Ángela Mouriz is a medical pioneer in Spain: She graduated from medical school in Spain in 1948, in a class of just eight women and more than 200 men. This was just the start of a career marked by trailblazing. She earned her doctorate at Complutense University of Madrid in 1956, laying the foundation for a successful academic career which took her to the medical faculty at the University of Navarre in Pamplona where she broke a gender barrier as the faculty's first female researcher. In 1955, Dr Juan Jiménez Vargas offered her a position in the newly founded faculty of the young university - which has developed into one of Spain’s most prestigious faculties today - and she said yes to this new adventure. “It was hard because we were starting from scratch. At the same time however, it was also exciting because everything was open to us: it was a world full of possibilities”, she said the day of her 100th birthday, recalling those early years. In Pamplona she taught physiology and pharmacology. But the dean soon asked her to focus on the latter. “I wasn’t particularly interested in this field but this was what our university needed for its students”, said Ángela Mouriz.
As a Humboldt Research Fellow, Ángela Mouriz moved to Munich in 1965 to work with Otto Creutzfeldt at the German Research Institute of Psychiatry, the predecessor of today’s Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry. In doing so, she followed in the footsteps of her father José Mouriz Riesgo, who was a doctor and likewise spent some time in Germany conducting research at the Royal Institute for Experimental Therapy in Frankfurt whose director was the Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich. Since she attended the German School in Madrid as a child, she spoke and still speaks perfect German.
Ángela Mouriz taught at the University of Navarre for 30 years. She experienced and supported the development of the university and many of the projects she launched, all the while paving the way for many women in her field. Although she retired 30 years ago, her interest in her area of research continues to be strong and the university which she helped build is still dear to her heart. A visible sign of this is a chain with a silver medal which the university awarded her in recognition of her many years of service. She wears it every day.
We wish her all the best and continued good health!
Many thanks to Olga Brajnović for her research on Ángela Mouriz.