Concurrent Speaker :
Alejandro Ferrer, PhD

Research Associate
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Alejandro Ferrer, PhD is currently a research associate in the Center for Individualized Medicine (CIM) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His career started at the Center for Applied Medical Research in Pamplona, Spain where he obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology. His thesis work focused on the role of SLC4A2 in the etiopathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune disease characterized by the development of antimitochondrial autoantibodies (AMA). This research described the immune phenotype of SLC4A2-knockout mice and confirmed that it mimics many of the features seen in humans, including the distinctive development of AMA. This research was funded by an individual grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, and was granted with the best young investigator poster presentation award at the European Association for the Study of the Liver 2012 Annual Meeting. After this, Dr. Ferrer accepted a position as a research fellow in the Immunology department at Mayo Clinic where he expanded his knowledge on the immune system by studying the activation of T cells through the TCR complex and the role of this mechanism on thymic development. Throughout this period, he was impressed by the work environment and values present at Mayo Clinic and in particular the continued focus on putting the needs of the patient first. This made him very interested in clinical research and encouraged him to find ways to use his skills to directly help patients. Dr. Ferrer found a position with these characteristics in the Center for Individualized Medicine, where he joined the Translational Genomic Program after becoming a Research Associate. For the last year, he has utilized his background in both molecular biology and immunology to analyze next generation sequencing data from patients with rare and undiagnosed diseases, taking special interest in inherited bone marrow failure syndromes. Dr. Ferrer uses state-of-the-art technology and any available resources with the sole purpose of diagnosing patients in a diagnostic odyssey and finding treatments for their afflictions. His goal is to pursue a long-term career in precision medicine because he believes this field contains the perfect equilibrium between basic and applied research and where his efforts result in improvement of patients’ lives.


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