JUAN FERRÉ
HEAD OF THE GROUP AND PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

juan.ferre@uv.es

I received my Ph.D. in Chemistry by the University of Valencia (UV), Spain, with the work “Study of the pteridines and quinolines form Drosophila melanogaster eyes”, which was carried out in both the Department of Genetics of the UV and the Biology Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge (Tennessee, USA). I did my postdoctoral studies in the Department of Reproductive Genetics of the Magee Womens Hospital (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA). I became Professor of Genetics in 2000, and served as Head of the Department of Genetics of the UV for 7 years. Since 1989, I had sabbatical leaves at the University of Hawaii and the Univ. of Tenessee (USA), and at Plant Genetic Systems (Belgium). I’m currently Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Structure in Biotechnology and Biomedicine of the UV (ERI Biotecmed). In 2016 I received, from the Consell Social of the Universitat de València, the “Award Research and Development” in the frame of the XXI Edition of Awards University-Society. I published more than 140 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals. My current research interests are (i) to understand the biochemical and genetic bases of insect resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins, (ii) to study the mode of action of Bt toxins, and (iii) to find novel Bt strains and insecticidal protein genes for the development of Bt-based insecticides to control agricultural insect pests. In my free time, I am a dedicated birdwatcher and serve as Vice-Secretary of the Societat Valenciana d’Ornitologia.


RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
 
 

BALTASAR ESCRICHE
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

baltasar.escriche@uv.es

Baltasar Escriche is Associated Professor of Genetics at the University of Valencia (Spain) and, currently, serve as Head of the Department of Genetics of this University and as Director of the Master in Research in Genetics, and Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Faculty of Biology. He studied Biology at U. of Valencia and completed his postdoctoral work at the University of Limburg (Belgium) funded with a European Union grant. He obtained a tenure track at the U. of Valencia funded with the prestigious “Ramon y Cajal” Spanish program in 2002. He has worked on different aspects of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins discovering, production and application from his Ph. D. in 1990 because its relevance as environmentally friendly pesticide. It is worthily to remark his studies on Cry proteins binding sites and insect resistance. New topics to be developed are related with non-conventional Bt proteins and the effects of Bt proteins on nematodes. He is especially interested in developing countries. Recently, he has finished a collaboration with several African research groups to control sweet potato pests funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now, he is leading competitive research projects funded by Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and from the company Dow AgroSciences.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
Insect-pathogen interaction
 
 

SALVA HERRERO
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

sherrero@uv.es

After studying Biology (with focus on Biochemistry), I performed a PhD in molecular biology and genetics at Universitat de Valencia (Spain). My PhD and part of my postdoctoral research was focused on the mode of action of Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal toxins and how insects can become resistant to that bacteria and its main virulence factors, the Cry toxins. During my postdoctoral period at Wageningen RU (The Netherlands), I had the opportunity to perform certain research with baculovirus and become fascinated about insect viruses and the interplay with their host. Since then I have focus my research interest in understanding the mechanism underlining the insect interaction with its viral and bacterial pathogens, somehow specializing in insect virology and pathology.


In 2006 I obtained a tenure position, becoming in 2011 associate Professor at University of Valencia where I combine teaching at the Department of Genetics with research in insect-pathogen interaction in the CBP group at the ERI-Biotecmed. Research in my team deals with the insect-pathogen interaction in a broad sense. I’m interested in understanding how insects respond to pathogens, but also how other factors (other pathogens, different host plant, etc.) can influence in the interaction. I’m also interested in the discovery of novel insect viruses that could also influence in insect’s physiology and response to pathogens.

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RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
Insect-pathogen interaction
 
 

JOEL GONZÁLEZ CABRERA
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

joel.gonzalez@uv.es

I finished my degree in Biochemistry at the University of Havana, Cuba in 1996. In the early stages of my career, I worked at the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Havana, Cuba, mainly developing transgenic plants expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins.


