The UAB awards Margarita Salas with an honorary doctorate
On Wednesday 18 April at 12 noon the auditorium (Sala d'Actes) of the Rectorat building played host to the investiture of biochemist Dr Margarita Salas, proposed for an honorary doctorate by the Faculties of Science and Biosciences. Montserrat Llagostera, Chair Professor of the Department of Genetics and Microbiology,presented the award to the UAB's latest honorary doctor.
Dr Salas was a disciple of Nobel Laureate Severo Ochoa, the person who would awaken her interest in biochemistry. After earning her PhD in Science from the Complutense University of Madrid, in which she conducted her thesis on the study of the phosphoglucose isomerase enzyme found in yeast, which intervenes in the metabolism of sugars, she went on to a post-doctoral stay at the Ochoa laboratories in the US.
Upon returning to Spain, she began a project at the CSIC Biological Research Centre on bacteriophages as a study model of molecular biology of morphogenesis, replication and transcription, a subject which marked her whole scientific career. She has dedicated 50 years to understanding the molecular biology of ɸ29. Among other achievements in this field, one of her most outstanding was the discovery and characterisation of the ɸ29 DNA polymerase, given that the amplification technologies based on this polymerase are a powerful tool in genomic studies.
Her relation with the UAB, and specifically with the Microbiology Unit, has grown over the past few years thanks to the founding of FAGOMA, a network for Spanish researchers working on bacteriophages.
Dr Salas is the author of over 400 publications, 196 of which have been published in first-quartile journals (Journal Citation Reports) with 11,354 citations and an h-index of 55. She is also the inventor of the most profitable patent existing in Spain and has directed 33 PhD theses. Dr Salas is member of the Royal Spanish Academy, the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Among other awards she has received the Santiago Ramón y Cajal National Research Award and the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X, the Wise.
The event formed part of the UAB's 50th anniversary celebrations.