The Jury

In its fourth edition, the Jury is composed of members appointed by Fundación de Investigación HM Hospitales, taking into account both their experience of accredited academic and professional prestige, as well as their international relevance for their contribution to science. These members represent and are an example of the values of ABARCA PRIZE.

The jury, composed of a variety of professional profiles (scientific, clinical and other fields) and nationalities, will guarantee that the recipient of the prize has made a significant scientific contribution to the improvement of people’s health worldwide.

Silvia G. Priori

President of the jury

Cardiologist and researcher, Dr. Priori has combined clinical practice with basic and translational research. In Italy, she works at the Department of Molecular Medicine of the University of Pavia, as well as at the ICS Maugeri Hospital.

Since 2012, Priori is the scientific director of the ICS Maugeri network, made up of 15 hospitals. She has also held several positions within scientific societies: she has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Heart Rhythm Societies (USA); member of the Board of the European Society of Cardiology;  and president of the European Heart Rhythm Society.

Dr. Priori has dedicated her clinical and research activity to understanding the molecular mechanisms that lead to hereditary arrhythmias, and since 2013 she has focused on the development of molecular therapies on these pathologies.

He has received a number of awards for his work on nuclear receptors and cancer. He has won the Rey Jaime I Prize for Basic Research (1993), the first Prize from the Francisco Cobos Foundation for Biomedical Research (2000), the Harington-De Visscher Prize from the European Thyroid Association (1999), and first prize from the Vilardell Gastroenterology Foundation (2006).

She has been a member of the jury of ‘ABARCA PRIZE’ in its two previous editions.

Prof. Priori’s position as a leading figure in the health sector is not only due to her outstanding research. As a woman scientist, she is a source of inspiration for next generation female doctors who might be considering specializing in areas such as cardiology.

Douglas A. Melton


Professor Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Howard Hughes Institute of Medicine investigator and distinguished research fellow at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, was the winner of the III Edition of the “ABARCA PRIZE” for his breakthroughs in finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. Melton is pioneering the process of converting stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells, which would make cell replacement therapy for type 1 diabetes possible.

He is currently working with his team and different pharmaceutical companies on different clinical trials, whose purpose is to advance cell therapy as a new treatment for type 1 diabetes. In fact, his studies with patients who have received pancreatic islet cells transplanted along with immunosuppressive drugs have obtained great results, with some of his patients being “cured” for several months of their type 1 diabetes.

He has conducted fundamental research to understand pancreas development and the regulation of pancreatic cells. His laboratory has been at the forefront of demonstrating how transcription factors can reprogram adult cells, converting exocrine cells into insulin-producing endocrine cells.

Philippe J. Sansonetti


Philippe J. Sansonetti is a graduate in Biology (Marie Curie University of Paris, 1992); M.D. (University of Paris Descartes, 1995); fellowship of the National Research Council of the United States (1979-1981); and completed his postdoctoral training at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Washington DC, USA).

He currently works as a professor at the Pasteur Institute and since 2008, he was elected to the Chair of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the Collège de France. He is the author of more than 500 publications in scientific journals and for several years has been editor of numerous professional publications. His prestige in the field of science has been recognized with numerous awards, including Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor and Commander of the National Order of Merit, Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine and Grand Prix de l’Inserm.

Winner of the II Edition of the “ABARCA PRIZE”, Professor Sansonetti is considered one of the founders of cell microbiology and a pioneer in scientific publications in this area, thanks to his revolutionary research on shigellosis, a disease caused by the pathogen that causes bacillary dysentery, a diarrheal disease responsible for more than 700,000 deaths annually.

Pura Muñoz-Cánoves


Degree in Pharmacy and PhD in Biological Sciences; researcher at Altos Labs at the Institute of Science in San Diego (USA); previously she was Professor of Cell Biology in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences of the Pompeu Fabra University and professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA, as well as a researcher at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) and CIBERNED. Her research on cellular aging is particularly relevant.

After her PhD in 1990, at the Autonomous University of Madrid, she did his postdoctoral work at the University of  California (San Diego).  She led his own research group in 1997 at the Institute for Cancer Research (IRO) in Barcelona and, in 2002, she joined the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona. In 2009 she joined Pompeu Fabra University as a Professor in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences.

Professor Muñoz-Cánoves has received important awards  for her research, such as the “Ciutat de Barcelona Prize for Life Sciences”,  in 2015, for her work published  in the journal Nature,  in which she identifies the mechanism involved in the irreversible aging process of muscle stem cells.

