News Release

Marcos Vilela wins Lilly Research Award for Doctoral Students

His thesis on peptide nanotubes has been honored in the 22nd edition of the awards promoted by the RSEQ and Lilly to recognize the work of young researchers.

Grant and Award Announcement

Center for Research in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials (CiQUS)

Marcos Vilela wins Lilly Research Award for Doctoral Students


Marcos Vilela wins Lilly Research Award for Doctoral Students

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Credit: CiQUS

The Royal Spanish Society of Chemistry (RSEQ) and Lilly have announced the winning theses of the 22nd Research Awards for Doctoral Students, which acknowledge outstanding work in the fields of Organic, Pharmaceutical, and Analytical Chemistry. Marcos Vilela, currently pursuing his PhD at the Center for Research in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials (CiQUS) at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), was awarded alongside Andrea Palone from the University of Girona (UdG) and the University of Rome "Tor Vergata," and Beatriz Arévalo from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

Marcos' thesis, supervised by CiQUS Principal Investigator Juan R. Granja, is titled Supramolecular Systems Based on Cyclic Peptides for the Selective Transport of Antitumor Drugs . His research focuses on developing peptide nanotubes responsive to external stimuli such as light, and their potential application in delivering antitumor drugs to cancer cells. Peptide nanotubes are tube-shaped structures formed by stacking cyclic peptides. "For example, we can control the shape of the tube or its formation and disintegration by irradiating it with the appropriate type of light. Additionally, we are developing a strategy using these nanotubes to transport antitumor drugs to resistant cancer cells," explains Vilela. For him, this award represents "great pride and recognition for all the effort made during the doctoral thesis and serves as a significant motivation for the future."

Recognition for Young Researchers

This is the tenth award received by CiQUS in the Lilly Research Awards. Previous recipients include José Manuel González (2023), Soraya Learte (2021), Eva Rivera (2021), Noelia Casanova (2017), Andrés Seoane (2015), Mateo Sánchez (2014), Isaac Alonso (2013), Lorena Tizón (2012), and Olalla Vázquez (2010).

Organized annually by the Royal Spanish Society of Chemistry (RSEQ) and Lilly Spain, the Research Awards for Doctoral Students recognize the emerging achievements of students working on their doctoral theses in Organic, Pharmaceutical, or Analytical Chemistry and who are members of the RSEQ. Each winner receives financial support of 2,000 euros.

Additionally, the Early Career Researcher Award, which highlights the best project by a researcher under 40, was awarded to Marc García Borràs from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Girona and the Institute of Computational Chemistry and Catalysis (IQCC).

Antonio Echavarren, president of the Royal Spanish Society of Chemistry, emphasizes the importance of supporting young scientists, "both those studying for their doctorates and those already developing research projects, as their efforts contribute to the progress of science in our country." María José Lallena, director of the R&D Center at Lilly Spain, adds that "once again, we are delighted to participate in these recognitions of young researchers, as our work extends beyond our facilities. Supporting and collaborating with other institutions allows us to contribute to the creation of a robust scientific ecosystem, fostering synergies that lead to better results and, ultimately, positively impact patients in the long run."

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