Maribel Parra possesses a broad and solid experience in the fields of gene transcription, epigenetics and the biology of lymphocytes. In 2003 she obtained a PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Dr Pura Muñoz Cánoves at the Institut de Recerca Oncológica (IRO), Centro de Regulación Genómica (CRG) and the University of Barcelona (UB). During the period 2003-2007, Maribel Parra performed her postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Verdin at the Gladstone Institutes (San Francisco, USA). As a postdoctoral researcher she made fundamental contributions in the field of gene regulation by class IIa HDACs (Parra et al. JBC, 2005, Parra et al. Genes and Dev, 2007).
After her postdoctoral training period, Maribel Parra decided to focus her initial research career as an independent investigator on studying the role of class IIa HDACs in the decisions occurring during hematopoiesis. To do so, she was granted a Ramon y Cajal Investigator Contract from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN) and a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant from the European Commission. In July 2007, Dr. Parra briefly joined the laboratory of Dr Thomas Graf, coordinator of the Cancer and Differentiation Program at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona and a pioneer scientist in the hematopoietic field. Subsequently, Dr Parra became the leader of the Cellular Differentiation Group in the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program (PEBC), at the Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL).She transferred to the IJC in 2019.
Her research is focused on the study of the repressive transcriptional mechanisms involved in the normal and aberrant generation of B lymphocytes. Her recent work has identified HDAC7 as a crucial transcriptional repressor for the development of B cells. In addition she has found that the deregulation of HDAC7 may be involved in the pathogenesis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (J Exp Med, 2016; Cell Death & Disease, 2015; PLoS Genetics, 2013). Maribel Parra has contributed to the fields of HDACs and B lymphocytes with several invited reviews. She has obtained competitive and consecutive funding at the national level (SAF2017-87990-R, SAF2014-58228-R, SAF2011-28290 y BFU2008-00410) and at the international level (Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant). The Lymphocyte Development and Disease group has been recognized by the Catalan Government as pre-Consolidated Research Group.