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CNIO scientist among the 40 most important global researchers


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Óscar Fernández Capetillo Óscar Fernández Capetillo. /CNIO

CNIO researcher Óscar Fernández-Capetillo has just received this recognition from the world-class scientific journal ‘Cell’

On its 40th anniversary, the journal Cell has drawn up a list of the 40 most relevant global researchers under 40

Among the achievements of Fernández-Capetillo’s group at CNIO is the development of compounds with anti?tumour activity

The relationship between cellular replicative stress and cancer and ageing, or the relationship between cancer and stem cells, are some of the areas the scientist is currently working on

Science, Nature and Cell are without doubt three aces in the pack of global scientific publications. The last of these is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2014, so its editors have decided to draw up a list of the 40 most relevant researchers in the world that have not yet reached the age of 40 (http://www.cell.com/40/under40).

Getting on the list of an elite new generation of international researchers is no easy task as Cell is constantly reviewing the very best scientific results so, without doubt, this increases the value of the inclusion of Óscar Fernández-Capetillo, from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), in this group.

For the scientist, the feats that led to inclusion in this group are not limited to one specific thing, but rather the work done over several years. “During my career, I’ve moved from one stage to the next very quickly,” says the researcher, “which has allowed me to accumulate experience and results normally obtained by others years later. As well as publishing research papers, I have tried to be a very active member of the international scientific community where, I think, the CNIO group I work with is considered creative in its approximations when it comes to science.”

The researcher also highlights: “the fact of having managed to develop compounds with anti-tumour activity, licensed last year to the pharmaceutical company Merck, may have been taken into account on publishing the recognition,” adding that: “In general, I think what they value is the work of the past several years.”

For this doctor of biochemistry, who earned his degree at the University of The Basque Country, being recognised as part of the international scientific elite is but an incentive to continue working hard on all the lines of research his CNIO laboratory currently has open. “There are many areas we are investigating in right now, although almost all of them are centred on the mechanisms by which cells protect their genomes during DNA replication [division], and the relationship those mechanisms have with cancer and ageing. Finding out more about the relationship between cancer and stem cells, or the development of new DNA repair inhibitors, are some of the challenges we’re dealing with.”


Without doubt, the recognition given to Fernández?Capetillo has a positive impact on the international perception of Spanish research. In this sense, the scientist points out that: “the thought that has taken hold over the last two decades is that Spain has evolved favourably in terms of research. In the same way, nowadays niches of top-level science in our country can be seen. It is also certain that people know, especially our European colleagues, that the last few years have been very difficult due to the economic situation we’re going through.”

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