Last Friday, the Ministry of Science and Innovation annunced that Sílvia Osuna, ICREA research professor at the Institute of Computational Chemistry and Catalysis (IQCC) of the University of Girona (UdG), received the National Research Award for Young Investigators ‘María Teresa Toral’ 2023, in the area of Science and Chemical Technologies, for her outstanding scientific career on the design of new enzymes of industrial insterest using computational chemistry tools.
These awards value scientists who, with their work, contribute to the advancement of science and, therefore, to a better life for all of society. They are endowed with 30,000 euros for each modality, and distinguish people who stand out for their career and international relevance in their respective research areas. They also recognize the merit of young investigators with a maximum age of 40 who have reached important milestones in the early stages of their careers. This is the case of Sílvia Osuna, she was born in Castelló d’Empúries in 1983.
The 185 nominations accepted for the National Research Awards for Young Investigators, 97 have been from men and 88 from women. The average age of the winners is 37 years.
Impact and high international recognition
The jury has awarded the National Research Award for Young Investigator ‘María Teresa Toral’ 2023 to Prof. Sílvia Osuna for her “excellent scientific career, her impact and high international recognition and for her curriculum, having obtained competitive projects from highest level”. The jury has highlighted her new and original contributions in the development of new computational protocols for the design of new enzymes, which have a great potential for transfer to the productive tissue.
Osuna received her doctorate in 2010 from the University of Girona (UdG) at the Computational Chemistry Institute (IQC) under supervision of Prof. Miquel Solà and Prof. Marcel Swart. In 2010, she moved to the group of Prof. Houk at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a Marie Curie European Postdoctoral Fellowship. Since then, she has worked on the computational design of enzymes of medical and pharmaceutical interest. Osuna has more than 90 scientific publications, and has recently been awarded the 2021 Marcial Moreno-Mañas Award, 2021 Lecture Award of the European Chemical Society (EuChemS), the 2019 Catalonian National Research Award for Young Talent (Fundació Catalana de Recerca i Innovació), and the 2016 Research Award by Fundació Princesa de Girona (FPdGi), among others. In 2015, she obtained a €1.5M project from the ERC as part of the Starting Grant call to start her independent research career at the University of Girona. Her group is currently financed by an ERC Consolidator Grant with 2M€, ERC Proof of Concept project (awarded this January with the main objective of establishing a start-up based in Girona), two projects of the Ministry of Science and Innovation (one of which is also a proof of concept) an international project within the Human Frontier Science Program. Her research group is consolidated by the Generalitat de Catalunya (SGR-Cat 2021)..