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Francesc Cunyat Viaplana

Senior research scientist

Francesc graduated in 2008 in Biotechnology and Biochemistry from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He pursued a Master's in Biomedical Research (BIOMED) in 2019 at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and then joined the IrsiCaixa Institute to pursue a PhD in Immunology under the supervision of Dr. Cecília Cabrera (2008-2012). His doctoral studies allowed him to identify the causes of the low cytopathogenicity found in certain strains of HIV resistant to an antiretroviral drug. These results explained the observed clinical discrepancy between viral load and CD4 lymphocyte count in patients infected with these viral strains.

Subsequently, he carried out a postdoctoral stay in the research group of Dr. Mario Stevenson at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine (2012-2016). His postdoctoral projects focused on investigating the role of macrophages in the viral reservoir of chronically HIV-infected patients treated with antiretrovirals. To do this, he participated in clinical trials analyzing lung samples and liver biopsies and collaborated with the pharmaceutical industry to determine if certain oncological drugs could be used as eradication therapy for this reservoir.

In 2016, he joined Albajuna Therapeutics as a lead scientist, a spin-off of IrsiCaixa, to develop a therapeutic vaccine against HIV based on Fc fusion proteins. During this period, he was involved in molecule selection, development, establishing processes for bioanalysis, and designing and analyzing preclinical studies to test it.

Recently, in 2023, he joined Dr. Julià Blanco's Virology and Cellular Immunology Group (VIC) at IrsiCaixa as an associate researcher.

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