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Sonia Villanueva

Sonia Villanueva Hernández

Postdoctoral researcher

With a strong interest in biological sciences, Sonia Villanueva-Hernández pursued her studies in Biology followed by a master’s degree in Advanced Microbiology. In late 2017, she continued her academic education at the Veterinary Medicine University of Vienna, Austria, where she earned a PhD in Immunology. Her research focused on the porcine immune system, with a particular emphasis on porcine plasma cells and T follicular helper cells, leading to her graduation in 2023. During her academic journey, she joined The Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom as a research scientist, where she investigated the dynamics of plasma cells in pigs experimentally infected or vaccinated for Influenza and porcine coronavirus respiratory virus.

Her profound interest in immune system dynamics led her to join the group of T-cell immunology and vaccines led by Christian Brander at IrsiCaixa as a postdoctoral researcher. In this role she applies her extensive knowledge of the immune system to study pathogen-specific T-cell responses in people living with HIV during the progression of the disease and during co-infection. Additionally, she will be involved in the EPIVINF project (funded by the European Comission) and EPIVIRCO project (supported by LaCaixa). These projects aim to identify epigenetic regulators in HIV and SARS-CoV-2 infections that are linked to neurocognitive disorders associated with the viruses and their relation to HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) and long COVID.

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