A Personal Touch of Alex Garanto

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Please learn more about colleagues in our "Personal Touch" series setting employees in the spotlight. A light-hearted manner to learn about the colleagues you know and those you don't!.

This week: Alex Garanto






1. Name & Nationality
Alex Garanto, Spanish. Theme Sensory disorders.    

2. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be, literally, a "doctor of persons" or "doctor of animals".

3. What was your previous academic training, where did you study?
I studied Medical Biology at the University of Barcelona. Afterwards, I conducted my PhD at the Department of Genetics of the same university, where I investigated the functional role of a retinal dystrophy causing gene in vitro and in vivo by generating and characterizing a knock-out mouse model. After my thesis defence, I spent one year as a post-doc at the same department elucidating the expression pattern of the Sumo and Ubiquitin genes in the murine retina.

4. What is your current function and what would you like to achieve?
Since October 2012, I have been a post-doc in the Blindness Genetic Therapy Group at the Department of Human Genetics. Here, my main focus is on the development of an antisense oligonucleotide-based therapy for CEP290-associated Leber congenital amaurosis, a severe subtype of retinal degeneration. Our results have shown the therapeutic potential of these molecules in vitro and I hope soon our work serves to start a clinical trial, hopefully in 2016, in the Radboudumc. Besides that, we are also currently assessing the use of these AONs for other inherited retinal dystrophies.  

5. The RIMLS motto is 'to understand molecular mechanisms of disease'. Whatdoes this mean for you?
From the point of view of genetic therapy, understanding the molecular mechanisms that lead to disease is essential to develop a therapeutic approach. Thus, the work done in the last years within the RIMLS has enabled the identification of the basis of many diseases , elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying several of these diseases and this knowledge has facilitated in the development of potential treatments.

6. What is the biggest motivation in your work?
I have to admit that I am very lucky, because I think the biggest motivation is being able to do what you really like and enjoy, which is my case, in a very nice environment. In addition, the fact that I am working on the development of potential therapeutic interventions motivates me too and I hope that all this work may benefit patients in the near future.

7. What is your dream for the future?
Only one? … I am a big dreamer and I can dream even when awake!... But for sure, I would like to be able to continue working on what I like and of course, as I mentioned before, see that the therapies we are developing within our group can improve the quality of life of the patients suffering from retinal degeneration.

8. Fun-facts. State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with twothat are false? Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.
A: Before coming to the Netherlands I did not like beer.
B: I did once a crazy experiment of 24 consecutive hours  that did not work at all.
C: I need to take 1 hour off every day to take a "siesta".

Correct answer will be revealed to readers in the subsequent edition.


Correct answer of Jenny van der Wijst: A

A: I have a 'casual Friday' pillow on my seat
B: I perform experiments in a dark room with the door locked
C: I always have lunch outside, independent of the weather

State an interesting/obscure fact about yourself together with two that are false.

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