Margarita Salas

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Margarita Salas

The woman who revealed the invisible

Margarita Salas is a PhD in Biochemistry, She was born in 1938 in Canero, a tiny Asturian village, tiny like the virus she studies: ɸ29.

This is not a bad virus that causes disease. It is a virus with a head and a tail wound around DNA. To reproduce, it sticks its tail into bacteria and injects its DNA. Once the DNA is inside, the bacteria is bound to making countless copies of ɸ29, which are released when the bacteria bursts.

DNA studies have progressed thanks to the research carried out by Margarita Salas and other researchers, including Kary Banks Mullis, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993.

Always supported by her husband, also a scientist, Margarita Salas has always stood by her ideas: “A researcher has to be rigorous, to have freedom and imagination, and be willing to let the sheer pleasure of investigating guide their life. Our work is hard, but the rewards make it worthwhile”