Dr. Patricia Mora-Raimundo, a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Avi Schroeder’s research group in the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, recently won first place in the Future Award competition of the EuroTech Universities Alliance. She received the prestigious award for working on an innovative method to transport drugs to the brain by using music.


The EuroTech Alliance is a strategic partnership between leading science and technology universities. On January 1, 2019, the Technion joined the alliance as the sixth member of the network and the first outside Europe. The Future Award was established by the scientific-technological alliance last year to honor researchers expected to make dramatic changes in their fields for the benefit of humanity. Winners are chosen based on their existing and potential contributions to advancing the United Nations’ vision as reflected in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2015 and adopted by all member states.


Twenty-eight early-career researchers competed for the EuroTech Future Award in 2024. Patricia Mora-Raimundo of Technion, Yudong Xue of EPFL, and Melisa Benard Valle of Technical University of Denmark made the top of the list. The award jury, composed of the Vice Presidents for Research of the EuroTech member universities and the Head of the EuroTech Brussels Office, assessed the impact of the applicants’ work in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations; their excellence as researchers; and their ability to communicate about their work in a way that allows non-experts, particularly policymakers and citizens, to understand their contribution to a more sustainable world.


Dr. Mora-Raimundo completed her academic education in pharmaceutical sciences at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. During here postdoc, she has focused on developing new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, solutions for crossing the blood-brain barrier to treat brain diseases and creating nano-lipid particles to deliver nucleic acids to the body. She has won numerous awards, including the Azrieli Fellowship, and is a member of Teva’s National Forum for Innovation in Life Sciences.


Dr. Mora-Raimundo began her research on nanometric drugs at the University of Madrid, in the context of bone cancer and osteoporosis treatment. In 2020, during the last year of her doctorate, she spent a short period in Prof. Schroeder’s laboratory. The initial period was extended due to her interest in the research areas at the Technion laboratory, and she decided to continue her postdoctoral fellowship at the University.


In her proposal that won her the Future Award, Dr. Mora-Raimundo presents the MINND model: Music Input in Nanotechnology-based treatments for Neurological Disorders.


“My journey in the world of science began in 2012,” says Dr. Mora-Raimundo, “inspired by my grandfather, who instilled in me curiosity, faith in effort and perseverance, and shaped my character — and later my research. About a decade ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his condition influenced me to choose research related to this disease. In the advanced stages of the disease, most of my grandfather’s abilities declined, but music continued to speak to him. This is the inspiration for the development I presented to EuroTech.”


Neurological disorders are the leading cause of disabilities and the second leading cause of death worldwide. Nanometric drugs promise improved solutions for treating these disorders — better than conventional treatments. One of the technological challenges in implementing nanomedicine is that to affect the brain, the nanometric particles must cross the blood-brain barrier. This barrier, which protects the brain from infections present in the blood, is a complex obstacle in therapeutic contexts as it hinders drug delivery to the brain. One of Dr. Mora-Raimundo’s tasks in her current research is to increase the number of particles crossing the barrier into the brain. Like the Pied Piper, she seeks to overcome the blood-brain barrier by using music allowing these particles to arrive to the brain.


“As mentioned, my grandfather is the inspiration, as despite suffering from Alzheimer’s, he continued to listen to music for a long time. I read extensive scientific literature on the subject and discovered that music creates new connections in the brain. Then I asked, could listening to music improve the delivery of therapeutic particles to the brain? The answer is still under research, and hopefully we will achieve promising results.”