Julià Blanco (PhD in Biochemistry, University of Barcelona (UB), 1994) leads the Cell Virology and Immunology (VIC) group at IrsiCaixa. He has extensively studied the role of the HIV envelope glycoprotein (Env) in virus-cell or cell-to-cell interactions and HIV cytopathicity in a translational environment. In vivo, he has explored the mechanisms involved in CD4 T-cell depletion, analysing the contribution of virological and immunological factors that modulate CD4 and B-cell survival. In parallel, his team has developed experimental models for the analysis of cell-to-cell HIV transmission and Env-induced cell death. Knowledge generated regarding the Env function has also proved useful in analysing anti-Env drug and anti-Env antibody mechanisms of action and in contributing to a better understanding of antibody protection from HIV acquisition and spread.
Dr. Blanco recently co-founded AlbaJuna Therapeutics SL as an IrsiCaixa spin-off whose main activity is the development of synthetic antibodies against HIV.