In 2019 he received the Rey Jaime I Award  for Medical  Research and the Lilly Award for Biomedical Research, and, in 2021, the Santiago Ramón y Cajal National Research Award in Biology. In all cases for her contributions to the study of the molecular mechanisms of aging and, specifically, to the progressive changes of stem cells in aged animals and the possibilities of regenerative medicine.

Sandra Myrna Díaz


Dr. Sandra Díaz is a CONICET senior researcher at the Multidisciplinary Institute of Plant Biology (IMBIV), is a tenured professor of Ecology of Communities and Ecosystems at the Faculty of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of the National University of Córdoba and visiting professor at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom).

Dr. Díaz has played a pioneering role in the conceptual and methodological development of plant functional diversity with its responses to environmental change and its effects on ecosystems, having described for the first time the global spectrum of plant form and function.

For more than a decade, she has combined this work with interdisciplinary studies on how different social factors value the positive and negative contributions of different elements of biodiversity and how, on that basis, they reconfigure biological communities and ecosystems.

She is the founding director of the Diversus Nucleus on Diversity and Sustainability and co-founder of the TRY Global Community Database on Plant Characters. She has been co-chair of the first World Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and is the author of numerous scientific articles in the field of ecology. In 2019, the journal Nature included her in its list “Nature’s 10 people who mattered in science”.

She is a member of several academies of sciences, including those of Argentina, the United States or France, the Royal Society and the American Philosophical Society. His awards include international recognitions such as the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 2007 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Margalef Prize for Ecology (2017), the Gunnerus Prize in Sustainability Sciences (2019), the Princess of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technological Research (2019) and the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation (2021).

Juan Luis Arsuaga


Juan Luis Arsuaga is a doctor in Biological Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid. At the same university he is also a Professor of Paleontology in the Faculty of Geological Sciences.

He directs the UCM-Carlos III Health Institute Joint Center for Human Evolution and Behavior. He is also a co-director of the Sierra de Atapuerca deposits, a project which won the Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research in 1997. Juan Luis Arsuaga also co-directs the excavations of the Valley of the Neanderthals (Madrid). He is a Scientific Director at the Museum of Human Evolution in Burgos as well. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and a Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Burgos, the Polytechnic of Valencia, and the University of Zaragoza.

Juan Luis Arsuaga is the sole author and collaborating author of numerous popular science books translated into many languages. These include: “The Chosen Species”, “The Neanderthal’s Necklace”, “Amalur. From the Atom to the Mind”, “Darwin’s Watch”, “The First Trip of Our Life”,”The Indelible Seal”, “Life. The Great Story”, and “Life Told by a Sapien to a Neanderthal”.

Not only his professional size, but also the passion and dedication that have marked his work, have contributed to making the dissemination of scientific discoveries accessible to the whole society.

Federico de Montalvo


Professor Federico de Montalvo is a doctor of law and aggregate associate professor of Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Law (ICADE) at Pontificia Comillas University. From 2017 to February 2021, he was the director of the Centre for Innovation in Law (CID-ICADE) in the same faculty, where he was a member of the dean team. He is currently Vice-Rector for Institutional Relations and Secretary-General of the University.

Having previously held the position of vice-president from 2013 to 2018, Professor Federico de Montalvo has been President of the Bioethics Committee of Spain since 2019.

Since 2014, the professor has been a member of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) of UNESCO. He also holds the position of Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy of Medicine and the Royal Academy of Pharmacy in Murcia. He has been a member of the Healthcare Ethics Committee of the Twelfth of October Hospital (where he currently works as an external advisor). He has also been a member of the CEIC-R of the Community of Madrid and of the CEIC of the Hospital de la Princesa.

In addition, the professor is a member of the Board of Directors at the Ibero-American Association of Health Law, at the Spanish Association of Health Risk Management, and at the Association of Health Lawyers. Besides this, he is a member of the Spanish Association of Health Law. He is also a member and researcher at the Santander Chair in the Rights of the Child at the Pontificia Comillas University.

Professor Federico de Montalvo’s strong ethical principles have always been integral to his professional work. Alongside experts from the Ministry of Health, community stakeholders, and other external bodies that work in vaccinology, public health, and public opinion, the professor is one of the authors of Spain’s national COVID-19 vaccination strategy.