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Dean Office

María S. Soengas

Dean Office Members

The CNIO is recognised for the relevance and international projection of its scientific groups. Key to this success is a solid core of undergraduate students, predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows, medical residents and a broad spectrum of visiting scientists. In fact, personnel in training constitute over 60% of the workforce in our institute. As such, the CNIO dedicates particular emphasis to career development, supported in part by highly competitive PhD and Postdoctoral programmes. Agreements are also in place with active medical centres, to ultimately bridge the gap between academic and clinical environments.

Importantly, the CNIO Student Association (CNIOSA) and Postdoc Association (CNIOPDA) are active organisers of talks and seminars coordinated by the Dean's Office. Examples of topics that we covered last year include Effective Job Hunting and Interviewing, as well as Negotiation, Leadership and Confidence Workshops conducted by the expert scientific coach Rob Thompson. These events are performed in concert with CNIO's Training Programmes and the Innovation and Communication Offices, which are deeply committed to providing the best environment for our personnel. We are most grateful to the Fundación Jesús Serra for their generous donation that helps us to strengthen career development programmes at the CNIO.

We believe that an informed society is better prepared to understand (and if needed, face) the diseases that constitute human cancer. Therefore, we are actively involved in knowledge dissemination. Members of CENIOSA and CNIOPDA have participated in various school visits and Open Doors activities such as the Semana de la Ciencia or the European Researchers'Night; all these events were highly attended, attracting numerous participants of all ages.

A particularly inspirational event this year was our Annual CNIO Lab Day. We were fortunate to host John Diffley (The Francis Crick Institute, UK) who spoke about his personal experience in setting up his laboratory, emphasising the value of perseverance, risk-taking and independent thinking. It was also exciting (and encouraging) to learn about the success stories of alumni from CNIO laboratories who now have productive careers in academia (Eva González Suarez, IDIBELL, Barcelona), nonprofit organisations (Marta Puyol, AECC, Madrid) and industry (Sara Álvarez, NIMGenetics, Madrid). We also had six outstanding talks given by CNIO trainees that covered exciting discoveries in the fields of stem cell biology, epidemiology, proteomics, tumour metastasis and drug development. Progress made in other basic and translational aspects of cancer were discussed in over fifty posters, which together emphasised the breadth of research covered by our different Scientific Programmes.

Finally, we also had the pleasure of announcing the establishment of the ‘Director's List’, an initiative promoted and endorsed by CNIO's leadership as a formal platform to recognise and give specific visibility to outstanding contributions made by our personnel in 3 categories: (1) predoctoral fellows with publications of the highest scientific impact; (2) excellence in research by postdoctoral and staff investigators; and (3) altruistic volunteering to further the mission of the Centre in regards to training, scientific divulgation and outreach. After a motivating review by our Director Maria Blasco on how the CNIO has consolidated and expanded our basic and clinical Scientific Programmes, solidified innovation and drug development activities and in general, reinforced our international recognition, it was with great satisfaction that we could present the first edition of our Director's List :

1. Awards to Excellence in Research by Predoctoral Fellows

Elena Doménech (for an outstanding publication in Nat Cell Biol), Elena López-Guardamillas (Cell Metab), Julia Specks (Genes & Dev), Silvia Álvarez (Nat Commun) and Laia Richart (Nat Commun).

2. Award to Excellence in Research by Postdoctoral/Staff Investigators

Sergio Ruiz, for outstanding contributions in the fields of genomic instability and stem cell pluripotency (Nat Commun).

3. Outstanding Contribution to Outreach and Awareness

Lisa Osterloh, for her tireless and altruistic efforts in the organisation and supervision of the European Researcher's Night, visits by high- and middle-schools, as well as the multiple talks and seminars given on career development.

In summary, we are as proud as ever for all that this vibrant community of young investigators at the CNIO has achieved, while mentored by a committed faculty at the frontline of cancer research.