My name is Alvaro Sebastian and I work as a bioinformatician for AgenTus Therapeutics.
My current research is focused in the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies to characterize and optimize artificially engineered T-cell receptors (TCRs) and antibodies to develop new and more effective cancer therapies.
My academic background started with the completion of three Master’s degrees in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics. I carried out the Bioinformatics Master project in Crystax Pharmaceuticals (now Oryzon Genomics) designing and implementing a QSAR annotated compounds library for virtual screening purposes (year 2006, under the supervision of Dr. Xavier Barril and Dr. Modesto Orozco).
I received my Ph.D. in 2010 working on wet-lab isolation and characterization of the acute phase human protein ITIH4 (under the direction of Dra. M.A. Alava and Dra. María Iturralde, Laboratory of Apoptosis, Immunity and Cancer, University of Zaragoza, Spain). During my PhD studies I also started an entrepreneurial venture launching an IT company (Idibay Consulting S.L.).
In 2009, few months before my Ph.D. defense, I started as a postdoctoral fellow at the Computational Biology laboratory (EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain). Under the supervision of the Dr. Bruno Contreras, I worked for a European project seeking to discover novel regulatory motifs and transcription factors in plants using structural and genomic knowledge.
In 2013 I moved to Poland for an internship at the laboratory of Structural Biology (Prof. Janusz M. Bujnicki, AMU Poznan, Poland) working on a statistical knowledge-based potential for protein-protein docking. Next years I worked as part-time teacher and post-doc researcher at the Evolutionary Biology Group (Prof. Jacek Radwan, AMU Poznan, Poland) studying the variability of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and T-cell receptor (TCR) genes in non-model species.
My short scientific career is characterized by a continual moving among different areas and techniques, from asymmetric organic chemistry synthesis, protein isolation and gene cloning, to the bioinformatics analysis of interactions between DNA-protein structures or big data from high-throughput DNA sequencing.
One of my big passions is the popularization of science, through conducting training workshops and, in the past, as a laboratory teacher at my High School and University.
My latest scientific adventure, and maybe the riskiest, has been to coordinate and edit the most complete book about Bioinformatics in the Spanish language, “Bioinformática con Ñ” (preliminary version available in pdf).