Our team

We are a young and ambitious group with the goal of developing scientific projects that help improve the prognosis of cancer patients with brain metastases.

Manuel Valiente.

DVM / PhD · Principal Investigator

My lab develops projects to study cancer cells that metastasize to the brain. Our interest is to understand cancer, but also the brain's reaction to metastasis. We develop an integrated approach that allows studying several critical aspects of the biology with the ultimate goal of blocking the development and growth of brain metastases.

Lucía Zhu.

PhD Student

Lucia was born in Valencia (1993). She obtained her bachelor degree in Biotechnology at Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Seville) with outstanding marks in June 2015. She was awarded with the scholarship “Atlanticus-Santander” that allowed her to move to South Carolina where she continued her studies (August-December, 2014) of her bachelor as well as trained in basic molecular techniques. In 2015, she travelled to Hamburg within the Erasmus+ Traineeship Programme to join the Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology...

Neibla Priego.


Neibla was born in Madrid (1987). When she finished her degree in Pharmacy (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, UCM) she decided to get to know the insights of Molecular Biology in more detail. While doing the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine Master Degree at UCM, she started to work in the laboratory of Dr. Porras as a Master Thesis student. Her thesis was awarded with the best distinction. Neibla obtained a FPU fellowship to continue her PhD studies in the same laboratory...

Pedro García.

PhD student

Pedro was born in Valencia (1992). He obtained his bachelor degree in Biotechnology (2014) at the Universitat Politècnica de València. During this time he trained on various biological and molecular techniques during internships at Hospital General de Valencia and at the Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe. His Bachelor thesis, under the supervision of Dr. Knecht’s, produced a new diagnostic tool for a rare neurodegenerative disorder. Afterwards, he moved to Sweden to join the Master of Medical Science in Molecular Medicine at Uppsala University...

Ana de Pablos .

PhD student

Ana was born in Segovia (1994). Before graduating from Biotechnology at Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (UFV, Madrid) in July 2016, Ana performed research internships at Hospital Gregorio Marañón (Madrid) and at CNIO, under the supervision of Dra. Nuria Malats as part of the CNIO Summer Program (2015). During her bachelor studies, she was awarded with a scholarship from UFV for students with brilliant academic records...

Laura Álvaro.

PhD Student

Laura was born in Madrid (1993) and obtained her bachelor degree in Biotechnology (Healthcare field) at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. She carried out her bachelor’s thesis in the Molecular Diagnostics Unit at CNIO, led by Luis Lombardía. From October 2015 to September 2016 she was awarded with a “Citius” fellowship...

Mariam Al-Masmudi.


Mariam was born in Madrid (1986). As an undergraduate student at the University of Malaga (Biology degree), she developed a strong interest for neuroscience. This led her to join the laboratory of Dr. Zafaruddin Khan as an intern student at the Centro de Investigaciones Medico Sanitarias (CIMES)...

Diana Retana Fernández.

Senior laboratory technician

Diana was born in Madrid (1984). After obtaining a degree in Chemical Analysis and Quality Control in 2004 she graduated in Biology (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, UCM). Diana did her Bachelor Thesis in the laboratory of Dra. Martínez-Delgado (ISCIII), working on the deficit of alpha-1 antitrypsin and investigating the mechanisms that regulate the transcription of serpins...

Lauritz Miarka.

MD student

Lauritz was born in Lüneburg (1993). He is currently in his final year of medical school at the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel in Germany (CAU, 2013-2021). During his studies he developed a strong interest for oncology and conducted numerous clinical electives at oncology departments in Kiel, Hamburg and Edinburgh. Recognizing that a deep understanding of the biology is needed to extend insights into clinical problems, he decided to take a year off medical school in 2016 to undertake an experimental project for his MD thesis...

Carolina Hernández.

Master student

Carolina was born in Valencia (1996). She obtained her bachelor degree in Biotechnology at Universidad Católica de Valencia (UCV). At the University, she collaborated with different departments, as well as with the Joint Research Unit in Clinical Metabolomics CIPF/IIS La Fe (Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe/ Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe) and the Drug Discovery Unit at IIS La Fe...

Mabela García.

Senior laboratory technician

Mabela was born in Madrid (1968). She graduated as a Laboratory Technician for Clinical Analysis at Hospital Puerta de Hierro (Madrid). Her broad work experience includes production of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies (Instituto Llorente), research in oncology and immunology with Dr. Martinez Alonso and Dr. Balomenos (Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB)) as well as clinical research on pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine applied to colorectal cancer...

María Perea.

Junior laboratory technician

Maria was born in Madrid in 1999. She obtained a Degree of Clinical and Biomedical laboratory technician in 2019. She did an internship at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (North Ireland) where she did clinical analysis and participated in the research of Listeria monocytogenes. In order to improve her scientific knowledge...

Past lab members


Manon Mulders:

Erasmus+ Master student: 2015-2016
Current position: Michiel Pegtel/ Rubina Baglio lab, Cancer Center Amsterdam, VU University MC


Cira Dorado:

Technician in practices, 2016. Current position: Undergraduate student, Nursing School. Universidad Pontificia de Comillas ICAI ICADE


Miguel Marín:

MD student, internship 2015.
Current position: : MD/ PhD student, Christophe Benoist and Diane Mathis lab, Harvard Medical School (Boston).


David Wasilewski:

MD student, internship 2015-2016.
Current position: MD/ PhD student. Dieter Saur lab. TranslaTUM (Munich).


Laura Doglio:

Lab Manager 2016-2017.
Current position: Lab Manager. George Kassiotis lab. Francis Crick Institute (London).


Wendy Bindeman:

Fulbright visiting student, 2017-2018.
Current position: PhD student. Barbara Mary Fingleton lab. Vanderbilt University (Nashville)


Pablo Sánchez Vela:

MD student, internship 2016.
Current position: Research Scholar, Ross Levine lab. MSKCC.


Cátia Monteiro:

PhD student, 2015-2019.
Current position: Master on clinical research.


Lourdes Osuna Almagro:

Lab Manager 2017-2019


Pablo Sanz:

Master student 2019-2020

Lab positions