From 1998 to 2012, I worked at several Spanish institutions (Universitat de València, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias and Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas). I obtained my PhD (2004) and pursued in my post-doctoral investigations working in a throughout characterisation of the mechanisms of resistance to Bt toxins and studying the interaction of these toxins with their receptors. I also investigated the use of the Bt-based technology in combination with Biological Control Agents to control economically important pests in an IPM context.


In 2012, I moved to the United Kingdom to work at Rothamsted Research, as a Marie Curie fellow, to investigate the “Mode of action and selectivity of pyrethroids on economically important mites and ticks” and “the mechanisms of resistance to other chemicals like flumethrin, coumaphos and amitraz and develop sensitive monitoring assays for use in IPM”.


Currently (from 2015), I am based at the ERI Biotecmed (Universitat de València, Spain) as a holder of a Ramón y Cajal contract. My scientific interest is focused mainly in the investigation of the mechanisms underlying the evolution of resistance to pesticides and in the elucidation of key determinants of their selectivity over non-target organisms.

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RESEARCH TOPICS

Pesticide resistance 
 
 

YOLANDA BEL
SENIOR RESEARCHER

yolanda.bel@uv.es

I studied Biology (major in Biochemistry) and received my Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV) in 1991. The Ph.D., which dealt with biochemical genetics of pteridines in Drosophila melanogaster and in patients with atypical phenylketonuria, was carried out in both the Department of Genetics of the UV and the Biology Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge (Tennessee, USA). I performed my postdoctoral research (1992-1993) in the Department of Genetics in Sandoz Pharma SAE, Basel, Switzerland, working on DNA adducts. After a contract at the University of Valencia (1993-1996), where I started working on the entomocidal bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), I completed a “Master in Industrial Wastewater Treatment”, and worked for six years in microbiology of water and food in the private industry. In 2003, I returned to the University of Valencia, where I am still working as a Research Associate in the CBP group at the ERI-biotecmed. My current research interests englobe the study of the binding of Bt toxins to the insect’s midguts, the study of their mode of action and the biochemical and genetic bases of the insect resistance. Furthermore, I’m also interested in the research on novel Bt strains and insecticidal protein genes for the development of Bt-based insecticides to control agricultural insect pests, as well as the study of response of the pest insects (at the gene level) to the bacterial and viral pathogens.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
Insect-pathogen interaction
 
 

C. SARA HERNÁNDEZ RODRÍGUEZ
SENIOR RESEARCHER

Sara.Hernandez@uv.es

I carried out my pre-doctoral stay in the CBP group at Dept. of Genetics of the Universitat de València with a fellowship to investigate the distribution of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins and their interaction with receptors in pest insects. As a result, I obtained my PhD (best thesis award by the Univ. Valencia) in 2005. I was Associate Researcher in a long agreement between Bayer BioScience N.V. (Belgium) and the Univ. València during my pre- and post-doctoral period, studying the mode of action of toxins from B. thuringiensis. I have participated in several projects for the development of microbial bioinsecticides, one of them with a post-doctoral fellowship as a Principal Investigator of a project funded by the Generalitat Valenciana (2008). In 2011, I obtained an IEF-Marie Curie Fellowship to stay in the University of Bath (UK) for two years. During this time, I investigated the role of insects in the evolution of B. anthracis from B. cereus as head post-doc in Dr. Waterfield’s group. After this time, I joined again the Univ. Valencia to work as a Research Manager of the ERI BIOTECMED, a scientific network of 19 groups in the fields of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (2013-2016). Nowadays, I am working in the CBP group as a Senior Post-doctoral Researcher in a project to elucidate the resistance mechanisms to acaricides in the bee parasitic mite Varroa destructor. 

