Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
Dolores Bueno López works at Nanomol group which is part of ICMAB-CSIC and CIBER-BBN.
Using compressed fluids they work with nanocapsules made of lipids that can encapsulate proteins, trying to help in some rare diseases like Fabry disease and Sanfilippo syndrome.
Both diseases are associated with a metabolic disorder, causing the storage of certain metabolites in the body. You can have a look at their last paper in the matter of Fabry disease HERE.
Modern medicine saves millions of lives around the world every year. But not all diseases get the same attention from medical research. There are some rare diseases which are not investigated properly, and the reason for this is a lack of resources. Nevertheless, there are still researchers who are passionate about their work. Dolores Bueno Lopez is one of them.
Dolores: My name is Dolores Bueno López; I am doing my PhD thesis in science material at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Nerina: What is the topic of your dissertation?
Dolores: The topic of my dissertation is: we’re studying capsules – liposomes, which are made of lipidic materials and we try to encapsulate different proteins or molecules in order to treat some diseases.
Nerina: What is the purpose of your dissertation?
Dolores: The purpose of my dissertation is to study the chemical and physical properties of our liposomes because we are changing little things like the composition of the ratio between the components. We are also changing the final properties of our Nano carriers and the nanomedicine. My topic is not nanomedicine but science material; in the end we want the application to be in nanomedicine but we are studying the properties at a very basic level.
We want to reduce the doses, to reduce the side effects of the treatment and to functionalize the superficiality of our Nano drug in order for it to go to the target specifically. We are studying the chemical and physical properties of these capsules but our aim is that it can be used in rare diseases for nanomedicine.
Nerina: What kind of diseases are we speaking about?
Dolores: They are rare diseases so they have a low incidence in the population. They don’t have a lot of resources to investigate such diseases so I am proud and happy that in my group we are dedicated to investigating that. Those diseases that I speak of, Fabry disease and Sanfilippo syndrome are both about the lack of an enzyme, a protein inside our cells that is in charge of degrading some metabolites that are a waste of the cell. If this protein lacks, these residues and metabolites start accumulating in the cells causing several symptoms thus leading to these diseases.
Nerina: Why is it that difficult to find a treatment or to put this enzyme into the patient? What is the challenge?
Dolores: The challenge is to avoid the degradation of the enzyme and to really focus the treatment in the zones in the body that have to make the action.
Nerina: Why did you want to become a researcher?
Dolores: Well, I think that when I was little, when I was a teenager, I was impacted by some diseases like Alzheimer’s that existed in my home. My great grandmother had it, and also my grandmother now has this disease, so it impacts me how a person can lose all her memories and become a child, kind of. I feel that science can change that and science is the solution to improve the life of people that are suffering. So, I think that that influences my way of thinking.
Nerina: Why are you so passionate about science? What is so fascinating for you?
Dolores: That it can really explain the world we live in and give us answers and also that with these answers we can change the world because we can apply these answers to create technology. I really hope that science will make us better humans.
Nerina: In what way?
Dolores: In a way that we are going to have more knowledge and I expect that this makes us really wise so that we can avoid wars and all this kind of things because we are at a higher level. This is a very long futuristic hope but I would like to see that science can really change our lives for better. Not only in curing illnesses but also in making us better people.
Nerina: What would you like to change in science?
Dolores: Well, I have a kind of romantic way of thinking about science. I think that science is an accumulative knowledge that we all make so there should be an open source and free access for all the people in the world.
Nerina: What do you like doing when you are not working on research?
Dolores: I really like speaking about my research but speaking in a way that my mother or my grandmother can understand what I am talking about. Because I really like my job, I want people to understand the joy and the passion I have for what I am doing. So in my spare time I have a blog or I collaborate in different blogs or platforms.
Nerina: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Dolores: I would love to see myself in Africa working maybe in a small lab; but working in soil chemistry in order to improve agriculture in this zone, that’s my dream.
Nerina: Thank you very much, Dolores.
Dolores: Thank you. I liked this conversation a lot.