Scientist & Educator
An MD/PhD, Alirio Melendez’s expertise in various medical and biomedical fields reflects 17 years of experience.
Alirio has authored papers that appeared in over 70 research publications, 5 book chapters and 5 patents, and presented to over 50 conferences.
Alirio is a highly articulate and effective communicator with excellent team-building and interpersonal skills.
Alirio Melendez is an immunologist and biochemical researcher currently based in the United Kingdom.
Originally from Venezuela, Alirio Melendez has studied medicine and holds a PhD in Molecular Medicine. Medical faculties and research represent his life’s work: he holds a number of research publications in leading international scientific journals, as well as several book chapters and patents. Alirio is particularly fascinated by immunopharmacology, and has dedicated much of his life to research in this field. He is also a lover of travel and great food, and a devoted follower of Venezuelan baseball.
Alirio was the last of nine siblings from a working-class family in Venezuela. He had always wanted to be a doctor: he began his studies in Punto Fijo then Maracaibo, and was finally accepted into a cultural exchange program to go study in Russia. He spent seven years in Moscow studying medicine, before meeting his wife and following her to the UK, her country of origin. There, he had difficulty finding a job, because nobody would accept an Eastern European degree at the time. Finally, an advisor recommended that he get another degree: he was accepted into the third year of the University of Glasgow’s Honors Biochemistry program.
Immediately after graduating, Alirio was offered a position to work as a research assistant in a lab, while pursuing a PhD. He was not a British citizen at the time, so this was a phenomenal opportunity to get a foot in the door. He worked on his PhD for three years, and completed it in 1998, after which Pfizer offered him a place at their research institute in France. There, he worked on a Postdoctoral Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology, identifying new targets in inflammatory diseases.
Alirio Melendez was the first person to clone a human Sphingosine Kinase gene. He published his results in 2000, and the company was granted the patent a couple of years later, with his name on it. He continued working on other research, and has authored over 70 research publications. After three years in this field, Alirio moved on to academia: he was offered an assistant professorship at the National University of Singapore, where he won several awards. He taught undergraduates, masters, and PhD students in the areas of molecular and cell biology, immunology, pharmacology, and physiology. He was also published in a number of high-profile publications out of the National Academy of Sciences.
In 2007, Alirio moved back to the University of Glasgow’s Faculty of Medicine. He continued to oversee the Singaporean lab in which he had worked; for three years after his departure, he allowed his team of postdoctoral fellows to oversee the research, and visited every three or four months. In 2010, Alirio was offered a position at the University of Liverpool a chair of Immunophramacology, where he worked for two years, continuing his research in Immunopharmacology and Drug Safety Sciences. In 2012 Alirio moved to Venezuela as a Scientific Consultant for the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, where he advised on Biotechnology and pharmacology. Today, he acts as a freelance scientific consultant, at the moment consulting for a consortium based in France. He is currently advising a project that researches the role of inflammation in mental health disorders.