Gaetano A Morello, ND. Sole Director
Dr. Morello is an accomplished clinician with direct, first-hand experience in the clinical and medical application of cannabinoids. Dr. Morello has practiced at the Complex Chronic Disease Program (CCDP) at Woman’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada since 2013 and is also a study investigator at the CCDP Clinical Cannabis Trial. He has also served on the Quality Assurance Committee for the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia since 2010 as well as other health and medical panels. He has authored or co-authored numerous scientific publications and books. He has made more than 500 medical presentations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Italy in the last decade. Dr. Morello has a BSc in Cell Biology/ Nutrition from the University of British Columbia and a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University (USA).
Eduardo Muñoz, MD, PhD. co-Founder and Scientific Advisor
Dr. Muñoz is a Professor of Immunology in the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the University of Córdoba (Spain) and Director of the Inflammation and Cancer Research Group at the Institute Maimonides for Biomedical Research of Córdoba. Dr. Muñoz has more than 35 years of experience in biomedical research and is the author of almost 300 articles, patents, and book chapters (h-Index 60). He is an expert in the mechanism of actions of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids as well as the development of cannabinoid-based new chemical entities. Dr. Muñoz belongs to the editorial board of several scientific journals and is a co-founder of two biotech companies, VivaCell Biotechnology España (Spain), and InnoHealth Group (now part of Evonik Industries AG). He received a PhD in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Córdoba and was an associate researcher at Tufts University in Boston, and at the Institute Pasteur in Paris.
Ana Belén Hidalgo. General Manager
Ana B. Hidalgo initiated her career in biomedical research in 2005, and she is co-author of several publications in peer-reviewed journal. She joined VivaCell in 2010 as a Financial and Administrative Assistant performing tasks of Administrative Management and R&D Management, highlighting his extensive knowledge in justification of R&D projects granted by Public Organisms, his training is complemented with courses in Project Management, Management of SMEs, Accounting Management and Financial Economic Analysis among others. In 2021, she was promoted to the position of Manager considering the experience acquired both in the scientific and in the administrative part within the company.
Valeriano Díaz. Head of Operations
Valeriano Díaz, MSc, is an organic chemist with more than 10 years of experience in the Pharma-Biotech industry at an international level, with a broad experience in Drug Discovery, CMC operational management, Quality Assurance, and regulatory filings. Well versed in international regulatory guidelines and cGMP manufacturing for active pharmaceutical ingredients and drug products. He has extensive background in strategizing and budgeting for drug development programs and holds a successful track record of advancing multiple drug candidates from preclinical development to late-stage clinical phases.
Mar Municio, PhD. Clinical Director, consultant
Dr. Municio is graduated in Biology and Doctor in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University Autónoma of Madrid (Spain). She has nearly 25 years of experience in the Pharma-Biotech industry at an international level, for new drug developments with extensive experience in Clinical trial design and execution in different therapeutic areas, Quality Assurance (preclinical and clinical stage) and Regulatory submissions (CTA, Orphan drugs, Scientific advice) to European and North American institutions (EC and IRBs) and agencies (EMA and FDA). She is also participating in different Pharma Schools Master’s Degree teaching activities.
Juan Antonio Collado. Director of the screening area
Juan A. Collado has around 20 years of experience in biomedical research and Integrated Quality Management Systems. He is co-author of more than 30 publications, patents and is a co-founder of InnnoHealth Group (now part of Evonik Industries AG). He joined the company in 2010 and has generated a large number of genetically modified cell lines for the study of bioactive compounds. In addition, he has established different cell-based screening platforms that have served to identify small molecules that are being developed as a drug candidates.
Rosario Molina. co-Founder and Commercial Director
Rosario Molina was co-founder of VivaCell in 2001 and since the beginning she was responsible for the commercial activities of the company as a Contract Research Organization (CRO). As a CRO, the company have provided R&D services to third parties mainly in EU and USA with more than 100 contracts executed.
