Prof. Félix M. Goñi Urcelay

Félix M. Goñi (San Sebastián, Spain, 1951) earned his MD in Navarra (1975) and became interested in Biophysics during summer courses at the Gulbekian Foundation (Oeiras, Portugal) under N. van Uden. His post-doctoral work under D. Chapman (Royal Free Hospital, London) involved studies of lipid-protein interactions in membranes. From 1984 he has been a full Professor of Biochemistry at the University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain). His research deals with molecular interactions in membranes, with particular attention to lipids and detergents. He has published over 300 research papers, that have been cited more than 14,000 times. In 1999 he founded the Unidad de Biofísica, a joint centre of the University of the Basque Country and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and he was Head of this institute from 2002 to 2015. He has chaired the Publications Committee of FEBS (2006-2011) and the International Relations Committee of the U.S. Biophysical Society (2011-2016). He was President of the Spanish Biophysical Society (1992-1998), and of the Spanish Biochemical Society (2017-2020). In 2019/20 he was Parkin Visiting Professor at the University of Bath. In 2013 he was awarded the Avanti-EBSA Lipid Award, and in 2021 he has received a Humboldt Research Award.

Talk abstract

This talk originates from the reflections of a practicing  biophysicist, that is, the speaker, while cooking at home, either  everyday or at festive dinners. Both the activities, biophysics and  cooking, were independently learned and incorporated into the  speaker’s life at different stages. Yet at some point, the biophysical  reasoning permeated into the cooking of recipes. The biophysical  interpretation of cooking has evolved to include other main subjects,  such as the survival of vitalism in the mirage of ‘natural food’, the  formalization of cooking as a pre digestion and the democratization of  good food through food technology. Is there a “magic of cooking”?  Well, there might be…