What brought you into research?
It was in my last year at high school. Somehow a book titled “Advice for Young Investigators” from Ramon y Cajal got to my hands. Cajal, Nobel laureate in 1906 and considered the founder of modern neuroscience, wrote this book for students trying to promote their enthusiasm for research. Cajal’s conviction that every great discovery is the result of great passion working towards a great idea drove my motivation for biomedical research.
Joaquin Ortega is presently a Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. He started his scientific career in the laboratories of Dr. Juan Ortin Dr. Jose L. Carrascosa at the National Biotechnology Centre in Madrid as a National Research Council predoctoral fellow. He received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1999 for his studies in the ultrastructure of influenza virus ribonucleoproteins. After his graduation, he took into a four-year postdoctoral training in structural biology with Dr. Alasdair Steven, a recognized world leader in cryo-electron microscopy, and Dr. Michael Maurizi, a pioneer in the area of bacterial proteolysis. In their laboratories at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda (Maryland, USA), Joaquin worked with fellowships from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education first and as a Fogarty fellow later on the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of bacterial proteases using structural approaches. He received the NIH Fellows Award for Excellent for this work in 2003.
Joaquin joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences on July 2003. In 2017, Joaquin moved his laboratory to McGill. Today, in addition to working with his research team, he is also the Research Director of the Facility for Electron Microscopy Research (FEMR). He received a CIHR New Investigator award in 2005 and an Early Researcher Award in 2006.