Dr. Isabel Varela-Nieto graduated and earned her doctorate in Chemistry, Biochemistry Section, at the University Complutense of Madrid (Spain). She has been a visiting guest scientist at the Medical Schools of Uppsala (FEBS Fellow, Sweden) and San Diego (MEC Sabbatical, USA). She is Professor of Research at the CSIC and group leader at the CIBER of rare diseases (CIBERER, ISCIII) in Madrid. From the early 1990s she has been studying hearing neurobiology and IGF-1 actions. She was the first Chair of the SEBBM Science for Society working group with which she actively collaborates, and member of the FEBS Network working group. She is currently the president of the SEBBM, a member of the FEBS Science and Society Committee and of the ISC Finances Committee.
I am a Professor of Toxicology, Biochemistry and Cell Signaling at Université Paris Cité (former Université Paris Descartes). I have completed my PhD in molecular toxicology and a post-graduate year in Bethesda, MD. I am the head of a Master degrees in toxicology and ecotoxicology. My research is based on cellular and animal models and on three main axes: 1) the influence of persistent organic pollutants on breast tumorigenesis and metabolic disruption, 2) the contextual role of pollutants in the occurrence of chronic liver diseases including steatosis and fibrosis, 3) the effect of mixtures on the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. I am involved in the development of innovative pedagogy methods and technics in order to improve transmission, acquisition, memorization and utilization of scientific knowledge by our biomedical students. I used flipped classrooms, quizzes (at home and during courses) and virtual reality to interact and immerge with students in and outside the classroom. Indeed, I developed with pedagogic engineers, 1) Home-based 45’’ Quizzes to engage students in regular learning modes and 2) serious games on cell signaling and xenobiotic stress. Together, with Etienne Blanc, Caroline Chauvet and Frédéric Dardel, I wrote several French books of biochemistry and toxicology topics for undergraduate students. I collaborate with several national and international institutes and universities (CNAM Thierry KOSCIELNIAK, Université de Strasbourg Jean-Luc SOUCIET, National University of Singapore, Fun Man FUNG...) for the development of innovative methods in teaching.
I spent 40 years teaching and researching, and developed a particular interest in education and career development. I chaired the Education Committee and was Careers advisor for the UK Biochemical Society. In these roles, and my work with students at the University of Manchester, I realised how important it is for young scientists to recognise their skills and be able to "sell" themselves to potential employers (and grant awarding bodies). I now run CV support sessions for young scientists on behalf of the FEBS Education Committee, of which I was a founder member.