Anaid Benitez


Anaid is a postdoctoral scientist 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 research currently explores the molecular mechanisms of chromosomal fragility at defined regions of the genome that are inherently prone to breakage, common fragile sites (CFS).


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 10 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, and understand replication stress-induced genomic instability.


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 that may benefit from specific chemotherapies targeting the DNA damage response.

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. Anaid will also be taking part in the highly competitive 2021 Cancer Tech Accelerator programme launched by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Capital Enterprise, and Roche UK, a new initiative from Cancer Research UK’s Entrepreneurial Programmes that aims to help researchers translate their innovative ideas into lifesaving technologies for the benefit of cancer patients.