Meet IMDEA Materials Institute Research Initiation Fellow María Fernández Melero

Each year, IMDEA Materials Institute offers three-month Research Initiation Fellowships, or Summer Scholarships, to final year master’s and undergraduate students studying courses related to engineering and materials science. Today, we’re getting to know one of this year’s fellows, María Fernández Melero.

Question: First of all, María, can you please introduce yourself?

Reply: Of course. My name is María Fernández Melero and I’m from Badajoz. I have a degree in Industrial Design and Product Development Engineering from the University of Extremadura, and I’ve just completed a master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, with a specialisation in Biomechanics and Advanced Biomaterials at the University of Zaragoza.

Question: Where does your interest in biomechanics and biomaterials come from?

Reply: During my undergraduate studies, I was drawn to materials science and engineering. After deciding to focus my postgraduate studies in the field of biomedical engineering, with a special interest in biomaterials, I was able to delve into the world of Organ-on-Chip (OoC) devices through a scholarship that allowed me to work on the development of new materials applied to these devices. This experience sparked a great interest in me for this topic.

Question: How and why did you choose to do a Research Internship Fellowship (RIF) at the IMDEA Materials Institute?

Reply: I was following the work carried out at the Institute, and I saw a RIF opportunity in the Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine group led by Dr. Jennifer Patterson. I thought it could be a great chance for my future career, to expand my experience and learn from the work conducted within the group.

Question: How has your experience been so far as a RIF at the Institute?

Reply: My experience has been very rewarding. It’s allowing me to explore material research for biomedical applications from a new perspective, and I’m learning a wide variety of techniques and tools by being part of a highly multidisciplinary group.

Question: Can you explain what your work and your day-to-day at IMDEA Materials involves? Are you working on any specific projects?

Reply: During my time at IMDEA Materials, I’m involved in a project focused on developing Organ-on-Chip devices for studying respiratory tract diseases and potential therapies. My daily routine primarily involves laboratory work, ranging from optimising the manufacturing process of the devices to cell culturing within them.

Question: And finally, María, what do you hope to gain from your experience here, both on a personal level and for advancing your career as a young researcher?

Reply: From this experience, I primarily hope to expand my knowledge about the collaborative topic, gain a broader perspective on biomaterials research, learn new work methodologies, and acquire tools for my future development.

Thanks very much, María!

Are you interested in joining the IMDEA Materials Institute team, either in an internship or full-time predoctoral or postdoctoral position? You can find current opportunities on our job portal at: