Invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences of her speciality, she has more than one hundred research papers in international journals and several book chapters. She has also supervised 20 doctoral theses.