This press release is available in Spanish.
Professor Félix Goñi, Doctorate of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of the Basque Country and Director of the Biophysics Unit, joint CSIC-UPV/EHU center, has just received the European Avanti award. This award is the most important in the world for research on lipids. Until now the American Society of Biophysics has issued this award, but this year for the first time, the European Biophysical Societies Association (EBSA) has also granted it. The awards ceremony will be held during the 9th European Congress of Biophysics, which will take place in Lisbon this coming July 13-17. At the ceremony, Professor Goñi will deliver a speech explaining his most recent research.
This new award aims to recognize the most important European scientific contributions in the understanding of Biophysics of lipids, including metabolism, enzymology, structure and membranes. Lipids include materials as diverse as body fats, olive oil or the delicate membranes covering living cells. In Professor Goñi's case, the award honors, above all, his work on certain lipids of cell membranes that trigger "programmed cell death", a key process in embryonic development and the natural defenses against cancer.
Félix Goñi (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1951) holds a Doctorate in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Navarra (1975). He completed post-doctoral studies at the University of London (Royal Free Hospital) and in 1978 joined the UPV/EHU in the Faculty of Science and Technology, where he began to develop what later would be the Bio-membranes Group, and since 1999, the Biophysics Unit. His group is one of the highest performing of the Basque Government and the UPV/EHU. His research work focuses on molecular interactions in cell membranes.
He has published 6 books and 305 articles, and has given numerous lectures at international conferences and universities around the world. He is co-author of three patents and has directed 16 doctoral theses. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Liposome Research, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, and the Journal of Chemical Biology. He is also a member of the Editorial Committee of the Journal of Law and Human Genome, and has formed part of Scientific Committees in a number of international conferences. In the Biophysical Society, he was the first foreigner in charge of organizing one of its conferences as President of the Programing Committee of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society (2006), in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. In 2010, he was appointed Chairman of the Committee of International Relations of the American Biophysics Society. He also chairs the Structure and Assembly of Membranes Group for this society.
As for management positions, he has been director of Scientific Policy for the Department of Education, Universities and Research of the Basque Government, and he was Chairman of the Publications Committee of FEBS (Federation of European Biochemical Societies), as well as promoter and President of Biophysics Bizkaia/Biofisika Bizkaia Foundation.
He was granted the Euskadi Prize for Research in 2002 and is a permanent fellow or "friend" of the Real Basacongada Society of Friends of the Basque Country since (2003). He is Honorary Professor of the National University of Córdoba, Argentina (2005), and was honored with the "Illustrious of Bizkaia" recognition (2012).
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