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RESEARCH TOPICS

Pesticide resistance 
 
 

PATRICIA HERNÁNDEZ MARTÍNEZ
SENIOR RESEARCHER

patricia.hernandez@uv.es

I studied Biology at the University of Valencia(UV), Spain (1998-2003). I started my Ph.D. studies at the Department of Genetics of the UV, and I got my Ph.D. in Biology in 2009. During these years, I studied the susceptibility and mechanisms of resistant of the insect pest Spodoptera exigua to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry proteins. After that, I had different contracts as a Research Associate at the same research group. The research was mainly focused on the study of the interactions between the gut epithelium and Cry proteins, the study of their mode of action, and the study of the insect response after exposure to Bt proteins. Currently, I am working with other group of insecticidal proteins (Vip proteins) to further characterize their mode of action not only on insect pests but also on insect derived cells.

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RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Insect-pathogen interaction
 
 

NURIA BANYULS
PhD STUDENT

I’m a PhD. student at the University of Valencia (Spain) in the Interdisciplinary Research Structure in Biotechnology and Biomedicine of the UV (ERI Biotecmed), at the Department of Genetics. I received an M.Sc. in “Integrated Pest Management” from the University of Lleida (Spain) in 2009 and a B.Sc. degree in Biology from the University of Valencia in 2007. I’m currently writing my thesis under the supervision of Prof. Ferré. My thesis is focused on the Vip3A proteins: biochemical properties, protein engineering, function diversity and its relation with protein structure.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
 
 

MARÍA MARTÍNEZ SOLÍS
PhD STUDENT

maria.martinez-solis@uv.es

I am a Ph.D. student at the Department of Genetics in Universitat de València (Spain). I studied Biology at Universitat de València (Spain). Since the third year of my degree, I started to collaborate at the Department of Genetics. In 2012 I received a M. Sc. in Molecular, Cellular and Genetic Biology. My end-of-Master work was focused in the mode of action of Cry proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis, under the supervision of Prof. Baltasar Escriche. The same year I was beneficiary of a contract from Prometeo Program (from local government, Generalitat Valenciana) and I started my thesis on the Biomedicine and Biotechnology Ph.D. programme, under the supervision of Prof. Salvador Herrero and Prof. Juan Ferré. The research of my Ph.D. is focused in the study of baculovirus as a system to express heterologous proteins, and nowadays I am writing my thesis. In 2015 I received an EMBO fellowship to do a stay in the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (Jena, Germany) under the supervision of Prof. David Heckel to study ABCC2 transporter from the Lepidoptera Spodoptera exigua in the context of Bt toxins resistance. I am interested in this topic and I have continued working on it in the CBP group at the ERI-Biotecmed. Furthermore, I am also working on the study of the intestinal microbiota from S. exigua larvae and their interaction with insect viruses.

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RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Insect-pathogen interaction
 
 

DANIEL PINOS
PhD STUDENT

daniel.pinos@uv.es

I’m a PhD. student in the Interdisciplinary Research Structure (ERI-Biotecmed) and also in the Genetics Department in Universitat de València. I studied Biology in Universidad de Alicante, developing my end-of-degree work in the Molecular Microbial Ecology group, receiving after a M. Sc. in Compulsory Secondary Education. I have worked as a researcher in the project “Development of a new bioinsecticide based on autochthonous strains of Bacillus thuringiensis” in collaboration with AFRASA Industries. I am currently beneficiary of a FPU grant (Spanish Ministry of Education, PhD fellowship) on the Biomedicine and Biotechnology PhD programme, under the supervision of Prof. Ferré. My study is focused on identifying the biochemical and genetic bases of resistance on Vip3 proteins as well as the interaction of these with its receptors. I am also interested in science popularization and its educational role.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
 
 

DJENANE ZAHIA
PhD STUDENT

zad@uv.es

I’m a PhD. student at the University of Valencia (Spain) in the Interdisciplinary Research Structure in Biotechnology and Biomedicine of the UV (ERI Biotecmed), at the Department of Genetics, CBP group. I’m working on my thesis in collaboration with the University of Science and Technology, Houari Boumedienne (USTHB) of Algeria, at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Microbiology group.


