Dr Claudia I Juarez-Molina
Role/company: Research Associate in the Gene Therapy Group at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London
Subject area: Gene therapy
I joined Professors Uta Griesenbach and Eric Alton’s Gene Therapy Group in 2019. Before that I worked for five years as a researcher in industry, where I worked on Adult Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapies for the treatment of degenerative and autoimmune diseases.
GCSEs/A-levels (or equivalent): GCSE and A-levels are joint in Mexico as part of high school – I carried out my high school at the Universidad del Valle de Mexico in Queretaro, and the branch of my studies was sciences which included biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics
• BSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Kent
• MSc in Molecular Medicine, UCL
• PhD in HIV immunology, University of Oxford
Detail about Claudia
My current work revolves around the design and testing of gene therapies for the treatment of autoimmune Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis (aPAP), a rare lung disorder. The impact of a new advanced therapeutics treatment for the disease may be significant as there are no cures for the disease thus far. This approach may also be a pathfinder for the treatment of other lung diseases.
I’ve always loved biology. In school it was my favourite topic so I decided to pursue it. I never really stopped to think about a career path, I just knew that I enjoyed it and that has taken me to where I am today.
Who is your STEM hero?
Professor Jennifer Doudna – she was recently awarded the nobel prize for her pioneering work in CRISPR gene editing. Her success has inspired me to continue to work in academia.
Most significant discovery/invention?
A difficult question, I don’t think I can narrow it down to one. A recent discovery would be CRISPR that has an enormous potential for human health. The structure of DNA was also a very important discovery. The internet, for obvious reasons. I could go on!
Career options after study
There are several paths that can be taken and they are all relatively flexible. Academia and industry are probably the best known, but there are also the public sector (MHRA for example), charities, engagement and career development.
Since I became a mum my hobbies have dwindled dramatically! But I used to love dancing – I took Hawaiian dance classes in my younger years, but I love any type of Latin dancing. I also love travelling and I’ve had the opportunity to visit 20 countries.