Dr. Meritxell Genescà is the Principal Investigator of the area focused on female genital tractimmunity and preventative strategies against HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections within the Translational Research in HIV laboratory, Department of Infectious Diseases at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). She is an expert in cervical mucosal immunology and HIV/STI immunopathology, with more than 15 years of experience.
She obtained the Extraordinary Award from the Autonomous University of Barcelona as a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine (2000). After obtaining her PhD in physiology (2004), she was contracted by the University of California first as a postdoctoral researcher and then as an Associate Researcher Immunologist. For the next six years, she worked on the top animal model for HIV sexual transmission studies and specialized in mucosal immunology.
In 2011, she joined the Institut d’Investigació Germans Trias i Pujol in Barcelona, through a Ramón y Cajal contract, before moving to her current institution in 2017. Dr. Genescà is interested on defining the nature of protective immune responses against pathogens that use the cervicovaginal mucosa as their portal of entry, such as HIV. Her group collaborates with several basic and clinical research groups in order to conduct translational comparative medicine in the following areas: 1) HIV reservoir characterization in the cervical tissue and new strategies for its elimination; 2) Bacterial infection immunopathology and its implications for HIV co-infection; 3) Novel molecules as adjuvants for mucosal vaccine development; 4) Biomarkers of genital mucosa immunity (immune correlates ofprotection/infection). She is a member of the international Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI), the Spanish group for AIDS study (GESIDA) and the Spanish HIV/AIDS Network (RIS).
Moreover, she has participated in many dissemination activities, such as career orientation and continuous education for seniors, among others. Her track record includes 29 articles in major international scientific journals (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4835-9875) with an h-index of 14, numerous presentations in international meetings and several fellowships and awards. She is also actively involved in teaching in the Translational Biomedical Research master at VHIR and student training, with 1 doctoral thesis and 8 master students completed.