Professor Marta E Alarcón-Riquelme MD, PhD

Professor Marta E Alarcón-Riquelme MD, PhD

Center for Genomics and Oncological Research, Granada,

Marta E. Alarcon-Riquelme is Head of the Medical Genomics Area at the Center for Genomics and Oncological Research (GENYO), Granada, Spain and Visiting Professor at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Professor Alarcon-Riquelme studied Medicine in Mexico, before moving to Sweden in 1987 where she was awarded her PhD in Immunology from Stockholm University in 1994. After her PhD she began forming research collaborations, which allowed her to build banks of samples for genetics studies, families and case-control sets. These efforts, and financing from the European 4th Framework Programme, allowed her to publish the identification of the first gene resulting from genetic linkage analyses of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) families, PDCD1, and the very first example of how to analyse a genetic polymorphism with impact on transcription factor binding and gene expression. In several subsequent studies, Professor Alarcon-Riquelme identified BANK1 and developed understanding of the mechanisms through which genetic polymorphisms modulate gene function for IRF5, CD226 and fine mappings of various genes published in top journals. Following these research activities, Professor Alarcon-Riquelme was invited to become a member of the International Lupus Genetics Consortium.

Professor Alarcon-Riquelme has been Editorial Advisor for Genes & Immunity and has served as Advisory Editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism and has been an invited speaker to over 60 meetings and congresses since 1996. She has been a grant evaluator for the Swedish Research Council (presiding in 2006, 2008 and 2009), Wellcome Trust (2001, 2004), Arthritis Research Campaign (2004, 2007), European Young Investigator Awards for Sweden (2007), and Academy of Finland (2011–2013), among others.

Professor Alarcon-Riquelme has dedicated her career to the understanding of the autoimmune disease SLE, focusing on the identification of susceptibility genes and how these impact on cell function. Since 1997 she has trained Masters Students, PhD students and postdoctoral graduates and, since 2009, coordinated the European Research Network BIOLUPUS with members from 10 European countries funded through the European Science Foundation (2009–2014); this network consolidated clinical information from all European SLE patients and centralises data and samples for genetic analyses. Professor Alarcon-Riquelme also coordinates two large multicentre collaborations in Latin America on lupus (GENLES) and rheumatoid arthritis (GENAR) involving 60 clinical centres. Most recently, she has received important support from the Innovative Medicines Initiative-Joint undertaking of the European Union to study the molecular reclassification to find clinically useful biomarkers for systemic autoimmune diseases, a project she coordinates that includes 28 partners among which there are 5 major pharmaceutical companies; she has also support from the Alliance for Lupus Research to research the Influence of BANK1 in the In Vivo Development of Lupus and support from the Consejería de Economía, Innovación y Ciencia (Spain) to help characterise Spanish SLE patients for genetics studies.


Grants/Research Support: IMI project PRECISESADS

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