Dr. Nogales is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator; a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley; and Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She obtained her B.S. degree in physics from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain). She did her thesis work at the Synchrotron Radiation Source (U.K.), under the supervision of Joan Bordas, on the structural dynamics of tubulin assembly, earning a Ph.D. degree from the University of Keele.
Her work in Kenneth Downing's group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory involved the use of electron crystallography to determine the high-resolution structure of tubulin.