The Scientific Director of the IdISSC is Elena Urcelay García.
After obtaining a pre-doctoral scholarship from the Ministry of Education and Science, Elena Urcelay defended her doctoral thesis on liver metabolism at the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, CIB-CSIC, in 1991. Then, she worked as a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda (MD, USA), where she investigated adeno-associated virus replication as a vector for gene therapy.
In 1996, she returned to the CIB with a reinstatement contract from the Ministry of Education and Science, focusing on the role of ion homeostasis in Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2001, she was awarded a “Ramón y Cajal” contract at the Hospital Clínico San Carlos-HCSC in Madrid to study the genetic factors that confer susceptibility to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes.
She is currently a CAM I3 researcher and Scientific Director of the Health Research Institute (Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria) of the HCSC; IdISSC.
Dr. Urcelay has obtained sustained funding from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III since 2004, overlapping with projects from the Fundación Ramón Areces, F. Mutua Madrileña, F. Koplowitz, and others.
It has been a member of the Multiple Sclerosis Spanish Network (REEM) since its inception in 2008. She has supervised 15 doctoral theses and published 190 articles in peer-reviewed journals.