News / 27 November 2018

Upon the establishment of the Roselló-Díez Group at ARMI in May, postdoctoral researcher Veronica Uribe Sokolov has come on board as one of its first recruits. Hailing all the way from Moscow, Russia, Veronica's unique insight and previous experience in organ and heart research landed her a place at ARMI - and we're very excited to have her.

The Roselló-Díez Group, headed by Dr Alberto Roselló-Díez, studies mechanisms that orchestrate organ growth and repair in vertebrates, using a number of preclinical models. Ultimately, the goal is to lay the groundwork for future therapeutic interventions for a range of conditions, from developmental growth defects to bone fractures. For Veronica, her research focuses on how changes in the signalling pathways that govern organ growth can have an impact on other parts of the body.

"I investigate organ growth control and the effect this has on the body and possibly the heart," commented Veronica. "For example, if the growth of a limb is compromised, we want to track the effect this slow-growing limb has on all the other areas of the body. So far, we have seen that when the growth of a limb during development is disturbed, it has an impact on the growth of the whole embryo. This has led us to studying the placenta, as it is one of the main targets for the signal that is sent out by the slow-growing limb. Finding these key signals is our aim and we have already discovered and have started testing some candidates.” Although this research is still in the early stages, the information it reveals will be critical to foundation therapies to treat problems that arise from inconsistent growth and aberrant signalling, such as cancer.

Veronica's innate curiosity, which lends perfectly to research, was evident when she was a child. By regularly watching documentaries with her families, including one on bacteria living in extreme conditions, Veronica was always obsessed with the ‘why.' This was a sign, and Veronica always knew she wanted to study biology - and she was willing to move around the world to pursue it.

Growing up in Russia with Spanish heritage, Veronica moved to Madrid, Spain where she completed a PhD in heart development at the Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC). It was here that she first met Alberto and already back then, she knew Alberto had a bright scientific future. Veronica later moved to Germany, where she began her postdoctoral studies in cardiac development at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research. Then, the stars aligned. With Veronica's expertise in heart development, a postdoc opportunity at ARMI and already knowing several scientists, including Alberto, at the Institute - the match was perfect.

Despite her history of traversing the globe, Veronica's plans for the future are to stay focused on her research and to continue to work alongside her mentor, Alberto. "I never would've thought I'd move to Australia," commented Veronica, "But I'm happy to be here, the work is challenging, but our Group's ideas are bright and inspiring - I look forward to seeing what the future holds."

For more information on Veronica Uribe Sokolov and the Roselló-Díez at ARMI, please visit the Roselló-Díez Group page. You can contact Veronica via veronica.uribesokolov@monash.edu