Virginia Nunes, head of the Human Molecular Genetics group and one of the founders of IDIBELL, passes away

Virginia Nunes, pioneer of human genetics and coordinator of the Genes, Disease and Therapy Program at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), passed away on May 24, 2024, after a long disease. Dr. Nunes was a leading figure in the field of human genetics and her career has left a deep mark on the scientific community.


With a degree and a PhD in biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Virginia Nunes began her scientific career at the end of the 70s, when she joined the Haematology Service of the Hospital de Sant Pau with her friend and colleague in the biology degree, Fèlix Rueda. She stood out for her great intelligence and capacity for work, as well as for her empathy, generosity, friendship and bravery.

After a stay in Paris to train in human genetics, she returned to the Hospital de Sant Pau to work with the human genetics group led by Dr. Baget and Dr. Estivill. At the end of the 90s, she moved to the Institute of Oncology Research (IRO), which would later become IDIBELL, of which she was one of the founding members and where she became head of the Center for Medical and Molecular Genetics. Later she became the head of the Human Molecular Genetics group and coordinator of the Genes, Disease and Therapy Program, also at IDIBELL.

The focus of her research was on identifying the genetic basis of several hereditary diseases. She contributed significantly to the development of new molecular diagnostic techniques, advancing the understanding of the genetic mechanisms that cause diseases such as cystinuria or Wolfram Syndrome and in the creation of more effective treatments.

Dr. Nunes was known for her great empathy, always keeping the doors of her office open to listen to and help those in need. Her courage was palpable in defending the causes she considered fair, speaking sincerely and without reservation, for which she earned the respect and friendship of many colleagues. In addition, she was an enormously generous person, helping everyone, both emotionally and materially, whenever she could.

Virginia Nunes was also an unconventional person, who prioritized her ideas and beliefs, displaying a joy and originality that made her unique. Her colleagues and friends will remember her as a great friend and very insightful.

Her contribution to genetics and her dedication to research have been instrumental in advances in this field. Her loss leaves a significant void at IDIBELL and in the entire scientific community.

From IDIBELL, we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Nunes. Her dedication, humanity, and scientific excellence will be remembered forever.

Rest in peace, Virginia.

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