Varela, Isabel


Isabel Varela

Graduated (1981) and doctorate (1985) in Chemistry, Biochemistry section, at the Complutense University of Madrid. She did the PhD at the Jiménez Díaz Foundation and, later, she was EMBO fellow at the Universities of Glasgow (UK) and Louvain (Belgium) (1986-1989), and guest visiting scientist at the Faculties of Medicine of the Universities of Uppsala (FEBS fellow; 1993, Sweden) and San Diego (MEC sabbaticals, 1999-2000, USA). She has been associated professor at the Medical School of the UAM (1991-1992), and later Senior Scientist (1992-2002) and Scientific Investigator (2002-2004) of the CSIC. Since 2005 she is Research Professor at the “Alberto Sols” Biomedical Research Institute, a CSIC-UAM mixed center in Madrid (Spain). Likewise, she belongs to the CIBER of rare diseases (CIBERER) and to the Institute of Health IdiPAZ of the ISCIII.

Editor of 8 monographic issues in scientific journals and 3 books, she is the author of more than 125 articles & reviews (18 as Varela I), 12 divulgative reviews, 4 patents, 2 monographs and 25 book chapters (>10,000 total cites; h=38). She has been IP in more than 49 national and European research projects (coordinator of She also participated in 6 dissemination projects of the SEBBM funded by FECYT, FP7 and H2020. Associate Editor of Frontiers, she is a regular reviewer of articles and research projects for national and international agencies and foundations. Her research work received the following awards: Young Investigator SEBBM Award (1994), “Juan Gassó Bosch” SEORL (2010), XV FIAPAS Health (2016) and the second prize in the XXVIII Prizes to the investigation Dr J. Font (2018).

Dr Isabel Varela Nieto is the director or co-director of 16 Theses with maximum qualification and 3 got extraordinary doctoral awards. Since 1997, she has participated in graduate and undergraduate UAM teaching programs. She is the coordinator of two subjects at the Interuniversity Master of Neuroscience in Madrid.  She is a member of the RSEQ, of the SEBC and of the SEBBM, where she has served as elected Scientific Secretary (2008-2010), responsible of the Science and Society working group (2008-2014), Scientific Secretary (2010-2014) and from 2018 she is the SEBBM President-elect. She has served at the International Committee of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO, USA), and from 2018 she is the Chair of this committee. She is a member since 2017 of the Science and Society committee of FEBS, and represents it in the FEBS Networking group ( and in the Biomed Alliance.

Since 2018 Dr Isabel Varela Nieto serves the Scientific Committee of the Isabel Gemio Foundation on behalf of the CSIC. She has been the delegate of Spain in the Biomedicine committees of the European Science Foundation (2007-2015, Core group since 2009) and of COST (2013-2014). She was the liaison of the ESF with the Bioethics Committee of the Council of Europe (2009-2015) and she was scientific advisor of the Wellcome Trust-EUROPE-PMC (2013-2016).