In memory of Dr Amparo Estepa Perez

We are very saddened to report the death of

Amparo Estepa Perez

(Madrid, 13-1-1962 – Alicante, 9-10-2015)

Amparo EstepaDr Amparo Estepa Perez obtained a Master Degree in Biology at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She conducted her PhD work at INIA on development of recombinant vaccines against VHSV. She defended her Doctoral Thesis in 1992. Amparo Estepa contributed to the development of the High Containment Facility at Valdeolmos, Madrid (Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal, CISA). She worked as a postdoctoral student at the INRA research centre in Jouy-en-Josas, also at Eurogentec in Belgium and at Wageningen University. In 1997, she began working at the Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Elche and was one of the key persons in the early development of this University. Later on, she became Chairman of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and had several responsabilities at the University’s Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular (IBMC) until her death on October the 9th, 2015.

Her research was focused on cellular and molecular aspects of fish, mainly salmonids, immune response against viruses, specially rhabdoviruses. Among other subjects, she was interested in the development of new prototypes of viral DNA vaccines and antiviral molecules, the characterization of the role played by the host antimicrobial peptides in the protective response against virus and the study of the crosstalk between innate and adaptive immune system. She was able to transfer her studies on these subjects to the industry and she had several patents of molecules and processes with veterinary and biomedical use.

Since the very beginning of her professional live, her entushiasm and optimism was outstanding. There was no obstacle that she could not overcome. She faced all the challenges with decision and strength. She was quite audacious in her hypothesis and once she was convinced she was hands on at the bench and at the aquaria conducting the corresponding experiments. She was always volunteering to represent the research group or the Project consortium in meetings always with loyalty to her research partners and her Institution.

She knew how to win the confidence of everybody since the very first moment. As it can be deducted form her research publications she was able to coordinate and develop research with scientists from different institutions and geographical locations in Spain and in several countries such as the US, France and The Netherlands.

Her students have learned from her example to be generous, open minded and being positively ambitious, with a hard work component, keeping in mind her teaching activity that was extended to the organization of seminars and other outreach activities. Her sincerity and demand of hard working was hand by hand with lots of love and care for the many young scientists that were her masters and PhD students.

Amparo has left an unforgettable presence among all of us that had the privilege of have known her and be among her friends.

 – Antonio Figueras – 


Selected Publications:

• Kavaliauskis, A., Arnemo, M., Speth, M. T., Lagos, L., Rishovd, A. L., Estepa, A., Griffiths, G. & Gjoen, T. (2016). Protective effect of a recombinant VHSV-G vaccine using poly(I:C) loaded nanoparticles as an adjuvant in zebrafish (Danio rerio) infection model. Dev Comp Immunol (pre-published).
• Ortega-Villaizan, M., Chico, V., Martinez-Lopez, A., Garcia-Valtanen, P., Coll, J. M. & Estepa, A. (2016). Development of new therapeutical/adjuvant molecules by pepscan mapping of autophagy and IFN inducing determinants of rhabdoviral G proteins. Mol Immunol 70, 118-124.
• Chinchilla, B., Encinas, P., Estepa, A., Coll, J. M. & Gomez-Casado, E. (2015). Transcriptome analysis of rainbow trout in response to non-virion (NV) protein of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV). Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 99, 1827-43.
• Estepa, A. & Coll, J. M. (2015). Inhibition of SERPINe1 reduces rhabdoviral infections in zebrafish. Fish & Shellfish Immunol 47, 264-270.
• Estepa, A. & Coll, J. M. (2015). Innate multigene family memories are implicated in the viral-survivor zebrafish phenotype. Plos One 10, e0135483.
• Garcia-Valtanen, P., M. Ortega-Villaizan, A. Martinez-Lopez, R. M. Medina-Gali, L. Perez, D. S. Mackenzie, A. Figueras, J. M. Coll, and A. Estepa. Autophagy-inducing peptides from mammalian VSV and fish VHSV rhabdoviral G glycoproteins (G) as models for the development of new therapeutic molecules. Autophagy 2014; 10:54-63.
• García-Valtanen, P., A. Martinez-Lopez, M. Ortega-Villaizan, L. Perez, J. M. Coll, and A. Estepa. In addition to its antiviral and immunomodulatory properties, the zebrafish beta-defensin 2 (zfBD2) is a potent viral DNA vaccine molecular adjuvant. Antiviral Research 2014; 101:136-147. IF 3,5 Q1.
• Martinez-Lopez A, Garcia-Valtanen P, Ortega-Villaizan M, Chico V, Gomez-Casado E, Coll JM , Estepa A. VHSV G glycoprotein major determinants implicated in triggering the host type I IFN antiviral response as DNA vaccine molecular adjuvants. Vaccine 2014; 2(45):6012-9
• Martinez-Lopez A, García-Valtanen P, Ortega-Villaizan MdM, Chico V, Medina-Gali RM, Perez L, Coll, JM and Estepa, A. Increasing Versatility of the DNA Vaccines through Modification of the Subcellular Location of Plasmid-Encoded Antigen Expression in the In Vivo Transfected Cells. PLoS ONE 2013; 8.
• Martinez-Lopez A, Encinar JA, Medina-Gali RM, Balseiro P, Garcia-Valtanen P, Figueras A, Novoa, B. and Estepa, A. PH-dependent solution structure and activity of a reduced form of the host-defense peptide myticin C (Myt C) from the mussel mytilus galloprovincialis. Marine Drugs 2013; 11:2328-46. IF: 3.514 D1 Q1
• Boltaña S, Rey S, Roher N, Vargas R, Huerta M, Huntingford FA, F. W. Goetz, J. Moore, P. Garcia-Valtanen, A. Estepa and S. MacKenzie. Behavioural fever is a synergic signal amplifying the innate immune response. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 2013; 280.

Patents & Available Technologies:

  • Pérez, L and Estepa, A. Enhanced detection of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia rhabdovirus using peptides selected from a combinatorial library. ES200101232/2. (granted on 29/05/2004)
  • Martinez-Lopez, A and Estepa A. Intraperitoneal DNA recombinant vaccine against VHSV. 2014 (P201331272).