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Marina Perez Cerezuela

BSc, MSc

DPhil Student

My current research within the Gene Medicine Group aims to develop new lentiviral vectors through directed evolution to create more targeted therapies. My research is funded by a studentship from the Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Oxford Biomedica (OXB).

Lentiviral vector-based therapies have the potential to provide life-long cures for patients. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Kymriah to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia has highlighted this potential.

The most widely-used lentiviral envelope protein utilises the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Glycoprotein (VSVG) which enters cells through the LDL family of receptors, present throughout the body. However, these receptors are not always available on clinically relevant cells and organs and so new vectors are required.

My project aims to evolve lentiviral vectors to create more efficient therapies for patients. More efficient vectors could potentially reduce the dose needed to treat patients, reducing not only the manufacturing burden and cost, but also increasing safety and opening the possibility for in-vivo gene delivery of lentiviral vectors.

I hold a BSc in Biotechnology and a MSc in Medical Genetics. Prior to starting to read for my DPhil, I was a Research Assistant within the Gene Medicine Group.

I have also worked as an Associate Scientist at Oxford Genetics (OXGENE) within the lentiviral vector group. During this time, I established a high-throughput lentiviral production platform combining cell culture techniques and robotics to sustain the growing market demand for these breakthrough therapeutics

I am currently serving as the president of the Oxford Society of Ageing and Longevity. I am deeply passionate about the future of longevity science, particularly the potential of gene therapies in extending healthspan. Through targeted gene therapies, we could ensure a future where age-related diseases are a thing of the past.