Anaid Benitez

Postdoctoral Project Research Scientist

Anaid is a postdoctoral translation fellow in the DNA Recombination and Repair laboratory of senior group leader Dr. Stephen West. The focus of the lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms of homologous recombination (HR), a DNA damage repair pathway that cells use to maintain genomic stability. Anaid’s postdoctoral research explored the molecular mechanisms of chromosomal fragility at defined regions of the genome that are inherently prone to breakage, common fragile sites (CFS). Currently, she's a translation fellow developing a diagnostic platform to asses the DNA repair capacity of tumour samples.

Training: Anaid was born in La Habana, Cuba, and emigrated to the United States where she received a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering with a Minor in Biomechanics from the University of Florida. She continued her studies at the University of Miami where she earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Anaid has a strong background in laboratory research and project development, with over 16 years of wet-lab experience in DNA damage and repair. She’s employed her engineering and biological research skills to find novel therapeutic combinations in urological cancers, develop diagnostic and prognostic markers, characterize DNA damage repair proteins, understand replication stress-induced genomic instability, and develop clinical tools for oncology patient stratification.

Beyond academia: Anaid has a passion for entrepreneurship and collaborative interdisciplinary product development. During her spare time, she developed a medical device for pregnant women to aid in performing a perineal massage, a technique which significantly reduces childbirth-related perineal trauma. Currently, she’s developing a diagnostic platform to help stratify cancer patients into personalized treatment strategies targeting the DNA damage response. Anaid has successfully raised funding from the MedTech SuperConnector and the Crick’s translational idea-2-innovation (i2i) fund.

In early 2021, Anaid took part in the outstanding Programme for Up and coming Life Sciences Entrepreneurs (PULSE), co-organized by the BioIndustry Association and The Francis Crick Institute and the exceptional Women Entrepreneurs Awareness, Connectivity, Exchange (WE ACE) program run by Innovation Forum Oxford. In 2021-2022, Anaid also took completed two highly competitive start-up accelerators: Cancer Tech Accelerator programme launched by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Capital Enterprise, and Roche UK, and the MedTech SuperConnector programme. 

Crick Science Entrepreneur Network (CSEN): In 2021, Anaid and a group of highly talented early career scientists co-founded CSEN, an organization which promotes entrepreneurship within the Crick and the wider scientific community. One of the main objectives for CSEN was to bring together researchers at all career stages with key industry leaders to learn about the translation and commercialisation potential of their research. As co-founder and co-chair, Anaid provided leadership, direction, guidance and set the tone for organization culture, values, and decision making.

Qualifications and history

University of Florida
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering with Biomechanics (Minor)
University of Miami
PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology