Francisco J. Martínez-Mojica
He was born in Elche (Alicante, Spain, October 5th, 1963) and is Associate Professor of Microbiology at the Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology, University of Alicante (Spain). He graduated in Biology from the University of Valencia (Spain, 1986). In 1993, he earned his PhD. in Biology, for research on the response of halophilic microorganisms to stress factors (University of Alicante), under supervision by Dr. Francisco E. Rodriguez Valera and Dr. Guadalupe Juez Perez. During the stage of elaboration of his thesis, he visited the laboratory of Dr. Patrick Forterre at the University Paris XI (Orsay, France, 1991-1992) where he began in the analysis of the DNA structure. He carried out postdoctoral research work on bacterial motility at the University of Utah (USA; 1993) with Dr. John S. Parkinson (University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA, 1993) and on gene regulation and DNA topology at the lab led by Dr. Christopher F. Higgins at the University of Oxford (UK; 1995-1996). In 1997, he returned to the University of Alicante to hold a faculty position as professor of Microbiology, founding the Molecular Microbiology group.
It is remarkable his discovery of the acquired immunity system of prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) known as CRISPR, which is one of the greatest recent advances in Biology. His fundamental work on CRISPR for more than two decades, qualifies him as the pioneer of this field. The study of the native CRISPR systems recently led to the development of outstanding laboratory tools that have greatly facilitated research in Biology and Medicine.
Dr. Mojica has received many prestigious awards, including the Rey Jaime I Basic Research Prize, the Lilly Foundation Award for Preclinical Biomedical Research, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Biomedicine category, the PLuS Alliance Prize for Global Innovation, and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research.