Alba Fernández-Sanlés is a mid-career postdoctoral researcher in Population Health Sciences at the MRC unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at the University College London. She is part of the cohort HB8 of the international Homeward Bound project, which aims at building a network of 10,000 women with a STEMM background leading actions towards a sustainable world and future. Her research curiosity and career aim to understand molecular mechanisms linking lifestyle and external factors to health outcomes to ultimately manage multimorbidity and frailty. She is driven by collaborative and inclusive research based on diverse and representative data and cross-sector multidisciplinary frameworks. In all facets, she cares about society, animals and our planet.
She is a Molecular Biologist (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain) with a PhD in Biomedicine from the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain), for which she researched in Cardiovascular Epigenomics at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (Barcelona, Spain). Although she loves Barcelona and that workplace, she moved to the UK attracted by its rich history in Epidemiology and its vast range of sources of omics and longitudinal data. Her first projects in the UK, at the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, started when the first COVID-19 lockdown was declared. In early 2023, she joined the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL and moved to thriving London.
During her BSc, she co-organised the cinema series “Science and Fiction” with invited Professors commenting on the scientific plausibility of the screened films, but it wasn’t until 2017 when she engaged in scientific outreach activities more frequently and actively. She has also organised a range of work events and meetings, volunteered for actions promoting a healthy and positive work environment and founded and led The IEUbakers at the University of Bristol inspired by The Incubakers from the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, where she was an active volunteer. She also has an interest in changing toxic social norms and in engaging new generations into their dream careers and positive work cultures (for instance, she volunteers as a mentor in the NGO Babbasa).
She loves nature, traveling (as sustainably as possible), the outdoors, discovering independent business, plant-based cooking (and eating), writing, getting crafty, collecting memories, cinema, theatre, cultural events, languages and learning or trying new things. She used to have dog siblings and now she is a cat mum of two rescued cats. Her biggest individual fear is not being able to recall memories, and the collective one is about the consequences of individualism and capitalism. Her prejudices are against senior researchers not using “PhD candidate” and using “trainee” (aren’t we all learning?) and against professionals using “soft skills” (why so many are so bad at them if they are so soft?).