Dr. Rodriguez-Calvo is a junior group leader at the Institute of Diabetes Research (Helmholtz Zentrum München) in Munich. She studied Veterinary Medicine at Complutense University (UCM) in Madrid, Spain, and completed her PhD in Veterinary Science at the Research Center for Animal Health (CISA) in 2012. In this BSL-3 facility, she acquired her passion for viruses and she focused her research on Immunology and Virology, studying the immune response against Foot and Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) and Bluetongue Virus (BTV), and specifically the role of dendritic cells during the course of infection. In 2012 she joined La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), in San Diego, United States, as a postdoc under the supervision of Professor Matthias von Herrath, and in 2015 she was promoted to Instructor. During this time, she closely collaborated with nPOD and found that CD8 T cells, the main cell type implicated in the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells, are localized in the islets of Langerhans predominantly when beta cells are still present but additionally infiltrate the exocrine pancreas in high numbers even when beta cells have been destroyed. In 2015 she received the nPOD Young Investigator Award “for outstanding contributions to diabetes research”.
In April 2017, she joined the Institute of Diabetes Research (Helmholtz Zentrum München) in Munich, Germany, and started her own laboratory to continue her research with a focus on the immunopathology of human type 1 diabetes. In collaboration with the nPOD-Virus group, she investigates key mechanisms of viral infection, possible molecular mimicry, induction of inflammatory cytokines, the presence of high expression of MHC molecules and the immune response against enteroviruses. Dr. Rodriguez-Calvo is also interested in understanding the early changes that take place in the pancreas in individuals at risk of developing the disease and, specifically, if there is a defect in beta cell function before clinical onset. She recently received the Helmsley Charitable Trust George S. Eisenbarth nPOD Award for Team Science in order to study proinsulin processing and the potential post-translational modifications that might occur during insulin synthesis. In 2020 she received the JDRF Robert Goldstein Award for her work in understanding the development of type 1 diabetes.