Group Leader/s



Maria Montoya’s (MM) has worked in pig immunology for the last thirteen years, studying immune responses to viruses affecting pigs, such influenza virus, and generating novel vaccine strategies. She has a long track record in viral immunology in different species and systems with international collaborations worldwide. MM has worked with a variety of pathogens under SAPO4 conditions for 15 years. She has been PI on several successful grants and published more than 60 papers in peer reviewed journals (Nature, Journal of Immunology, Blood, Veterinary Research, Plos Pathogens, Scientific Reports, Journal of Virology, Plos One...). MM support the efforts to improve the role of women in science as well as participate in outreaching activities for the general public.


Aims and objectives of the group

In the last decades, the mouse model tremendously contributed to the progress of research in immunology. However, it is worth noticing that research in large/unconventional animals has given pivotal information to immunology in general. The need for translational immunological research, the development of new animal models more adapted to the scientific question, and the acquisition of new knowledge in comparative immunology is increasing in importance every year.

The main aim of the group is to provide insights into immunological host-pathogen interactions by studying the immune system of the pigs in the context of natural relevant viral infections, such as Influenza virus (IV) or African swine fever virus (ASFV). Also, pigs will be used as model for celular therapies.







Competitive grants from 2009:

  1. MICINN. Title: “Patogenia de enfermedades víricas porcinas”. 4.960.000,00 €
  2. European Community, FP7 (Capacities Specific Programme Research Infrastructures). Title: “The Network of Animal Disease Infectiology Research Facilities (NADIR) ”. 7.495.317 €
  3. MICINN (AGL2009-12945-C02-01 (subprograma GAN)).Title: "Chimeric virus-like particles vaccines for swine influenza virus: immunological studies”. 30.000€
  4. Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII). Title: "Estudio comparativo de la respuesta inmune frente al virus gripal pandémico H1N1 en enfermos graves y leves (Inmunoflu)”. 150.000€
  5. Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII). Title: "Antigenicidad y resistencia a fármacos del nuevo virus de la gripe tipo A (H1N1)v: Caracterización y evolución a nivel molecular”. 323.000€
  6. Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII). Title: "Nuevos procedimientos para el diagnóstico y caracterización del virus A(H1N1) pandémico, esenciales para mejorar la capacidad de la red RELEG”. 853.000€
  7. Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII). Title: "Analisis de la virulencia de virus H1N1 pandemicos”. 378.000€
  8. Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional y Desarrollo (AECID). Title: “R+D proyect elaboration for institutional training in diagnostic techniques and research in influenza virus in Mozambique” 30.000€
  9. MICINN. Title: "Immunological characterization of swine influenza virus (SIV) circulating in Spain: Towards a new vaccine against SIV based on chimeric virus-like particles” AGL2010-22200-C02-01. 160.000€
  10. MINECO. Title: "New approaches in vaccine development against livestock viral diseases using engineered virus-like particles” AGL2013-48923-C2-2-R. 150.000€
  11. BBSRC. Title: “Epitope characterization for rational vaccine development”. BBS/E/I/00002014. £ 47.1632

More info


Master in Immunology 1991-1992. University of Birmingham, UK.

PhD: 1997, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain

Post-doctoral and Fellow Scientist: 1998-2005. The Edward Jenner Institute. UK

Group leader: 2005-2014. Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA). Barcelona, Spain

Group leader: 2014-2017. The Pirbright Institute. UK


EU patent “Exosomes and their use as vaccine”. P3249PC00. 2016

H. A. del Portillo, F. E. Borras, L.J. Fraile, S.R. Montaner, M. Montoya.  

Spin-off company

Innovex Therapeutics SL. ( )

Investigador Distinguido: 2018. Centro de investigaciones Biológicas (CIB), Madrid, Spain