ESRF appoints two new Directors of Research


Gema Martínez-Criado and Annalisa Pastore have been appointed new ESRF directors of research. Martínez-Criado will cover Condensed Matter and Physical and Material Sciences and Pastore Life Sciences, Chemistry and Soft Matter Science.

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In its statement, the ESRF Council « unanimously approved the appointments, for a five-year period starting on 01 January 2022, of Dr Gema Martínez Criado, from the Spanish Research Council's Materials Science Institute of Madrid, as Director of Research for Condensed Matter and Physical and Material Sciences, and of Professor Annalisa Pastore, from King's College London University, as Director of Research for Life Sciences, Chemistry and Soft Matter Science. » The ESRF Council also « acknowledged the fact that both of these positions were being filled by female candidates of high calibre and expressed the full trust of the Council to continue to lead, in the coming year, the efforts required to fully capitalise on the world leading performances of the EBS storage ring and suite of beamlines.”

Gema Martinez-Criado previously worked as senior scientist at the Materials Science Institute of Madrid (ICMM) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The research of Gema Martinez-Criado explores fundamental and application-oriented aspects of condensed matter using hard X-ray micro and nanobeams, including recent projects such as "New paradigms in wide gap functional nano-oxide: in-situ characterization and correlative microscopy", "Spatio-temporal dynamics of X-ray induced optical luminescence in functional nanomaterials" and "Quantum semiconductor technologies exploiting Antimony".  She has more than 100 publications to her name as well as several book chapters and reviews.

In 2000, Gema won the EMRS Young Researcher Award. After studying physics in Havana, Cuba, she obtained, in 2002, a doctorate under the supervision of Martin Stutzmann (Walter Schottky Institute, Technical University of Munich) and Andres Cantarero (Physics Department, University of Valencia). From 2002-2005 she worked as post-doctoral researcher on hard X-ray microscopy at the ESRF and was subsequently appointed to the position of  second scientist at the ESRF hard X-ray microprobe beamline ID22. In 2009, she was named ESRF permanent scientist in charge of the beamline ID22. As part of the ESRF Upgrade Programme Phase I, from 2009 to 2014, she was involved in the design and construction of the hard X-ray Nanoprobe ID16B for X-ray nanoanalysis as scientist in charge of the beamline. In 2016, Gema moved to the ICMM-CSIC as senior scientist.

Annalisa Pastore previously held the position of full professor at King's College London (KCL). She is a researcher in structural and molecular biology, specialized in muscle proteins and proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases. She holds more than 30 years’ experience in protein structure determination and structure/function relationship. After studying for, and obtaining, a PhD at University Federico II in Naples, she worked in several prestigious laboratories. These include ETH, Zurich in the group of the Nobel laureate Richard R. Ernst, the Biochemistry department at University of Wisconsin in the group of Professor William A. Gibson, and the Biochemistry department at University of Oxford in the group of Professor Iain D. Campbell. She then moved to EMBL in Heidelberg, first as a staff scientist in the group of Prof. Arthur M. Lesk, one of the fathers of bioinformatics and then as the first group leader in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in this laboratory. In 1997, she moved to the Medical Research Council in Mill Hill, London, until 2013 when she moved to King's College London. 

She makes use of an integrated biology multidisciplinary approach that combines protein engineering, biophysics, structural, bioinformatics and computational methods. She has published more than 270 primary papers and 50 reviews. She is EMBO member and member of Academia Europaea. Her recent interests cover RNA binding proteins, liquid-liquid phase separation and protein stability, with the aim to advance the current knowledge of fundamental molecular mechanisms.

Top image: ESRF welcomes its two new Directors of Research.