ABOUT ME

 

My research line has been focused on two main topics: optics and cryo-electron microscopy and in both cases I have been involved on image processing and computational methods development. During my PhD at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and my first postdoctoral work at the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), I worked on 3D reconstruction algorithms using structured light techniques and non-destructive optical testing by fringe processing methods. During these days, I worked closely to different companies and I acquired knowledge about image processing, programming (Matlab and C#) and software development. My PhD thesis with title “Novel 3D measurement methods by active triangulation” can be downloaded from http://eprints.sim.ucm.es/10326/1/T31351.pdf. As a result of my work, I developed a new software package called ScanningLib in C# to obtain 3D measurements of objects by structured light. After that, I moved to the Biocomputing Unit of the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC (Spanish National Center for Biotechnology-CSIC), where I have being working developing novel computational methods for image processing and structure interpretation in cryo-electron microscopy topic (cryo-EM). Since August 2017 I am Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University in Montreal. My previous background in optics allows me to face cryo-EM problems with a different view than the standard one followed in this field. I am trained in computational methods not usually employed in cryo-EM. A good example of this point is phase demodulation area, topic in which I accumulate more than 15 indexed publications. This topic is currently gaining interest in cryo-EM because the appearance of novel Volta phase plates and by the importance of correcting higher-order electron microscope aberrations in high resolution studies. Another example is optical flow approach, which is a standard method in optics. I previously used this method in phase demodulation topic and recently I successfully employed in cryo-EM to direct detector devices frame alignment problem. I want also to highlight my background in theoretical physics and optics that allows me to propose and implement complex mathematical models in cryo-EM.

I started my research career at UCM during 2003/2004 under a “Collaborating Research Grant”. After finishing my BSc in Theoretical Physics (June, 2004) with an average mark of Excellent, I began my PhD studies at the Optics Department of the UCM funded by a competitive FPU fellowship. During my PhD I did a 4 months stay at VISICS group led by Prof. Luc Van Gool (KULeuven, Belgium). In May 2009, I defended my PhD, which was awarded with the distinction of Cum Laude. I then joined the Space Optics Laboratory at INTA led by Prof. Tomas Belenguer and in April 2011, I moved to the Biocomputing Unit led by Prof. Jose-Maria Carazo at the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC. In July 2011, I was awarded with a competitive “Juan de la Cierva” Postdoctoral Fellowship (MICINN) (success rate 10/86 ~ 0.12). During 2014 I obtained an EMBO grant and I moved to LUMC (Leiden Medical University Center, the Netherlands). During September 2015, I was awarded with a very competitive ComFuturo grant (success rate 14/300 ~ 0.047), which aims to support young researchers in the process of making the transition from working under a supervisor to becoming autonomous investigators and let me to work independently being PI of my own project at the Centro Nacional de Biotecnología-CSIC. Furthermore, from September 2014 to September 2016 I was additionally Lecturer at EPS-CEU University, where I taught Optics and Electromagnetism and Imaging Techniques in Biomedicine subjects in the Biomedical Engineering degree. In addition, I have participated actively as invited lecturer and speaker in several MSc seminars and workshops to train postgraduate and PhD students in cryo-electron microscopy. On 15/07/2015 I was accredited as “Profesor Contratado Doctor” (Associate Professor) by the Spanish National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA). Since 2012, I am also Associated Scientific of the Instruct Image Processing Center (I2PC), which is the European reference center on image processing of electron and X-ray microscopy images. Since August 2017 I am Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University.

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