After graduating from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zaragoza (Spain) Maria moved to Northern Ireland, where she gained five years of experience as a veterinary practitioner in a mixed practice. She joined the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) as a Veterinary Research Officer in 2005, working initially on contingency planning for epizootic diseases such as avian influenza and swine fever. From January 2008 Maria managed the diagnostic virology laboratory (classical and molecular virology) and serology at AFBI’s Veterinary Sciences Division, becoming Technical Manager for ISO17025 accredited serological and molecular tests. Maria has worked in the AFBI Cattle Health Scheme (CHS) since 2008, leading and coordinating it since 2010. This is a voluntary scheme which provides disease management programmes with the objective of accrediting disease-free or risk level status for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD), infectious bovine rhinotraqueitis (IBR), leptospirosis, neosporosis and Johne’s disease. For the last 10 years she has been involved in several research projects related to endemic diseases of cattle, focusing mostly on BVD and IBR. These projects have studied the diagnosis, epidemiology, cost and control of these diseases. Maria has been a member of Animal Health Ireland BVD and IBR Technical Working Groups since 2010 and 2011 respectively as well Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland BVD Implementation Group since it was set up. She was awarded a PhD from Queens University, Belfast, in 2015 for research on BVD. She has been Head of the Disease Surveillance and Investigation Branch in AFBI which delivers passive animal disease surveillance for Northern Ireland, since 2013 until joining Animal Health Ireland in 2018.