Alicia López Bruzos (born 29 March 1993), known as Alicia L. Bruzos, is a Spanish biologist and bioinformatician.

Memories of a childhood and adolescence.

Alicia L. Bruzos was born in Lugo (Galicia, Spain) in 1993 and she is the daughter of a primary school teacher and a mine foreman. She is the fourth woman named Alicia in the ancestry of her family tree.

During her childhood, she lived in Viveiro with her mother Alicia and sister Beatriz because her dad died when she was four years old. In Viveiro, she lived very happy and she keeps beautiful memories and incredible friendships from this stage. All her academic compulsory education was in public institutions, first in the school CEIP Lois Tobio and the high school IES Vilar Ponte. She also attended the Professional Conservatory of Music obtaining the elementary degree with two specialisations: traverse flute and piano; and participated in art and literature competitions, winning several awards during these years. At the age of 14, her first international exchange to learn French took Alicia for the first time abroad, more specifically to the French Brittany (Lannion, France) and the next summer she got a summer scholarship from the Xunta de Galicia to continue learning French this time in Camblanes (France). At the age of 16, she was diagnosed with radial nerve paralysis and during the following years she was surgical operated on three times.

Precious college years!

Alicia’s mother had had the opportunity to go to college and was always telling her how important it had been to her job prospects. Alicia had no doubt that she wanted to study at university, so in 2011, she moved to Santiago de Compostela and enrolled in biology. Two years later, an Erasmus scholarship to study one year abroad took her to Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) where she fell in love with evolutionary biology so, she spent the summer working in the laboratory of Prof. Patrick Mardulyn and learning some basic molecular biology techniques. She remembers these years as jovial, busy and active; she participated in the university life, got involved in various greenpeace campaigns as a volunteer, attended courses abroad, obtained a diving license and a camp monitor diploma, traveled for pleasure, worked in a museum, traveled with friends and traveled alone…

In 2015, she obtained the BSc. in Biology from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (Spain) after presenting her degree thesis with honours about photosynthesis variability under heat stress supervised by Rubén Retuerto (Ecology department). A magazine article talking about the future of biology encouraged her to major in bioinformatics at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) which ended up publishing her first article with some analyses of her master thesis that were comprised in one major publication of Nature. Before taking the next step in her career, she backpacked from Spain to Croatia for a month. On that trip she lived tons of adventures, she slept in bus stations, in hostels, sin friends’ houses and even on the floor of two ferry boats. You only live once!

Her late twenties…

Alicia used her doctoral years researching about the genetic causes of contagious metastases under the sea in the laboratory of Dr. Jose Tubio. In September 2016, she enrolled in a Doctoral programme of Universidade de Vigo (Spain) funded by a national doctoral fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Science. Due to the transfer of Scuba Cancers project, she moved back to Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and enrolled in the Molecular Medicine doctoral program in her alma mater.

A doctorate can be full of trips and Alicia definitely made made the most of her opportunities: she did four funded research stays in other laboratories during this stage. In 2018, she went to the laboratory of Dr. Michael Metzger of the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (Seattle, United States) to learn gene-editing techniques and the following year, she moved to National University Ireland Galway (Ireland) to study the disseminated neoplasia of Irish cockles. In 2020, she worked in the laboratory of Prof. David Posada where she learned phylogenomic and statistical techniques that she applied to her research. Finally, in 2021 she moved to the laboratory of Dr. Young Seok Ju at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Daejeon, South Korea) to learn about transcriptomics and cell-of-origin analysis. Due to the pandemic she had to quarantine in Seoul before moving to Daejeon and she recorded daily videos of her isolating days in South Korea. Even more, during her holidays now that she finally had a monthly salary, she traveled to everywhere and anywhere meeting her goal of having visited as many foreign countries as years old Kosovo.

Along this years, she has already supervised several university students and achieved awards in scientific conferences (See her CV). Commitment to public outreach is central in her career and therefore, she has engage in many outreach activities and engagee society with the excitement of science in media interviews.

Present and future: a look full of hope

Nowadays, she works as a postdoctoral researcher at The Francis Crick Institute and the University College of London (UK) in the laboratory of Mosaicism and Precision Medicine. She is studying the genetics of familial melanomas within the framework of the 100,000 Genomes Project (Genomics England).

Alicia is a scientific woman hard working to build a career on science. Let’s see what happens with the next lines of this biography…