María Vallet Regí

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The most cited Spanish scientist in the area of materials science

María Vallet-Regí is pharmacist, born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 1946.

She is one of the world's most important scientists. She leads her own research group on smart biomaterials and nanoparticles, and is looking for new materials which will help to improve our health. For example, for reconstructing bones damaged by injury or to prevent ageing wearing down hips.

Vallet Regí produces cutting-edge research on targeted and highly accurate drug release inside the body. Her laboratory has created tiny particles that carry the necessary medication for each cancer patient, and only release it when it reaches the affected area.

When asked about the role of science in society, this brilliant scientist has a very clear answer: it does not reach the public many times through the fault of scientists. “Professionals of the world of science have taken a long time to learn to talk about our work I think that this is being remedied and that there are now very good science communicators.”

Maria does not hesitate to give her honest opinion on the situation of research in Spain: "In Spain, the Governments do not care about science. We all remember the Olympic Games of Barcelona 92. A huge investment in scholarships was made for athletes and facilities. And do you remember what we got? 13 golds, 7 silver and 2 bronze. They were unprecedented results for Spain. If a government wants something, it will achieve it”.

United States has recognized her by naming her member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences. And her research has earned one of the prestigious European Union Advanced Grants with 2.5 million euros.

She is professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Complutense University of Madrid and member of the CIBER-BBN.

«I think that as a gender we cannot complain because we now have the same opportunities than men. Maybe in my day it was different, but those times have passed. The issue is that many women choose another type of career, and that is neither good nor bad. The work of a researcher is very hard and you have to be willing to give up other things.»