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University of Alicante awards the Gold Medal to Francis Mojica

UA Governing Council has also approved the "Protocol for the Protection of Victims of Gender Violence working or studying at the UA" and the adaptation of the UA Protection from Harassment policy.

UA Social Council plans to approve the university budgets tomorrow, Wednesday, at a plenary session to be held at the Alicante city university venue, “San Fernando 40” from 11.30 a.m.

 

 

Alicante, Tuesday 17 December 2019

University of Alicante President Manuel Palomar’s proposal of awarding UA researcher Francisco Martínez Mojica with the highest recognition of the academic institution has been agreed unanimously at a meeting held on Tuesday. After the approval, the UA President announced that the award will be given to the UA Professor on 31 January, in the context of the 40th anniversary of the University of Alicante and coinciding with the celebration of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Palomar has defended the award of the Gold Medal to Mojica before the university's governing team for the discovery of an acquired immunity system known as CRISPR. The system is used by bacteria to defend themselves from virus infection and has been one of the greatest advances of biology and microbiology in recent history. Thanks to Dr. Mojica's contributions in this field, exceptional laboratory tools, known as CRISPR-Cas technology, have been developed, which can be used for genetic manipulation in any living being, including humans.

The UA president also reviewed the teaching and research career of the professor and reviewed the awards that Mojica has accumulated over the last few years, which equals more than fifty, including the "Rey Jaime I" Award for Basic Research and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. He also mentioned his appointment as an honorary doctor by the University of Valencia, Polytechnic University of Valencia, International University Menéndez Pelayo, National University of Quilmes, University of Murcia and Complutense University of Madrid. 

 

Protocols

The UA Governing Council held on Tuesday also approved two important documents for the University of Alicante gender equality policies. On the one hand, as of today, the academic institution has a Protocol for the protection of gender violence victims who are working or studying at the UA; on the other hand, the Protocol for prevention and action against harassment based on gender and sexual orientation has been updated.

 

Vice President for Campus Facilities and Technology Rafael Muñoz has been in charge of the new protocol. In his speech, he highlighted that the main goal is to coordinate actions in the event of gender violence. The Security Office, the Campus Facilities Office and the Social Responsibility, Inclusion and Equality Office will be involved in the protocol, including other internal bodies and the state security forces in order to guarantee the victims’ safety and protection.

The Protocol for the protection of victims of gender violence who work or study at the UA has been drawn up by the University of Alicante Security Office, which is part of the Office of the Vice President for Campus Facilities and Technology. The aim is to guarantee the victims’ physical and psychological safety so that they can continue to carry out their work or study. In other words, that they can continue 'living' safely and in freedom on the UA campus.

The new protocol implemented by the AU is based on the premise of customised self-protection rules. The plan will be carried out from the information provided by the person concerned, in coordination with the Police Department under a planned preventative action.

On the other hand, the adaptation of the prevention and action against harassment based on gender and sexual orientation has also been approved today. This time, the protocol takes into account the Data Protection Act, the General Services Auditing Office (responsible for monitoring the investigation of cases) and also the e-administration services.

 

Social Council

The University of Alicante Social Council will approve next year’s university accounts in the last plenary session of the year at the Alicante city venue San Fernando 40, on Wednesday at 11.30 am. The meeting will be presided over by UA President Manuel Palomar and Social Council Chairman Adolfo Utor.

 

Francis Mojica's Curriculum Vitae

Professor at the University of Alicante Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology and founding member of the Ramon Margalef Multidisciplinary Institute for Environmental Studies of the same university. 

 

Graduate in Biology (specialising in Biochemistry) from the University of Valencia (1986), he received his PhD from the University of Alicante in 1993 under the supervision of Dr. Francisco E. Rodríguez Valera and Dr. Guadalupe Juez Pérez, receiving the special award of the PhD programme in Biotechnology. During the preparation of his PhD thesis he moved to the laboratory of Professor Patrick Forterre at the University Paris XI (Orsay, France; 1991-1992). There, he started to analyse the structure of DNA. His PhD thesis was based on the influence of environmental factors on DNA structure and gene expression in extreme halophilic microorganisms. Later, he carried out two postdoctoral visits in the laboratories directed by Professor John S. Parkinson (University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA; 1993) and Professor Christopher F. Higgins (Oxford University, Oxford, Great Britain; 1995-1996), investigating various aspects of the physiology and molecular biology of bacteria. In 1997 he gained a position as a tenured lecturer of Microbiology at the University of Alicante, founding the research group in Molecular Microbiology. He has held the positions of Secretary, Deputy Director and Director of the Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Alicante ever since. He is currently a scientific advisor to the company Iden Biotechnology S.L., to the Advisory Council on R&D+i of the Valencian Government Presidency, the Valencian Agency for Assessment and Forecasting (AVAP) and a member of the board of trustees of the GADEA Foundation for Science.

He is a founding member of the editorial board of the journal "The CRISPR Journal" and has reviewed a good number of manuscripts for more than 25 prestigious international scientific journals. He is a regular evaluator of research projects for both national and foreign agencies. 

 

Among his scientific achievements is the discovery of an acquired immunity system known as CRISPR, which use bacteria to defend themselves from virus infection. This has been one of the greatest advances in microbiology and biology in recent history. Dr. Mojica's pioneering work on CRISPR and his fundamental contribution to the knowledge of these bacterial components for more than two decades, qualifies him as the promoter of CRISPR research worldwide. Thanks to Dr. Mojica's contributions in this field, exceptional laboratory tools, known as CRISPR-Cas technology, have been developed. They can be used for the genetic manipulation of any living being, including humans. This technology has greatly simplified research in biology and medicine, for example, to study complex genetic processes such as those involved in embryonic development, carcinogenesis or neurodegenerative disorders. CRISPR-Cas has been regarded as the technology to cure today’s untreatable or very difficult diseases in the near future.

 

 

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