Dr Laura Barrachina Porcar

PhD, MSc

Contact Details

Marie Curie Fellow
E: laura.barrachina@nuigalway.ie


After graduating in Veterinary Medicine in 2011, I enrolled in an equine internship and undertook a Master¿s degree in Introduction to Research in Veterinary Science (University of Zaragoza, UZ; Spain). In 2013, I was awarded a 4-year fellowship to fund my Doctoral studies and joined the veterinary regenerative medicine team in the inter-disciplinary research group LAGENBIO (UZ). During my PhD I was a visiting scholar at North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC, US). In 2017, I obtained the PhD degree with International mention and the highest grade (Cum Laude). In addition, I received the Graduate Student Award 2017 and the `Coris Gruart¿ Research Award 2018 for my PhD research. After my PhD, I was hired by LAGENBIO as Research Assistant (2017-2018) and subsequently as Post-doctoral researcher (2018-2021). During this time, I achieved a successful application to the Marie Sklodowska-Curie program (European Union¿s Horizon 2020) and I got a post-doctoral European individual fellowship. Thanks to this fellowship, in February 2022 I joined the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland Galway, where I currently work. My research is focused on veterinary regenerative medicine, particularly in the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to treat musculoskeletal pathologies in the horse.

Research Interests

I have found in research my own way to contribute to animal health. My current project - CAREQiPSC (Cartilage derived from equine iPSCs: an in vitro and ex vivo One Medicine approach for osteoarthritis) aims at obtaining equine induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with higher chondrogeneic potential to contribute advancing cell therapy for joint pathologies. iPSCs are pluripotent, so they have superior differentiation capacity than adult stem cells while avoiding the ethical issues of embryonic stem cells. iPSCs can be generated in the lab by reprogramming different types of adult cells. The 'memory' of such cells can determine their ability to differentiate once reprogrammed, which makes important to determine appropriate sources to later obtain cartilage. Developing novel advanced therapies will contribute to the health of horses and will also provide important pre-clinical knowledge to advance in the same direction in human medicine.

I have co-authored 16 articles in JCR-indexed peer-reviewed journals, high-ranked in areas such as Veterinary Sciences or Orthopaedics. I was the first author in 8 of these papers and corresponding author in the 3 most recent articles (2 of them in the journal Animals). I have also participated in several national and international scientific meetings (European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, International Society of Animal Genetics, European College of Veterinary Surgeons), including 7 peer-reviewed conference abstracts and 16 oral and poster presentations, 4 of which were awarded by the audience as Best Scientific Communication. I have participated in 4 Industry-University Innovative Projects, one of them as PI, and in 4 R&D projects from national competitive calls, all of them related to veterinary regenerative medicine. I regularly serve as reviewer for JCR-indexed journals and I was invited as Guest Editor for a special issue on Orthobiologics for Equine Musculoskeletal Injuries in Animals, and I am also part of the Editorial board of Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
(2023) 'Induced pluripotent stem cells in companion animals: how can we move the field forward?'
Barrachina, L.,Arshaghi, T. E.,O'Brien, A.,Ivanovska, A.,Barry, F. (2023) 'Induced pluripotent stem cells in companion animals: how can we move the field forward?'. Front Vet Sci, 10 [Details]

Honours and Awards

  Year Title Awarding Body
2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie European individual post-doctoral fellowship European Union¿s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
2018 `Coris Gruart¿ Research Award 2018 College of Veterinary Medicine (Universidad de Zaragoza)
2017 Graduate Student Award Graduate school of the Universidad de Zaragoza
2013 Pre-doctoral fellowship Regional Government (Aragón, Spain); Co-funded by European Social

Teaching Interests

- Collaboration in the Translational Medicine Module, MSc Regenerative Medicine, University of Galway (2022 ¿ 2023): group mentoring for clinical trial application planning, assessing participation in journal clubs.
- Lecturer, Universidad de Zaragoza. 6h (2019, 2023). New therapies in the Veterinary field: cell-based therapies for domestic species. Subject: Veterinary Biotechnology. Degree in Biotechnology.
- Teaching associate wet lab sessions, Universidad de Zaragoza. 280h (2014 ¿ 2021):
o Degree in Veterinary Medicine; subjects: Animal Genetics (2016 & 2019), General Equine Medicine (2017), Diagnostic Imaging (2017).
o Degree in Biotechnology: Genetics (2014, 2016 & 2019), Veterinary Biotechnology (2015, 2019).
- Thesis advisor for 13 veterinary undergraduate students (2015 - 2021) on topics related with cell-based therapies, equine orthopaedics and equine immunology.
- Co-supervision of 3 PhD students (2019 ¿ present; University of Zaragoza). Projects: Diversity determination of ELA haplotypes in Spanish equine breeds (Sara Fuente; thesis advisor, 2019 - present); Interaction of equine iPSCs and iMSC with the immune system in vitro (Elvira Bernad; thesis advisor 2021 ¿ present); In vivo immune response to equine iPSCs and iMSCs (Belén Serrano; thesis advisor, 2022 ¿ present)
- Supervising and mentoring of 5 undergraduate students (2018-2019) from Degrees in Biotechnology (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico), Biomedicine (Universidad de Lérida, Spain) and Veterinary Medicine (Universidad de Oporto, Portugal) undertaking research in our laboratory (Universidad de Zaragoza).