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Paula Martínez

Paula Martínez obtained her PhD degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1995 at the University of Sevilla under the supervision of Dr. Tahía Benítez and Dr. Luis Pérez. Her thesis focused on the molecular and metabolic characterization of film-forming yeast involved in the biological aging of Sherry wines. Then she joined the laboratory of Dr. Bengt Persson at the Biochemistry Department, Stockholm University, as a postdoctoral fellow. The research project was focused on the understanding of the regulation and functional properties of the plasma membrane phosphate cotransporters. The work led to the identification of a novel Na+-coupled phosphate transporter in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

In 1998 she moved on for an additional postdoctoral tenure at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Stockholm, in Dr. Per Ljungdahl’s lab. During this period she investigated a signal transduction pathway regulating the intracellular trafficking of plasma membrane proteins in eukaryotic cells. During the last four years at Ludwig she was in charge of starting a new research line aimed at the identification of novel drug targets for antifungal therapy. Her work showed that in Candida albicans, the sensor of extracellular amino acids not only regulates the expression of amino acid and oligopeptide permeases but also the secreted aspartyl proteases (SAPs). SAPs constitute one of the major virulence factors in fungal pathogens. For the first time, the transcription factor and the regulatory mechanisms underlying the expression of SAP2 were discovered.

In 2005, she started as a project leader at the Department of Developmental Biology at Stockholm University. Her research focused in the study of the non-homologous end joining pathway for the repair of double strand DNA breaks (DSB) using Kluyveromyces lactis as a model system. She demonstrated that intergenic regions and rDNA are more prone to encounter spontaneous mitotic DSBs as compared to coding regions.

In 2007 she was awarded a “Ramón y Cajal” contract and joined María Blasco’s group. Her mayor interest is to further study the interplay between DNA repair/check point mechanisms and telomere length and capping maintenance.