Our Team

We are an ambitious group of researchers with the goal of developing scientific projects that help to 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.

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.

Pedro García


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). She obtained her degree in Biotechnology at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid (2012-2016). She was awarded with a scholarship from the same university for students with brilliant academic records. During this time, Ana performed a research internship in the virology laboratory from Hospital Gregorio Marañón and joined the CNIO summer program in 2015.

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…

Carolina Hernández

PhD 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…

Lluís Cordón Barris


Lluís was born in Cruïlles (1988). He graduated in Biology at the University of Girona (UdG) in June 2006 where he approached Science for the very first time working on HIV at the Haematology Department at the University Hospital Dr.Josep Trueta.

Patricia Baena Galán

Senior Laboratory Technician

Patricia was born in Madrid in 1994. She obtained a Degree of Pathology and Cytodiagnostics in 2018. She did an internship at CBMSO in the group of Transcription Factors and the Formation of Heterocromatin in Drosophila Melanogaster.

Oliva Sánchez de Diego

Senior laboratory technician

Oliva was born in El Escorial (Madrid) in 1984. She first obtained the technical degree on Pathological Anatomy and Cytology in 2006 with an internship at the Cajal Institute.

Irene Salgado Crespo

PhD student

Irene was born in Gran Canaria (1996). She moved to Madrid to pursue a Medical Degree in Universidad Complutense (2014-2021) and train as a member of the Spanish National Olympic Shooting team.

Jorge Ortiz Crawford

Laboratory administrative assistant

With a vast experience in business development and consulting, Jorge switched gears in 2022 and joined the Brain Metastasis Group.

Andrea Rojas

Master student 2023

Andrea was born in Madrid (2000). She obtained her degree in Biomedicine at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (2018-2022). During that time, she was awarded a scholarship for her brilliant academic record by the same university. She also did an internship at the Stem Cells and Cellular Therapy Group there, where she developed a protocol for exosome extraction from mesenchymal stem cells.

Juan Vázquez

Phd student

Juan was born in Banyeres de Mariola, Alicante (1999). He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology (2021) at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) with a specialization in Animal and Human Biotechnology. He also carried out his bachelor´s thesis internship in the Department of Biotechnology at UPV, where he worked on the isolation and characterization of Helicobacter pylori and Arcobacter bacteria in order to assess the microbiological diversity, quality, and safety of organic vegetables, determined by culture, molecular and massive sequencing technologies.

Jimena Benzal

PhD Student

Jimena was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (1999). She completed her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and studied her final year at Politecnico di Torino (Italy) as part of the Erasmus+ mobility programme.

Catalina Vela

Junior Laboratory Technician

Catalina was born in Inca, Mallorca (2000). In 2022, she graduated from her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the Universitat de Barcelona. During her final year, she conducted an internship for her Bachelor’s Thesis at the Karolinska Institutet, located in Stockholm, Sweden.

Ariane Steindl

MD Internship 2023

Ariane was born in Vienna, Austria (1992). Due to her early interest in cancer research, she started as a research fellow at the “Thoracic Malignacies-Research group” of the Department of Thoracic Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, in 2015 while studying medicine. This time set the foundation for her later doctoral thesis focusing on the different metastatic pattern in lung cancer.

Past lab members 

Manon Mulders

Erasmus+ Master student, 2015-2016.

Next challenge: PhD student, Michiel Pegtel/ Rubina Baglio lab, Cancer Center Amsterdam (Amsterdam).

Cira Dorado

Technician in practices, 2016.

Next challenge: Nurse (Tretten) 

Miguel Marín

MD student internship, 2015.

Next challenge: MD/ PhD student, Christophe Benoist and Diane Mathis lab, Harvard Medical School (Boston).

David Wasilewski

MD student internship, 2015-2016.

Next challenge: Resident, Neurosurgery Department, Charité University Hospital (Berlin)

Laura Doglio

Lab Manager, 2016-2017.

Next challenge: Lab Manager, George Kassiotis lab, Francis Crick Institute (London).

Wendy Bindeman

Fulbright visiting student, 2017-2018.

Next challenge: PhD student, Barbara Mary Fingleton lab, Vanderbilt University (Nashville).

Pablo Sánchez Vela

MD student internship, 2016.

Next challenge: Research Scholar, Ross Levine lab, MSKCC (New York)

Cátia Monteiro

PhD student, 2015-2019.

Next challenge: Medical scientific liaison, Oncology therapeutic area, MSD (Valencia).

Lourdes Osuna Almagro

Lab Manager, 2017-2019.

Pablo Sanz

Master student, 2020.

Next challenge: PhD student, Alexandra Stolz lab, Institute of Biochemistry, Goethe University (Frankfurt).

Mabela García

Senior laboratory technician, 2020-2021.

Natalia Yebra

Technician, 2017-2019.

Next challenge: Undergraduate student, Nursing School, Universidad de Alcalá (Madrid).

Luz Saavedra

CNIO Summer Training Student, 2017

Next challenge: PhD student, MGM, Duke University School of Medicine (Durham).

Clara Cabañuz

MD internship, 2021

Next challenge: Resident, Pathology Department, Hospital La Paz (Madrid).

Paniz Rahimi

Master student, 2021

Next challenge: PhD student, Miguel Martín Jiménez Lab, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio Marañón (Madrid).

Lucía Zhu

Master student, 2015-2016; PhD student, 2016-2021.

Next challenge: Experienced Consultant (Amaris Consulting) (Valencia)

Lauritz Miarka

MD student internship, 2020-2021

Next challenge: Resident, Hematology/Oncology Departmement, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (Kiel).

María Perea

Junior laboratory technician

Next challenge: Laboratory technician at Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Virginia García Calvo

Junior laboratory technician, 2022-2023.

Next challenge: PhD student, Instituto Teófilo Hernando (Madrid).

Tania Arranz

Junior laboratory technician, 2023.

Next challenge: Laboratory technician, CNIC Histology Unit (Madrid).

Valentina Pieri

First row: MD Internship, 2023

Next challenge: Resident, Neurology, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute (Milan).

Job opportunities 

We are always interested in outstanding candidates excited with the research we do at the Brain Metastasis Group. So, if you think you are one of us, go ahead and send us an email!

Lab members achievements