Violeta Balbás-Martínez is the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Highlighted Trainee Author for the March 2020 issue. Ms. Balbas-Martinez was a pre-doctoral trainee with the drugs and health program at Navarra University at the time her manuscript was accepted. She has since earned her doctorate from Navarra University. Her mentor is Dr. Iñaki F. Trocóniz. The JPET article that earned her selection as a Highlighted Trainee Author is titled “A Quantitative Systems Pharmacology model for the key Interleukins involved in Crohn's Disease” and is available at https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.119.260539.
Dr. Balbas-Martinez’s area of research is pharmacometrics and systems pharmacology. For the last four years, she has mechanistically characterized two complex diseases: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and complicated urinary tract infection (cUTI). More specifically, she built a Boolean network for IBD that was later transformed into a quantitative framework describing the main immune mechanism (antigen presentation to APC, CD4+T cell clonal expansion and the interaction between different interleukins in charge of the stimulation of inhibiting different processes). In addition, she developed a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic model to understand the physiological aspects that may be responsible for altered ciprofloxacin pharmacokinetics in children with cUTI as compared to a healthy population. Her current research involves working on the expansion of the published QSP model by the addition of CD4+T cells and natural killer cells.
The anticipated impact of Dr. Balbas-Martinez’s research is to provide greater insight to the diseases of study through a better mechanistic understanding, which may aid in new target identification and therapy combination for future drug development.
When not in the lab, Dr. Balbas-Martinez enjoys sports, especially running, swimming, cycling, and snowboarding, and spending time with family and friends. On a day off, she likes to travel to new places.