From USTHB University, I received a Magister in Biotechnology and Health in 2012 and an Engineer Degree in Biology, option “Quality Control and Analysis” in 2009. I’m currently writing my thesis under the supervision of Prof. Ferré (Valencia) and Prof. Nateche-Metiaz (Algeria). The research work that I’m performing is focused on the characterization of indigenous isolates of Bacillus thuringiensis for their antibacterial, antifungal and entomotoxic potential. Molecular screening of the related active-biomolecules has been carried out. The aim is to select putative candidates for the biological control of plant pests, which cause serious economic losses in the world.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Development of new bioinsecticides
 
 

JOAQUÍN GOMIS-CEBOLLA
PhD STUDENT

joaquin.gomis@uv.es

I’m a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Research Structure (ERI-Biotecmed) and in the Genetics Department of the University of Valencia. I studied Biology in the University of Valencia (2007-2012). In 2013, I studied a genetics and molecular and cellular biology master in the University of Valencia, developing my final master's work in the research group of Translational Genetics in the "Instituto Investigación Sanitaria la Fe", under the supervision of Francísco Martínez Castellano and Mónica Roselló Piera. I'm currently beneficiary of FPI predoctoral grant (Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness) on the Biomedicine and Biotechnology programme, under the supervision of Juan Ferré Manzanero. My research is focused on studying the insecticidal spectrum and mode of action of the Vip3Ca protein and the search of new insecticidal genes and their potential use in the pest control.

Researcher gate

RESEARCH TOPICS

Development of new bioinsecticides
Pesticide resistance 
 
 

ÁNGEL LLOPIS GIMÉNEZ
PhD STUDENT

Angel.Llopis@uv.es

I am a PhD Student in the Interdisciplinary Research Structure (ERI-Biotecmed) and also in the Genetics Department in Universitat de València. I studied Biology in Universidad de Alicante, developing my end-of-degree work in Molecular Microbiology group, in 2013, under Francisco J. Martínez Mojica direction, studying the interference mediated by the CRISPR-Cas system I-F of Escherichia coli. In 2014, I studied a genetics and molecular biology master degree in Universitat de València, developing a project in collaboration with La Fe hospital called “Exploring the use of baculoviruses for DNA editing through CRISPR-Cas”. I am currently beneficiary of a FPI grant (Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness) on the Biomedicine and Biotechnology programme, under the supervision of Salva Herrero. Our studies are focused on studying the expression and functions of insect sensing genes, such as neuropeptides, in the organism Spodoptera exigua (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) when interacting with viral or bacterial pathogens, and their potential uses as a pest control tool. I am interested in studying the insect-pathogen interaction, the effects on its physiology and on its immune system, and the uses of bioinformatics for evolution and genetic analysis, but also in finding new biotechnological methods for pest control.

Researcher gate

RESEARCH TOPICS

Insect-pathogen interaction
Development of new bioinsecticides
 
 

AYDA KHORRAMNEJAD
PhD STUDENT

Ayk@uv.es

I’m a PhD student in ecology and biological control of insects at the University of Tehran in Iran and also currently I join to the doctoral program of the University of Valencia to complete a part of my thesis. I’m working in biotechnological control of pest Lab. under supervision of Dr. Baltasar Escriche Soler.


I hold an MSc in Agricultural entomology and BSc in plant protection both from University of Tehran. I’m interested in insect biological control, insect pathogens, Bacillus thuringiensis mode of action and resistance. I was a research assistant in the studying the effect of Ferula asafoetida essential oils on some life table parameters of Trichogramma embryophagum..


For my master’s thesis I investigated the isolation and characterization of Bacillus thuringiensis isolates from host and different habitats and their virulence on diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella(Lep.: Plutellidae). .


My PhD thesis at University of Valencia involves structural and functional diversity of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins. .



