Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I2SysBio)

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Viral mutation rates


University of Valencia

Genetics Department





Evolution and Health Research Unit

Sanjuán lab

Virus experimental evolution, virus social evolution, mutation rates, oncolytic viruses, phage
In our lab at the Science Park of the University of Valencia (find us), we study virus evolution from an experimental approach. Currently, we are investigating how social-like interactions shape the variability and evolution of viruses. We are also interested in exploring the use of viruses as anti-cancer therapeutic agents, and for phage therapy. 


Rafael Sanjuán, Ph.D. in Evolutionary Genetics


Tel: +34 963 543 270


Instituto de Biología Integrativa de Sistemas (I2SysBio)  
Parc Cientific de la Universitat de València

C/ Catedrático Agustín Escardino 9

46980 Paterna, Valencia



José M. Cuevas

José´s career has focused on the study of experimental and molecular evolution of viruses.  After a 3-year postdoc granted by the Welcome Trust, he returned to the University of Valencia as a Juan de la Cierva postdoc to work on phage and VSV experimental evolution. After a stay at the Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP-CSIC) where he analyzed adaptive mechanisms of tobacco etch virus using microarrays and massive sequencing technologies, we returned to our group to study HIV variability, funded by the ERC and MINECO. He now has a Ramón y Cajal 5-year contract and runs his own project on the human plasma virome.

Pilar Domingo-Calap

Pilar did her PhD in our lab and then moved to Strasbourg for a 4-year postdoc in which she investigated how adaptive immunity shapes the genetic diversity of polyomaviruses in renal transplant patients. She obtained a 3-year Juan de la Cierva senior postdoc contract in our laboratory and is currently contracted as a senior postdoc funded by the European Research Council (ERC)

Valesca Anschau

Valesca did her PhD at the University of Sao Paulo on the kinetics  peroxiredoxin reduction by ascorbate. She now has a postdoc funded by the European Research Council (ERC) in which we aim at characterizing the molecular basis of saliva-driven virion aggregation in vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).

Ahmed Al Zaher

Ahmed did a PhD in biomedicine at the University of Barcelona and has joined us, funded by a MINECO project, to work on oncolytic viruses. The aim of his research is to use directed evolution to improve the efficacy of an oncolytic VSV.

PhD Students                  

Juan Vicente Bou
JuanVi has a PhD fellowship funded by the Prometeo research program of the Generalitat Valenciana, and is coadvised by Prof. Fernando González-Candelas. His project focuses on how encapsulation in lipid vesicles drives virus-virus interactions in enteroviruses.

Jennifer Risso-Ballester

Jenni has a Degree in Biotechnology and her PhD focuses on the origins of genetic diversity inhuman adenoviruses.

Iván Andreu-Moreno
Iván has a PhD fellowship from the Spanish MCIU to work on virus social evolution, using VSV as model system.

Salomé Pazmiño
Salomé is a PhD student funded by the ERC and her project focuses on the social evolution of baculoviruses.

Ernesto Segredo-Otero
Ernesto is a biologist with a master in biophysics. He is now starting a PhD, funded by the Spanish MEC, on the social evolution of viruses, using computational approaches.

María Cebrián
María has a PhD contract funded by MCIU to work on the human plasma virome, supervised by José Cuevas.

Alejandra Larrieux
Alejandra has a has a PhD contract from MCIU to work on the directed evolution of oncolytic viruses.


Research Assistants

María Durán

María has a PhD on brain ultrastructure advised by Prof. José M. García-Verdugo at the Universitat de València. She joined our lab to analyse the structure of viral infectious units.

Laya Panach
Layla has expertise as as research assistant in molecular biology and work with animal models.

Master Students

Lucas Mora
Lucas is working on the social evolution of viruses.



    • Elena Pulver (Master Student), 2017-2018.
    • Ezequiel Monferrer (Master Student), 2017-2018.
    • Salomé Pazmiño (Master Student), 2016-2017.
    • María Cebrián (Master Student), 2016-2017.
    • Giacomo Butta (Master Student), 2016-2017. 
    • Silvia Torres (Researh Assistant), 2013-2017.
    • Julia Hillung (Postdoc), 2016.
    • Alvaro Briz (Master Student), 2016.
    • Marianoel Pereira-Gómez (PhD Student), 2012-2016.
    • Raquel Garijo (PhD Student and Research Assistant), 2012-2016.
    • Cristina Ballesteros (Postdoc), 2015.
    • Ron Geller (Postdoc), 2013-2015.
    • Marine Combe (PhD Student), 2012-2015.
    • Joan B. Peris (PhD Student), 2012-2013.
    • Pablo Hernández-Alonso (Master Student and Research Assistant), 2011-2013.
    • Pilar Domingo-Calap (PhD Student), 2008-2012.
    • Antonio V. Borderia (visiting Postdoc), 2010.
    • Katie Bradwell (Master Student), 2009-2010.
    • Paulina Davis (Student of the MHIRT program), 2009.
    • Loles Catalán (Research Assistant), 2009-2009.
    • Temesgen Woldezion (Student of the MHIRT program), 2008.

Universitat de València, 2019