Guillermina López-Bendito receives the Rei Jaume I Prize in Medical Research 2023

29 de November de 2023


The researcher at the Institute of Neurosciences (IN) Guillermina López-Bendito received the medal that accredits her as the winner of the Rei Jaume I Prize (PRJI) in Medical Research 2023 from His Majesty King Felipe VI in the solemn award ceremony, which was held yesterday in the Lonja de los Mercaderes building in the city of Valencia. The jury decided last June to award her this prize for her study of the processes that underlie the formation of neuronal connections, where she demonstrates that they are essential for normal brain function.

During the ceremony, the Spanish monarch insisted on the need to "promote scientific and business vocations among teenagers". The mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá, the president of the Valencian Fundación Premios Rei Jaume I, Vicente Boluda, and the president of the Generalitat, Carlos Mazón, participated in the event. Representing the winners of this edition, Alfonso Jiménez Rodríguez-Vila, PRJI for Entrepreneurship, spoke, highlighting that all the winners share a strong vocation to motivate young people and researchers.

The Rei Jaume I Awards are endowed with 100,000 euros and the winners commit to invest part of the amount in research and entrepreneurship in Spain. This award recognizes people whose work is highly significant and has been carried out for the most part in Spain. Thus, the jury of the 35th edition, made up of 21 Nobel Prize winners, among other experts, highlighted that López-Bendito's work "has shed light on the complex interactions between the sensory signals that neurons receive and the molecules that are released and the role of spontaneous brain activity in forming cortical maps".

The scientist leads the Development, Plasticity and Reprogramming of Sensory Circuits laboratory at the Institute for Neurosciences, a joint center of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Miguel Hernandez University (UMH) of Elche, and her research aims to repair defective neuronal connections in patients with sensory defects such as blindness, as a long-term goal.

The winners of the 35th edition of the Rei Jaume I Awards, Antonio Echavarren Pablos (Basic Research), Olympia Bover Hidiroglu (Economy), Guillermina López-Bendito (Medical Research), Carlota Escutia Dotti (Environmental Protection), Daniel Maspoch Comamala (New Technologies) and Alfonso Jiménez Rodríguez-Vila (Entrepreneur), together with King Felipe VI.

López-Bendito has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the UMH. She is a research professor at the CSIC and at the IN, in addition to her laboratory, she directs the Department of Developmental Neurobiology and the Scientific Program Building & Adapting Circuits into Functional Networks. The researcher studies the formation and plasticity of brain circuits during embryonic and postnatal development. Her work has a deep impact on the way we understand how defects in the assembly of neural networks lead to adaptive plasticity and/or neurological disorders.

She is a scientist at the forefront of her field, as attested by the international resonance of her results and the unique implementation of new technologies, which has resulted not only in publications but also in invitations to join societies, evaluation committees, editorial boards, as well as in the organization of conferences, and giving talks at international forums and universities.

The Rei Jaume I awards have the institutional support of the Generalitat Valenciana and a wide list of collaborators, including the Iberdrola Spain Foundation in Environmental Protection, the Valencia City Council in New Technologies, AirLiquide Healthcare and CaixaBank in Research Médica, Mercadona, Edem and AVE in the Entrepreneur award.

In addition, entities such as the Port Authority of Valencia, Boluda Corporación Marítima, Council of Chambers of the Valencian Community, Fundación Banco Santander, Pavasal, RNB, SPB, Grupo Vectalia, CEV, Diputación de València, Logifruit, Fundación Torrecid, BP, Empresas del Sol, Alicante Provincial Council, Segura-Balpa Group, also collaborate in the awards.

More information video YouTube:

(Press release in the attached file pdf)

Source: Premios Rei Jaume I / Instituto de Neurociencias UMH-CSIC (