Esther Blanco is staff scientist of the Animal Health Research Center (CISA-INIA), in Valdeolmos, Madrid (Spain), a BSL3 containment laboratory. She graduated in Pharmacy from Complutense University in 1991 and received his PhD in 1999 from the Faculty of Sciences at Autonoma University of Madrid (Spain). Her PhD in Virology, for research on cellular immune response against Foot-and-Mouth disease virus and it application to the design of new synthetic vaccines was awarded “summa cum laude”. She spent several months as external visitor, on the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) in Mittelhaüsern (Switzerland) and in the National Agricultural Institute of Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Currently her major research interest is focused on optimising delivery systems, as dendrimeric synthetic peptides or chimeric virus-like particles (VLPs), for the multimeric presentation of immunogenic epitopes derived from pathogens relevant for animal health. Her research group has set up a system for the production of large amounts of VLPs derived from RHDV and has identified locations within RHDV capsid protein, where it is possible to insert foreign sequences without affecting the ability of the resulting chimeric protein to self-assemble into VLPs. The immunogenic properties of chimeric VLPs suggest their potential for new vaccine development.