Scientific directorate


Biosketch (in pdf)

Francisco Sánchez Madrid, Chief Scientific Officer at the IIS-Princesa tells us that since he began his degree studies at the University of Seville (1972-1976), he has been attracted to biochemical research. He directed his studies towards the greatest centre of excellence in this field at the time (1977), the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Centre, where he started his research career with doctoral thesis studies in Prof. David Vázquez’s group.

After this, he found himself fascinated by the field of immunology, where the molecular bases of antigen recognition and T-lymphocyte interactions were being identified. Thus he completed his postdoctorate in Prof. Baruch Benacerraf’s group (Nobel Prize 1980) at Harvard Medical School in Boston. There, he collaborated closely with Dr Timothy A. Springer, identifying and characterising the first families of human leukocyte adhesion receptors.

This work opened up a new area of scientific research that transcended the discipline of immunology to have an impact on cell biology, and multiple medical specialisms (haematology, rheumatology, etc). After returning to Madrid, he formed a research group at Hospital de la Princesa in the field of adhesion, migration, polarity and activation of leukocytes. The scientific contribution of this group is widely recognised.

Numerous young researchers who trained in the group are now researchers or university professors with their own internationally renowned groups.

Dr Francisco Sánchez Madrid


Dr Francisco Sánchez Madrid

Head of the Department of Immunology and Professor of Immunology

Hospital Universitario de la Princesa

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Chief Scientific Officer IIS Princesa

Contact details:

Tel. + 34 91 520 23 07


As a summary of his research contribution, it should be noted that the research work of Prof. Francisco Sánchez-Madrid on molecular and cellular mechanisms and receptors of migration and activation of human leukocytes has been reflected in more than 400 international publications, including numerous recent articles in top international journals such as Nature; Nature Immunol; Nature Communications, Immunity; J. Clin. Invest.; J. Exp. Med.; J. Cell Biol; Cell; EMBO J; New England Journal Medicine; PNAS; Blood and J. Immunol. These works have received more than 25,000 citations and have an h-index of 81. Without a doubt, Prof. Sánchez Madrid is one of the best and most internationally recognised biomedical researchers in the field of immunology.

In fact, he is the only Spaniard on the list drawn up by Thomson Reuters of the 250 most cited researchers in the field of immunology. Prof. Sánchez Madrid’s work as a biomedical scientist has been constantly funded by national and international public and private entities over the last 30 years, most notable being the recent award by the European Commission of a prestigious “European Research Council Advanced Grant” in recognition of his research at the frontier of knowledge of intercellular communication in inflammatory immune response.

The most important achievements of the scientific work of Prof. Sánchez-Madrid are outlined below:

  • Identification of the first families of leukocyte adhesion molecules.
  • Leukocyte adhesion and its relevance in inflammatory pathology.
  • Receptors of migration, orientation and cellular polarity in inflammatory immune response.
  • Intercellular communication, supra-molecular organisation of receptors and transfer of genetic information in immune response.
  • Receptors of activation of T lymphocytes and regulation of the inflammatory response.
  • Creation of a quality group and collaboration in biomedical hospital research and researcher training.

 As Professor of Immunology (1990), Prof. Francisco Sánchez Madrid taught intensively in the Faculties of Medicine and Sciences at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. This teaching activity included supervising 31 doctoral theses and more than 160 conferences in different research centres and national and international universities.

As a result of this trajectory of excellence, Prof. Francisco Sánchez Madrid has received numerous awards and recognitions in the field of biomedicine during his professional career, such as the Fundación Ciencias de la Salud (Health Sciences Foundation) Award, the Fundación Juan March Research Grant, the Fundación Francisco Cobos-CSIC Award, the Severo Ochoa Award from the Ferrer Foundation, the Fundación Pfizer Research Award, the Fundación Lilly Pre-Clinical Research Award, and the Spanish Society of Neurology Award. Multiple Sclerosis Research and Comunidad de Madrid Miguel Catalán Science Research Award (2009). Elected Member of EMBO (1996); and Academic Member of the Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia (2013).

Finally, as part of his scientific management activities, he has been Chairman of the Immunology and Infectious Diseases Commission of the Health Research Fund (1998-2000), Manager of the National Biomedicine Plan (2001-2005) and Member of the Evaluation Panel of ERC Grants for Young European Researchers (2007-2010). He is currently Chief Scientific Officer of the Princesa Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria.