The Director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Maria Blasco, will be awarded an honorary degree from the Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) on Friday, September 12, alongside the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa.
The ceremony will take place in the Great Hall (Aula Magna) of UC3M’s Getafe campus and will be held during the year’s special opening ceremony, as the main event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the university.
Maria Blasco (Alicante, 1965), has been the Director of the CNIO since 2011; she joined the CNIO in 2003 as Director of the Molecular Oncology Programme and Head of the Telomeres and Telomerase Group.
She obtained her doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and her work has made her an internationally‐recognised expert for her contributions to the field of telomeres and telomerase (the ends of chromosomes and the enzyme that controls them).
One of the high points of her career was to demonstrate the importance of telomeres and telomerase in cancer, as well as how the shortening of telomeres is one of the main causes of ageing. In 2008, she showed that the activation of telomerase is sufficient to delay the onset of ageing.
Blasco has also pioneered the development of a new technique for measuring telomeres, whose length is considered a risk biomarker for diseases associated with ageing such as cancer.She has published more than 200 articles in scientific journals and has received numerous awards, including the Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award (2004), the Rey Jaime I Basic Research Prize (2007) and the Santiago Ramon y Cajal National Research Award in Biology (2010).