Dr Maria Jose Martinez Bravo
Pharma & Bio Chemistry
UCL School of Pharmacy
- Joined UCL
- 1st Jan 2018
I got my BSc in Pharmacy at the University of Seville (Spain) in 2007. I started my PhD in the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville in 2008 where I studied the consequences of the mismatch in minor histocompatibility antigens after allogeneic stem-cell transplantation. After I got my PhD certificate in 2013, I joined the lab of Dr Susanne Gabrielsson at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden) as postdoc where I was studying the use of exosomes as cancer vehicles vaccines but also as biomarkers for different pulmonary diseases. After 2 years I accepted a position as Research associate at King’s College London where Prof Juraj Ivanyi was my supervisor during the three years I spent in his group trying to find a better vaccine against Tuberculosis disease. At the beginning of 2018, I joined the School of Pharmacy at University College London as Associate Lecturer to be part of the scientific knowledge transference to MSc students.
My lab is focussed on the development of a new vaccine against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Using different delivery systems such as viruses or nanovesicles, my lab is exploring new routes to active the cellular immune response against antigens present on the surface of the bacteria.
Applying many different immunological techniques such as tissue culture, differentiation of cells into macrophages, flow cytometry and ultracentrifugation among many others, my lab is developing new vaccines to be tested first in animal models.
I feel that with my breadth of knowledge within pharmacology and immunology alongside experience of working in Science in three different countries I have much to offer new students. I have developed and greatly enjoyed all the responsibilities I have had in mentoring and encouraging students with their prospective careers in Science. Firstly, as PhD student I mentored five BSc and MSc students, whilst at Karolinska Institute I coordinated the final project for three MSc students. Additionally, my experience as a supervisor of MSc students at KCL together with my experienceas Immunology and Microbiology lecturer for second-year students at Dental Institute gave me the enthusiasm in taking this job as Teaching fellow. Currently I collaborate in a volunteer-basis with Native Scientist to introduce Science to below of 10-years old kids in their own native language. In 2017 I have been recognised by The Higher Education Academy as an Associate Fellow and in 2021 I got the Fellow recognition by the same institution. In November 2020 I became Chair of the Women and Research committee at the Society of Spanish Researchers at the UK helping to encourage women working in Science and Academia yo empower themselves at their working places. Since academic year 2020/2021 I am the module leader for Applications of Immunology: Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Diagnostic Techniques available to all MSc Drug Discovery and Development students.
I was born in Seville, Spain, and I always saw myself participating in the process of helping sick people getting recovered or at least feeling much better, that's why I studied Pharmacy in my hometown. I decided later to start my PhD in order to be in the front line of the latest scientific advances. After I got my certificate I wanted to experience what it is working in more international labs and that is why I decided to accept a two-years postdoc offer at the Karolinska Institute, where I had my first experience working in my second language. Extremely rich and open-minding experience where I learnt and enjoyed the fact of being surrounded by other cultures and awesome researchers and even better people. Nevertheless, I thought coming to London could be even more interesting both professionally and personally and I joined as Research associate at King's College London, where I gave my first lecture to Dentistry students. That experience was very successful and I decided I wanted to propagate scientific knowledge to students avid of them. That's why I accepted this position as Teaching Fellow at the School of Pharmacy where everything started, but with different location, a bit more than 10 years ago. I will have the chance of transferring my passion about Science to students who remind me a lot the person I was. Luckily I can continue developing my research in trying to find a better vaccine against Tuberculosis disease in collaboration with my former institution.