RESEARCH TOPICS

Development of new bioinsecticides
 
 

ANABEL MILLÁN-LEIVA
PhD STUDENT

aimilei@uv.es

As a B.Sc. Biology student at the Universitat de València (Spain) I started to collaborate at the Department of Genetics, and in 2012 I received a M.Sc. in Molecular, Cellular and Genetic Biology with an end-of-Master work focused on the study of insect viruses, under the direction of Dr. Salvador Herrero. From 2012 to 2016, I studied insect-transmitted plant viruses at the Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea “La Mayora” (IHSM-CSIC-UMA, Spain). At present, I’m contracted as researcher in the CBP group at the ERI Biotecmed (Universitat de València, Spain) to investigate the mechanisms of resistance to pesticides in mites, under the direction of Dr. Joel González-Cabrera. Nowadays, my research interests are englobed in the field of agriculture maintenance and pest control, specifically focused in the study of molecular basis associated to pesticide resistance and their evolution in field populations, and moreover, in host - pathogen interaction and the molecular and genetic basis that regulates that specificity.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Pesticide resistance
 
 

ADA FRATTINI LLORENS
PhD STUDENT

frattllo@uv.es

I studied Biology in Universidad de Alicante (with focus on Biotechnology) during the period 2010-2014. In 2015, I studied a genetics and molecular biology master degree in Universitat de València. I developed my final master's work in the research group of Molecular, Cell and Genomics Biomedicine, under the supervision of Regina Rodrigo Nicolás ("Instituto Investigación Sanitaria la Fe), studying the “Effect of intraperitoneal administration of Adalimumab combined with the oral administration of antioxidant nutraceutics on the progression of retinitis pigmentosa mice rd10”. I am currently working as a researcher in the project “Tritrophic interactions for a better control of lepidopteran pest with insecticides based on Baculovirus”, in the Genetics Department in Universitat de València.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Insect-pathogen interaction
 
 

LUIS BENAVENT
PhD STUDENT

Luis.Benavent-Albarracin@uv.es

I studied Biology at the Universidad de Alicante. My end-of-degree was focused on the study of the PipX operon, important for signal transduction in the model organism Synechococcus elongatus. After receiving a M. Sc. in Research in Molecular, Cellular and Genetic Biology at the Universitat de València, I developed my Master Thesis at the Research Centre Príncipe Felipe, using a CRISPR/Cas9 tool to edit the frataxin (FXN) gene, which is implicated in Friedreich Ataxia (FRDA). Currently, I am a beneficiary of a FPI grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness on the Biomedicine and Biotechnology programme. I am investigating the genetic basis of resistance to pesticides in pest species of economic interest as well as in natural enemies used as Biological Control Agents.


RESEARCH TOPICS

Pesticide Resistance
 
 

ROSA Mª GONZÁLEZ MARTÍNEZ
RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Rosa.M.Gonzalez@uv.es

I am a laboratory technician in the CBP group at the ERI-Biotecmed (Universitat de València, Spain). I studied Clinical diagnostic laboratory (2006-2008). In 2009, I worked as a quality control technician in a food company for one year. In 2010, I got a scholarship to train as a research technician in the Genetics Deparment at the Universitat de València. From 2012 until now, I have been contracted to work on different projects as a laboratory technician at the same research group. My functions in the laboratory are: to maintain insect colonies, to perform bioassays with different insecticidal agents, to express and purify insecticidal proteins from either Bacillus thuringensis or Escherichia coli, and to organize the routine laboratory tasks.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Insect-pathogen interaction
Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
Pesticide resistance 
 
 

ÓSCAR MARÍN
RESEARCH ASSISTANT

oscar.marin@uv.es

After completing the Superior Cycle of Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory in 2015, in February 2016 I joined the CBP group (biotechnological pest control), Department of Genetics of the University of Valencia and work as Laboratory Technician. I perform laboratory functions, such as preparation of different buffers, acrylamide gels, extraction of RNA or DNA among others and support for research. I also deal with the maintenance of different populations of insects.



RESEARCH TOPICS

Insect-pathogen interaction
Bioinsecticide resistance
Development of new bioinsecticides
Pesticide resistance