Keynote speakers

María Elena Bottazzi

Maria Elena Bottazzi, is Associate Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Division Chief of Pediatric Tropical Medicine and Co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Distinguished Professor in Biology at Baylor University in Waco.

She is an internationally recognized tropical and emerging disease vaccinologist, global health advocate and co-creator of a patent-free, open science COVID-19 vaccine technology for the world. She pioneers and leads the advancement of a robust infectious and tropical disease vaccine portfolio tackling diseases such as coronavirus, hookworm, schistosomiasis, and Chagas that affect disproportionally the world’s poorest populations. She also has established innovative partnerships in Latin America, Middle East and Southeast Asia, making significant contributions to innovative educational & research programs, catalyze policies and disseminate science information to reach a diverse set of audiences.

As global thought-leader she has received national and international highly regarded awards, has more than 180 scientific papers and participated in more than 250 conferences worldwide. She is Member of the National Academy of Science of Honduras and Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine of the National Academy of Medicine in the US and currently a member of the National Academies Ad-hoc Committee on Vaccine Research and Development Recommendations for Advancing Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza Preparedness and Response. Dr. Bottazzi also serves as Co-chair of the Vaccines and Therapeutics Taskforce of the Lancet Commission on COVID-19. In 2022 she, alongside Dr. Peter Hotez, were nominated by Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher of Texas for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Phil Felgner

Dr Felgner is the director of the UCI Vaccine Research & Development Centre as well as the Protein Microarray Laboratory and Training Facility and has over 25 years of experience in the biotechnology industry. He is a pioneer in the use of protein microarrays to understand in detail how the immune system responds to different infectious microorganisms and to identify the best antigens for use in vaccines and diagnostic tests.  

Moreover, in 1985 he discovered and developed lipofection technology, the strategy underpinning the use of lipid nanoparticles as delivery vehicles for messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines against COVID-19. As a recognition of this, he was one of the awardees of the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 2021.

His work has led to 250 published papers and 45 patents that have been cited by other scientists more than 25,000 times.


Miguel López, PhD


Dr. Miguel López received his PhD in Molecular Biology (2002) from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC, Spain) and made his postdoctoral training (2002-2006) in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry in the University of Cambridge (UK). Currently, he is Associate Professor in Department of Physiology of USC and he leads the NeurObesity Group in the Research Centre of Molecular Medicine and Chronic Diseases (CiMUS) of that institution. Since the beginning of his PhD, he has focused his research on the regulation of energy balance and obesity, with his current interest on hypothalamic energy sensors (particularly AMPK) and thyroid hormones in the modulation of energy balance and metabolism. He has published 241 peer-reviewed papers (average impact factor: 7.6). His H-index is 68 and his work has been cited around15,500 times. He is serving/has served on the editorial board of Endocrinology, Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, Journal of Endocrinology, Molecular Metabolism, several Frontiers journals and PLoS ONE, and as a reviewer for several international biomedical journals and funding agencies. He is Collaborator of the Biomedical Area (Physiology Subarea) of the State Research Agency (AEI, Spain). He has received the following awards:

  • Basic Research in Obesity of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology (2006 and 2009)
  • Young Investigator Award of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (2008; first Spanish citizen to be awarded with that price)
  • Basic Research in Obesity of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (2009)
  • Award on Neuroendocrinology of the Spanish Society of Endocrinology (2012)
  • Constantes y Vitales Award (2016)
  • European Journal of Endocrinology Prize of the European Society of Endocrinology (2017)
  • Young Basic Research Excellence Award of the European Society for Clinical Investigation (2018)
  • European Thyroid Award of the European Thyroid Association (2018)
  • Jens Sandahl Christiansen Award of the European Society of Endocrinology (2019)

He has been PI of 19 national and international grants, among them an ERC Starting Grant. As PI he has got around 8 million euros (2006-). He has supervised 14 Master Thesis and 18 PhD Thesis (1 pending to defend). He teaches Endocrinology in the School of Pharmacy of USC and Comparative Physiology in the School of Biology of USC.


Lola Fernández Messina