Profile picture of: Sandra Lopez-Verges


Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies

Department of Research in Virology and Biotechnology

Avenida Justo Arosemena y Calle No. 35
Apartado Postal No. 0816-02593
Panama City, Rep. of Panama
Office phone: +507 527 4820

Research Interests

Virology, Immunology, Molecular epidemiology, Tropical Diseases, Global Health, Emergent Diseases


Topics to speak on:

Virology, Immunology, Molecular epidemiology, Tropical Diseases, Global Health, Science Diplomacy, Women in Science

Words of Wisdom

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. Marie Sklodowska Curie.
We need Science to gather knowledge, but we need Humanities to find wisdom. AGM2019


Dr. Sandra López Verges received her Bachelor in Biochemistry (2001), her Master degree in Microbiology speciality Virology (2003) and her Ph.D. in Microbiology speciality Virology (2007) at the Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot, Ecole Normale Supérieure d’Ulm and Pasteur Institute in France. As her research focuses to understand viral infections and the virus-human host interactions, she complemented her expertise in Virology with a post-doctoral training in Immunology at the University of California San Francisco. Since 2012, she is now back to Panama as a Health researcher at the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Health Studies (ICGES). In 2020, she became Senior Health Researcher and the Chief in charge of the Department of Research in Virology and Biotechnology at her institute. In Panama, she is developing a new line of research on innate immunity of viral and arboviral diseases, mentoring students at the PhD, master, bachelor and even high school level. She also gives classes at different graduate programs in private and public universities, appointed invited since 2018, professor at the Universidad de Panama, the main public university in the country. Her research and work has resulted in one patent and many publications in high impact journals and prestigious awards as UNESCO-L’OREAL International Fellowship for Young women in Science in 2014, TWAS-APANAC award in 2014, being named member of the Global Young Academy (GYA) for five years in 2018, obtaining several young investigator awards in recognised international conferences in virology and immunology, and being appointed as a Member of the National Research System (SNI) by the National Secretary of Science, Innovation and Technology (SENACYT) in Panama.

Dr. López is committed for Women in Science as she has helped organised an annual Panama National UNESCO-L’OREAL award with SENACYT, L’OREAL and UNESCO in 2017 to encourage young women pursuing scientific careers in her country. She continuous to work for a better gender equity in science with the GYA and more locally, with the movement CienciaEnPanama, APANAC, Ciudad del Saber and SENACYT.

Sandra is also a mentor in the women empowerment program of the Ekpa’palek foundation for Latin American students and professionals. Finally, she has a wide interest in Science Diplomacy and Science advice, showing her interest in working to address global challenges and to increase the impact of science in the social, environmental and health issues. Being one of the fellows of the Science Diplomacy and Leadership workshop organised by AAAS in 2017, she is participating with SENACYT, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other colleagues on the development of a Science Diplomacy strategy for Panama. As part of this strategy, she participated in the development of a Science Diplomacy class for Diplomats fellows from Panama’s Ministry of Foreign affairs.

As a GYA member, Sandra is part of many working groups (Women in Science, Global Health, Scientific Excellence, Do-it-Yourself Biology, YSAP, Trust-in-Young-Scientists, Citizen science for SDGs), participating in many of their activities. Sandra was elected as GYA Executive Committee member in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, and was responsible of the Strategic Projects portfolio.


UNESCO L’OREAL International Fellowship for Young Women in Science 2014

TWAS-APANAC Young Investigator Award 2014

ELsevier-SENACYT Award 2018 by Elsevier, SENACYT and UNESCO

Exceptional Woman of Excellence 2019 by Women Economic Forum (WEF) and All Ladies League (ALL)