IBEC is on the Steering Committee of a Future Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship proposal, the Personalised Health Care Initiative in Europe.
The large-scale initiative, if granted, will address the grand challenges of developing regenerative, precision and personalized medicine to improve the quality of life of billions of patients worldwide.
Coordinated from the University of Minho in Portugal, Personalised Health Care has a huge partner and supporter base of more than 125 academia and health institutes, 35 research institutes, 85 industry and associations, and 20 authority representatives. IBEC Director Josep Samitier and group leader Elisabeth Engel are among the 17 members of the steering committee, which includes academics and industry leaders from ten European countries, and the only ones from a partner located in Spain.
600 people attended the opening ceremony of “Bojos per la Ciència” (Crazy about Science), the Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera initiative that aims to encourage scientific vocation, at Món Sant Benet on Friday.
2018 will be the first year that IBEC takes part in the initiative, first launched in 2013, which offers courses to selected high school students who show aptitude in science.
IBEC’s course on bioengineering – which has 25 people enrolled – will introduce students to the multidisciplinary environment offered by the field, where different disciplines come together to solve health problems.
IBEC has signed a collaboration agreement with the Federación Española de Enfermedades Raras (FEDER), a non-profit organization that represents the three million people suffering from rare diseases throughout the country.
Rare diseases are those that affect fewer than 5 out of every 10,000 inhabitants. According to the WHO, there are about 7,000 such diseases affecting 7% of the world’s population, so altogether they affect a huge number of people – and they can appear at any stage of life. The agreement with IBEC will connect the institute with patients’ associations to develop projects together that have a direct application according to the needs of sufferers.
Maria Valls from IBEC’s Biomimetic systems for cell engineering group has won a PIONER prize from CERCA for her doctoral thesis.
She’s the second ever IBEC winner of one of these prestigious prizes, which since their launch in 2014 have recognised theses with results that are clearly aimed at commercial exploitation.
The jury described her thesis, ‘Development of an advanced 3D culture system for human cardiac tissue engineering’, as having “a high degree of complexity and promising results, which combines different disciplines within the field of bioengineering to create a bioreactor”.
The website of Faster Future, IBEC’s brand new fundraising programme, is now accepting donations.
The initiative, which is being launched this year in time for Giving Tuesday, aims to raise money to help accelerate research projects that are close to tackling major challenges in health.
The money donated via crowdfunding in this first edition will make possible the development of a new solution for muscular dystrophy being developed in Javier Ramon’s Biosensors for Bioengineering group. Their ‘muscle-on-a-chip’ will use a patient’s own cells to study myotonic dystrophy type 1, a progressive disability that begins in adulthood and affects 50,000 people in Spain alone. As well as modelling the patient’s disease in a personalized way, the platform will also allow the study of different drugs or treatments in conditions that mimic the body as closely as possible, as well as offering a more reliable alternative to animal models.
Next week IBEC will launch Faster Future, a new crowdfunding initiative that aims to help accelerate research projects that are close to tackling major challenges in health.
This year, Faster Future will be raising money for a new solution for muscular dystrophy being developed in Javier Ramon’s Biosensors for Bioengineering group. Their ‘muscle-on-a-chip’ will use a patient’s own cells to study myotonic dystrophy type 1, a progressive disability that begins in adulthood and affects 50,000 people in Spain alone.
As well as modelling the patient’s disease in a personalized way, the platform will also allow the study of different drugs or treatments in conditions that mimic the body as closely as possible, as well as offering a more reliable alternative to animal models.
Yesterday IBEC group leader Javer Ramon presented his research on developing organ-on-a-chip to study diabetes in IBEC’s public event forming part of this year’s Setmana de la Ciència.
About 70 visitors attended the talk in the PCB’s Sala Dolors Aleu where, following a tour of some of IBEC’s laboratory spaces and an introduction to IBEC by Coordinator of Events and Outreach Pilar Jiménez, Javier talked about his 3D biomimetic devices that will integrate technologies to detect glucose consumption and insulin production, as well as other biomarkers related to diabetes.
Javier’s on-a-chip approaches will also be the focus of IBEC’s first Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign on 28th November, when the public will be invited to support the development of a ‘muscle-on-a-chip’ as a model for a common form of muscular dystrophy.
Yesterday, the IBEC-organised B·Debate at CosmoCaixa museum was an intensive review of biomedical engineering as the foundation of many of the actions needed to improve the quality of life of our ageing population.
The event welcomed more than 75 international scientists, clinicians and other actors with affiliations ranging from ETH Zürich and the World Health Organization to IBM Research and Hospital Clinic. Under the theme of “Bioengineering for Healthy Ageing: adding life to years”, they presented and examined possible solutions bioengineering can provide to address the challenges an ageing population faces.
The event opened with a session outlining the challenges and opportunities of the rapid growth of the oldest age groups, a major societal challenge that will have a huge impact on health care.
Last week, the second 100xCiencia meeting, “Co-creating Value in Scientific Research”, brought together Spain’s Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu centers of excellence – among them IBEC – to analyze and discuss the transfer of scientific knowledge to industry.
IBEC director Josep Samitier, Head of Strategic Initiatives Teresa Sanchis, and Head of Technology Transfer Xavier Rubies were in attendance at the meeting in Alicante on November 2nd and 3rd, where Xavier also participated in a round table on the rights to intellectual property in various scientific fields.
The event was attended by the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, Carmen Vela, who opening meeting. She stressed that the resources put into institutions such as the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu centers of excellence are “an investment rather than spending”, and expressed her appreciation for the work that these cutting-edge research centers are doing.
IBEC gains a new group leader this month, with Prof. Silvia Muro joining the institute as an ICREA research professor to lead her Targeted Therapeutics and Nanodevices group.
In her new position, she will carry out research into macromolecular nano-assemblies which can be loaded with drugs to target the chronic conditions that affect our pediatric and ageing populations, such as neurodegenerative, cardiovascular or metabolic diseases, as well as cancer.
Prof. Muro spent the last nine years at the University of Maryland, first as an Assistant Professor and then as a tenured Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research.