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The Team

The TeamThe Team


The CRG received the "HR Excellence in Research' logo from the European Commission in 2013. It recognizes the institute's commitment in developing an HR Strategy for Researchers, including a Gender Equity Action Plan. In the same year the institute's direction established the CRG Gender Balance Committee with the mission to promote equal opportunities for men and women at the CRG and foment women's advancement in scientific career.


  • Mentoring programme for CRG postdocs (independent of gender)
  • CRG recruitment process without gender bias
  • Increased attractiveness of the CRG as an employer for female scientists
  • Increased Work-Life Balance for CRG employees


The members of the Gender Balance Committee are representative of all the areas of the institute, in order to address and taking care of the needs of the different groups of the CRG. With regular meetings every month, the Committee members are very active and truly engaged with its mission.

Name:  Mara Dierssen
Nationality: Spanish
Member since 2013
Chair since 2023
What is your role at the CRG? I lead the Cellular and Systems Neurobiology laboratory. My main current scientific interests are focused on the study of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying memory and learning and their alteration in complex diseases (polygenic and multifactorial) and in the development and application of this knowledge.
I am part of the GBC because... I believe women are still vastly underrepresented — especially in leadership positions — in academia. Whether women are just starting their science careers or have already achieved success, they have possibly faced serious obstacles. As a result, they may have experienced a lack of self-confidence or a difficult work-life balance, leading to difficult decisions.  I am convinced that the GBC will help by creating pioneering tools, inform faculty, both men and women, about biases and help achieving equal opportunities for women and diversity in science.

Name:  Isabelle Vernos
Nationality:  French / Spanish
Member since 2013
What is your role at the CRG? I am a senior PI in the Cell & Developmental Biology research program
I am part of the GBC because... I strongly believe that our society should provide equal opportunities to everybody. The numbers show that it is not the case for women in the scientific academic ladder. I have therefore been engaged into promoting gender equality in academic and non-academic science career for several years. Since 2013 I am the chair of the Gender Balance working group of the ERC and I also coordinate the EU funded project LIBRA.

Name: Juan Valcarcel 
Nationality: Spanish 
Member since: 2013 
What is your role at the CRG? Senior Group Leader at the Genome Biology research programme
I am part of the GBC because... there is a historical, collective need to address gender inequality issues in society, in science as a profession and in working conditions in general. Addressing these issues will help society as a whole (not just women) and in particular will enrich scientific research. I am part of the GBC because I would like to help to implement concrete measures that will provide women, and more specifically women scientists, with equal career opportunities.
Name:  Montserrat Ruano
Nationality: Salvadoran
Member since (year): 2023
What is your role at the CRG?  Head of People
I am part of the GBC because… I believe everyone deserves fair and equal opportunities and to work in a safe environment where everyone can reach their full potential. There is still so much to do and a long way to go to achieve these. I am part of the GBC because I know that they actively keep working on efforts to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture not only at the CRG but in society in general.
Name: Nuria Ortiz
Nationality: Spanish
Member since: July 2022
What is your role at the CRG? I am Recruiter and Developer Specialist, part of the HR Team.
I am part of the GBC because… it has a noble purpose. I want to contribute to creating a fairer society by helping women and I am honoured to work in an organisation that promotes diversity and equality in career development.
  Name: Roser Zaurin 
Nationality: Spanish 
What is your role at the CRG? 
I am part of the GBC because… 
Name: Gloria Lligadas
Nationality: Spanish
Member since: January 2019
What is your role at the CRG? I am the Head of Communications & PR. I develop and execute an institutional communications strategy that establishes and enhances CRG’s reputation as a centre of excellence in biomedical research, advanced training, innovation and public engagement. I'm responsible for the development, integration, and implementation of a broad range of public relations and communications activities in a manner consistent with institutional strategies and priorities.  
I am part of the GBC because... it is very important to work towards achieving real gender balance within our institution and within society at large. From my professional perspective, I think our department can positively contribute to the dissemination of all actions and initiatives developed regarding gender balance through all communication channels at our disposal.
Name:  David Brena
Nationality: Mexican 
Member since (year): 2023
What is your role at the CRG? Scientific Project Manager at the Strategy and Funding Team
I am part of the GBC because… As a scientific project manager with a researcher background in academia and a latinoamerican expat, I understand the importance of creating an inclusive and diverse working environment where every individual can thrive and reach their full potential. That is why I am thrilled to join the GBC at our institute. I am committed to advocating for gender equality, and I strongly believe that supporting diversity and inclusion is essential in promoting a workplace culture where everyone feels valued and has access to equal opportunities. Together, we can create a brighter future for all employees and drive positive change in our organization.
Name: Silvia Tognetti
Nationality: Italian
Member since: 2022
What is your role at the CRG? I’m a Scientific Project Manager, member of the Strategy and Funding team
I’m a part of the GBC because… diversity in science is often underestimated, and too many people think that they do not belong or struggle in the pursuit of their dream careers. I hope to see the research environment become more inclusive and equal, a place where everyone can feel welcome, represented and supported. Creating such an environment is a collective responsibility, and I look forward to contributing.
Name:  Katerina Kiourtzidou
Nationality: Greece
Member since (year): 2022
What is your role at the CRG?:  HR Assistant  
I am part of the GBC because... I believe that all people deserve the opportunity and support to advance in their careers. I admire the work of the GBC and believe that through the process of equitable actions we can achieve equality. Gender equality contributes to better and healthier societies and it´s essential in science and especially in leading positions.
Name:  Sara Sdelci
Nationality: Italian
Member since (year): 2023
What is your role at the CRG?:  Group Leader  
I am part of the GBC because... I stand for equal opportunities, gender balance, diversity, and inclusion. We can only build a better future in which this committee is no longer necessary if we actively take these principles into account in science and society. To participate in this committee is to contribute to the realization of that future.
Name:  Gabriele Picarella
Nationality: Italian
Member since (year): 2023
What is your role at the CRG?:  I'm Pre-Award Coordinator at the Strategy and Funding Team
I am part of the GBC because... I believe that by contributing with diverse backgrounds and experiences, together we can foster equal opportunities, inclusion and respect for diversity for the entire community of our institute. I’m therefore really happy to have joined the GBC. Over the years, I have witnessed the progress made by the GBC since the achievement of the "HR Excellence in Research" logo in 2013. The effort of many dedicated individuals across the centre is a great inspiration to all those that advocate a fair and inclusive environment in science and in society.
Name:  Carlo Carolis
Nationality: Italian
Member since (year): 2023
What is your role at the CRG?  I am the head of the Protein Technologies Unit that offers scientific services in the field of molecular biology, protein production, purification and biophysical characterization technologies to the CRG/PRBB researchers, external institutions and private companies.
I am part of the GBC because… I would like to give my contribution to build a workforce diversity, creating equality in our systems and advancing a culture of inclusion. We have a responsibility to challenge injustice in our work environment, and to reconsider our policies and our actions.
Name:  Khashayar Baghizadeh
Nationality: Iranian
Member since (year): 2022
What is your role at the CRG? PhD Student
I am part of the GBC because… I strongly believe in fostering diversity and inclusivity within the scientific community. As a PhD student at CRG, I recognize the importance of creating an environment where individuals from diverse backgrounds, including different genders, feel valued and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and skills. Being a member of the gender balance committee allows me to actively work towards promoting gender equality in the field of research.