My name is Alvaro Sebastian and I work as a Bioinformatics Consultant. Previously I worked for Agenus and AgenTus Therapeutics.
My current research is mainly focused in the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies to characterize and optimize artificially engineered T-cell receptors (TCRs), chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies to develop novel 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 in 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 consultancy 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 an European project in the discovery of novel regulatory motifs and transcription factors in plants using structural and genomic bioinformatic approaches.
In 2013 I moved to Poland for an internship at the laboratory of Structural Biology (Prof. Janusz M. Bujnicki, Poland) working on a statistical knowledge-based potential for protein-protein docking. Following years I was a part-time teacher and post-doc researcher at the Evolutionary Biology Group (Prof. Jacek Radwan, AMU Poznan) studying the evolution and variability of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and the T-cell receptor (TCR) genes in non-model species.
My short scientific career is characterized by a continual moving among different areas and techniques. Starting my research career in the field of asymmetric organic chemistry synthesis, following molecular biology: protein isolation and gene cloning. To finish into the bioinformatics field: 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 at University.
My craziest scientific adventure was to coordinate and edit the most complete book about Bioinformatics in the Spanish language, “Bioinformática con Ñ” (online version available in pdf).