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Marisol Soengas awarded the prestigious Fritz Anders Medal for her achievements in melanoma research


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Marisol Soengas, CNIO Marisol Soengas, Head of the CNIO Melanoma Group. /CNIO

The CNIO researcher has been recognised for the quality and impact of her basic and applied research in melanoma

She is the third woman and the first Spaniard to receive this award

“Every award is important, but when it comes from key leaders in skin oncology, you feel absolutely delighted,” she says

Marisol Soengas, leader of the Melanoma Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), has been awarded the Fritz Anders Medal by the European Society for Pigment Cell Research (ESPCR). Soengas received this Medal at the 22nd ESPCR Meeting, held at the Palais des Académies, in Brussels. This was in recognition of the outstanding achievements in basic and translational melanoma research of Soengas as well as for on the impact of his group towards improving ways to treat melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer.

Soengas and her research team have had major achievements, like the discovery of mechanisms that distinguish benign nevi from melanoma, the identification of factors that define the “barcode” of melanoma, namely, intrinsic signatures that distinguish this disease from over 25 tumor types. They also created the first bioluminescent animal models for melanoma, called MetAlert, which enable the visualisation and characterisation of melanoma in vivo already from early stages of progression. Her work has been published in high-impact scientific journals: Nature, Cancer Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Science and Nature Communications, among others. These achievements have made Soengas an international reference in melanoma and molecular oncology.

Soengas is the third woman and the first Spaniard to receive the Fritz Anders Medal. “I cherish every award,” she says, “but when it is the most outstanding professionals in your field that honour you, you feel absolutely delighted.”

ESPCR is a leading scientific society in Europe. It promotes interdisciplinary knowledge and research on melanocytes – melanin-producing cells that protect the skin against UV radiation –, in both normal and pathological conditions. Melanoma diagnosis and treatment is one of ESPCR’s major research areas. The Fritz Anders Medal was established in remembrance of the German scientist who pioneered studies of the genetics of melanoma in animal models. The award has been given since 2000 to researchers who have made significant contributions to research in melanoma genetics.

Marisol Soengas is the recipient of other accolades, including among others,  the L’Oréal Paris USA-MRA Team Science Award for Women in Scientific Research, given by the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) to an international multi-institutional research team led by Soengas; The Outstanding Research Award by the Society for Melanoma Research, the Constantes y Vitales Award, given by laSexta and AXA Foundation to the best biomedical paper, for her study of MetAlert bioluminescent mice models, using a technique that makes it possible to follow very early stages of melanoma in vivo; or the Medal of Science 2018, bestowed by the Spanish Scientific Society, in recognition of the basic and clinical impact of the work done in her lab.

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