María-Pilar Sáenz Navajas and Raquel Campos Herrera join the Instituto de Ciencias de la Vid y del Vino as CSIC tenured scientists

María-Pilar Sáenz Navajas (Logroño, 1981) has developed her research activity in 6 national and international institutions: Technische Universität Wien (Austria, 2003-2004), Universidad de La Rioja (2005-2011), Centre du Goût et de l ́Alimentation (France, 2011-2013), Universidad de Zaragoza (2014-2020), University of California-Davis (USA, 2016) and the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (2020 to the present). María-Pilar is part of the Laboratory of Analysis of Aroma, Flavor and Oenology (LAAE-Rioja) of the ICVV and focuses her research activity on the development of conceptual, instrumental and methodological tools for the modelling of quality perception and the sensory properties of wine from its content in sensoactive molecules. The originality of this line of work lies in the fact that it is approached from a multidisciplinary perspective using tools from both food chemistry, sensory and consumer sciences. The ultimate goal is to understand the formation of aroma, taste and tactile sensations, and how these product characteristics or sensations are transformed into perception when interacting with the consumer, i.e., their expectations, memories and previous experiences, using tools of cognitive psychology.

María-Pilar has focused her research from the beginning on wine, since the wine industry is a very powerful socioeconomic engine in Spain, with great potential to become a nation producing high quality wine within the international scene. Her line of research aims to provide significant benefits to the oenological industry because understanding the sensory properties of wines and their relationship to chemical composition ultimately underpins consumer enjoyment and therefore market share and profitability. This line will lead to a better understanding of the compounds capable of increasing the perception of wine quality and will result in practices to optimize the composition of wine at different stages of production. The sensory properties of wines define their style and typicity, so increasing knowledge in this field will provide tools to the Spanish wine industry to promote its uniqueness and superiority with unique properties, linked to the territory and the rural environment.

Raquel Campos Herrera (Madrid, 1978), has developed her research activity mainly in 6 national and international institutions: Center for Environmental Sciences (CCMA-CSIC 2001-2006), University of Florida ( USA, 2008-2012), Institute of Agricultural Sciences (ICA-CSIC, 2012-2013), University of Neuchatel (Switzerland, 2013-2015), Universidade do Algarve (2015-2018), and Institute of Grapevine and Wine Sciences (ICVV-CSIC, 2018-current). Raquel brings together extensive experience in soil ecology in various agroecosystems, including vineyards, using entomopathogenic nematodes as model organisms. Her multidisciplinary approach has allowed her to investigate aspects of both soil ecology and biological control. Her contributions address issues of both the natural distribution of these nematodes and their assembly depending on the habitat and/or agricultural management in Spain, Florida (USA), Switzerland and Portugal, and the characterization of their symbiotic bacteria and their biotech application. Raquel Campos was a pioneer in the development of molecular tools to evaluate soil food webs associated with these nematodes. She has also investigated the impact of different soil organisms on biological control and crop productivity. In particular, the combined use of beneficial soil organisms to improve crop production and soil health, and the impact of the application of various entomopathogens (fungi, nematodes) and antagonists (free-living nematodes) against pests in the rhizosphere.

He currently leads the In-Vid group ( CSIC group reference 886222), focusing his research activity on the search for alternatives to traditional agrochemicals for pest control, with special emphasis in the vineyard, and focusing on two specific challenges (i) developing pest control bio-tools, and (ii) understanding how agronomic management impacts the agroecosystem to identify the most sustainable actions. On the one hand, it investigates new non-chemical alternatives for managing vine pests with low environmental impact based on the application of entomopathogenic nematodes or secondary metabolites produced by their symbiotic bacteria that allow the provision of new management tools for three key arthropods in the vineyard: Lobesia botrana, Tetranychus urticae and Philaenus spumarius (vector of Xylella fastidiosa). On the other hand, he addresses the study of the functional diversity of the vineyard, using nematodes as model organisms. The study of these organisms in vineyards under different management allows the development of soil health and resilience indicators, which allow the identification of the most sustainable practices in the long term.