María Eugenia Prados, PhD. Project Manager
Dr. Prados is graduated in Biology and Doctor in Biomedicine from the University of Cordoba (Spain). In 2016, she joined VivaCell Biotechnology Spain and since then, she has participated in various projects granted to the company related to triterpenoid compounds and cannabinoid derivatives. She has participated as researcher in international and national projects and, due. Her scientific work has derived in several publications in high impact factor journals in the areas of Immunology and Pharmacology. Currently, her scientific-technical interests are focused on the development of drugs in the preclinical phase for the treatment of various diseases, whose research is currently being carried out in the company.
Francisco Ruiz, PhD. Project Manager
Dr Ruiz Pino is Torres Quevedo Postdoctoral Research Fellow. He has co-authored 48 publications in high-impact international journals in the areas of Endocrinology & Metabolism and his work has been presented at different national and international congresses. His research activity has also been recognized by obtaining two prestigious awards: (i) "Endocrinology Student Award for an Outstanding Publication", awarded by the American Society of Endocrinology; and the (ii) “Enrique Aguilar Benítez de Lugo Award” to the publication of the Maimónides Institute for Biomedical Research of Córdoba (IMIBIC) of greatest scientific relevance. Dr Ruiz Pino earned his PhD in Biomedicine at the University of Cordoba.
Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
Eduardo Muñoz, MD, PhD. co-Founder and Scientific Advisor
Prof. Giovanni Appendino, PhD
Dr. Appendino is an Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Università del Piemonte Orientale, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Novara (Italy), since 2022. Research activity in his laboratories takes inspiration from plant natural products to address problems in various realms of biomedical investigation, from pharmacology and nutrition (new drug leads and health-promoting dietary ingredients) to organic/medicinal chemistry (new synthetic methodologies and optimization of natural product drug leads) and cell biology (novel mechanisms of action). Author of over 350 peer-reviewed articles and 15 book chapters on the chemistry and bioactivity of plant natural products. Editor-in-Chief of the journal Fitoterapia and member of the Advisory Board of the PharmaNutrition, Natural Products Reports, Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, and Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products. Recipient of the Rhône-Poulenc Rorer Award of the Phytochemical Society of Europe (1991), the Medaglia Quilico of the Società Chimica Italiana (2009) and the Bruker Prize of the Phytochemical Society of Europe in 2014 for his studies on bioactive natural products.
Rao Movva, PhD
Dr. Movva brings broad experience from the biotech and large pharmaceutical industry, having worked since the very early years of biotechnology at Biogen and at Novartis as Executive Director. Dr. Movva and his collaborators have uncovered the mechanism of action of many natural compounds to advance them as leads for drug discovery. Dr. Movva was recognized in 2012 as a Novartis Distinguished Scientist for his significant contributions to drug discovery. Dr. Movva had initiated and pioneered the chemical biology efforts that led to the discovery and the understanding of the biological targets of rapamycin, the TOR pathways, in collaboration with Drs. Joseph Heitman and Mike Hall at Biozentrum, Basel. This significant milestone led to advancing the currently marketed drugs and highlighted novel therapeutic opportunities that are actively pursued by many biotech companies. Dr. Movva received his PhD in Molecular Biology from SUNY at Stony Brook, New York.
Laureano de la Vega, PhD
Dr. Laureano de la Vega is Lecturer of Cellular Medicine at the University of Dundee, School of Medicine, Dundee (Scotland, UK), since 2013. He currently teaches on the MRes Cancer Biology Course as a module lead, and on the BSc (Hons) level 3 Molecular Biology module and as a Journal Club leader. He started his scientific career at the University of Cordoba investigating the molecular mechanisms regulating HIV latency. Following this, he moved to Giessen (Germany) to join the team of Prof. Lienhard Schmitz as a postdoctoral researcher from 2007 to 2013. During that time, his research was focused on post-translational modifications of HIPK2, an important regulator of cell growth, cell death and differentiation. In 2013 he moved to Dundee where he started his own group focused on the regulation of stress response pathways in cancer. Dr. Laureano de la Vega earned his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cordoba.
The scientific team of Vivacell comprises a group of young scientists (PhDs and technologists) with a solid training and a proven experience in the fields of Immunopharmacology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry of Natural Products, Chemistry, Pharmacology, Inflammation, Cancer.