Daniel Rios Barrera,
a personal account
I was born and raised in Mexico City. During my undergrad studies on Biomedical Research, I discovered how something so “simple” as an egg can show us so many wonders about ourselves; not only of how we are formed but also about evolution, and of the progression of different pathologies. Ever since, I decided I would study Developmental Biology.
I did my PhD 250km away from home in a city called Querétaro, studying epidermal development in the fruit fly embryo, and for my postdoc I moved to Germany, to work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. My first 3 years of postdoc at EMBL were funded by an MSCA COFUND program which allowed me to be part of two research groups. I spent a total of 6 wonderful years at EMBL, after which I was lucky to find a group leader position back home, at the Biomedical Research Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
For me, the MCAA is one of those platforms that provides us with tools to do so, by giving us an international network of alumni working together towards common goals.
On 15 June 2022, the Mexico Chapter was founded. The meeting saw participation of representatives of other MCAA Chapters, including North America Chapter, Argentina Chapter, Brazil Chapter, Chile Chapter, and Spain-Portugal Chapter. Daniel Rios Barrera, the chair of the newly founded Chapter, tells us about its future plans.
How did the Mexico Chapter launch event go? Can you tell us more about the event?
For the launch of the Mexico Chapter we had a lot of support coming from both EURAXESS Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and from the North America Chapter of the MCAA. Together with them, we organized a public forum on Intersectoral alliances to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. For this, we invited experts from academia, industry, and NGOs to discuss their views on the importance of alliances to reach Sustainable Development Goals. The day after this event, we asked the chairs of other regional chapters of the MCAA to join us for an informal discussion with the now founding members of the chapter. Our goal was to find guidance on how to launch our chapter, but also identify areas where we could work together with them. Hearing the experiences of the other chapters was really inspiring and certainly motivated us to move forward, we’re very thankful for their support.
What are the Chapter’s current objectives?
Our main goals are to strengthen ties; within alumni residing or incoming to Mexico, with fellows currently residing in Europe and elsewhere, and also to reach out to universities and private sectors in Mexico to increase the visibility of the MSCA by organizing different types of events.
Do you already have plans for events?
First of all, we are trying to identify new members for the chapter, as we are sure that having more colleagues on board would enrich our proposals. We are also planning to hold career seminars where our members will talk about their paths and experiences, including of course how they benefited from the MSCA. Finally, we will host industry-academia get-togethers to enhance collaborations between these two sectors for their mutual benefit. We have other ideas coming up so stay tuned!
Do you have plans for cooperating with other Chapters and Working Groups?
We were very happy with the work we did with the North America Chapter on Sustainable Development Goals so we are planning to repeat this forum yearly, to remind everybody of this agenda and how we as society are doing with its objectives. We will certainly reach out to other chapters, like the ones who helped us kick-off our chapter to plan more activities together.
What would you say to people who are considering joining the Chapter?
I’d say that with the short time we have been working with the now official chapter, I already found a lot of satisfaction in working with colleagues from very different disciplines to find common grounds to develop projects. The more interdisciplinary a project is, the wider its reach and impact so it’s been definitely very exciting to launch the chapter. It is an experience that might take you out of your comfort zone but is definitely worth it!
Gian Maria Greco
MCAA Board member