The King and Queen of Spain presided over the eighth edition award ceremony for this distinction granted by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum
Images: The King and Queen of Spain with Francisco Fernández Mojica, winner of the Science and Innovation category (Author: House of H.M. the King)
Alicante, Wednesday, 4 March 2020
University of Alicante Microbiologist Francis Mojica was appointed as Honorary Brand Ambassador for Spain in the category of Science and Innovation. The awards were granted by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum at the 8th edition of this ceremony held on 3 March at El Pardo Royal Palace, presided over by the King and Queen of Spain.
Mojica has been selected for being one of the most internationally renowned Spanish scientists, particularly in the field of microbiology, for his early contributions (1993) describing the CRISPR repeated sequences in archaeal strains and their role in the mechanisms of prokaryotic cell immunity.
King Felipe IV stressed that Professor Mojica, a Spanish microbiologist, researcher and lecturer at the University of Alicante Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology has placed Spanish research at the heart of the international scene and today there are thousands of researchers from all over the world who base their studies on the discoveries of this outstanding researcher. The discoveries of Mojica’s team have been decisive for the edition of any living being’s genome and will have an effect on the fight against diseases such as cancer or HIV, as well as on other implementations such as the creation of more resistant and adapted genetically modified crops.
The Honorary Brand Ambassador for Spain is a distinction granted every two years in eight categories with the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. The panel met at Casa de Mediterráneo (Alicante) on 9 July 2019 to appoint the new ambassadors: Ana Botín in the Business Management; Isabel Coixet in Art and Culture; Carolina Marín in Sports; Francisco Mojica in Science and Innovation; the Professional Football League in International Relations; the ONCE in Social Action; the Paradores Hotel Network in Tourism and Gastronomy; and José Luis Bonet in Extraordinary Accreditation.
Francis Mojica’s Currículum
Member of the University of Alicante Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology and founding member of the Ramon Margalef Multidisciplinary Institute for Environmental Research of the same university. Graduate in Biology (specialising in Biochemistry) from the University of Valencia (1986), and PhD from the University of Alicante in 1993 under the direction of PhDs. Francisco E. Rodríguez Valera and Guadalupe Juez Pérez, being granted the special award of the PhD degree in Biotechnology. After several research visits abroad on various aspects of the physiology and molecular biology of bacteria, in 1997 he achieved a position as tenured lecturer of Microbiology at the University of Alicante and founded the research group in Molecular Microbiology. Since then, he has held several positions, such as secretary, deputy director and director of the University of Alicante Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology. He is currently a scientific advisor to the company Iden Biotechnology S.L., to the Executive Advisory Council on R&D+i of the Valencia Region Presidency, to the Valencian Agency for Prospective Planning and Assessment (AVAP) and a member of the GADEA Foundation for Science board of trustees.
He is a founder member of the editorial board of “The CRISPR Journal” and has peer reviewed a number of articles for over 25 prestigious international scientific journals. He is a regular evaluator of research projects for both national and foreign agencies.
Among his scientific achievements, we find the discovery of an acquired immunity system known as CRISPR, used by bacteria to defend themselves from virus infection. This has been one of the greatest advances in microbiology, and almost certainly in biology, in recent history. 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. In fact, Francis Mojica's contributions in this field have led to the development of exceptional laboratory tools, known as CRISPR-Cas technology, which 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 procedures such as those involved in embryonic development, carcinogenesis or neurodegenerative disorders. Not surprisingly, CRISPR-Cas technology will help cure diseases in the near future that were previously untreatable or very difficult to address.
Among others, the UA microbiologist has received the Jaime I Basic Research Award, BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, Lilly Foundation Preclinical Biomedical Research Award, and Albany Medical Center Award in the U.S.A. Additionally, he has been a candidate to the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Chemistry.
Group photo of awardees with the King and the Queen of Spain (Author: House of H.M. the King)
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