IBEC to launch Faster Future, a new fundraising initiative, on Giving Tuesday

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.

Read more…

Finding out about diabetes approaches at IBEC’s Setmana de la Ciencia event

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.

Read more…

IBEC B·Debate looks at “Adding life to years”

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.

Read more…

IBEC participates in the 100xCIENCIA.2 meeting

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.

Read more…

IBEC’s newest group leader will advance drug delivery systems

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.

Read more…

FUNDALUCE grant for IBEC research into vision restoration

IBEC group leader and ICREA professor Pau Gorostiza has won the research grant ‘FUNDALUCE 2016’ for a project that aims to develop prosthetic molecular switches that could replace degenerated photoreceptors in the retina to restore vision.

“Fotoconmutadores covalentes para el control remoto de receptores endógenos”, which will be carried out with collaborators at IQAC-CSIC, the Universidad Miguel Hernández, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares and the Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante, proposes the concept of nanoprosthesis: that if a functional characteristic of an organ or tissue is regulated by a given receptor, it should be possible to use directed covalent photoswitches to control that particular receptor with light, thereby manipulating their function.

Read more…

IBEC group leader opens Premis ceremony

IBEC group leader Elena Martínez gave the opening speech at Tuesday’s Premis Extraordinaris de Batxillerat 2016-2017 ceremony at the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

IBEC regularly hosts young winners of the prestigious award, which is the government’s recognition of excellence for students completing their baccalaureate studies in the two years before university. To qualify, candidates need their total mark for the entire baccalaureate to equal or be more than 8,75.

As well as being something to put on their CV, the award offers exemption from university fees for the first year, a free course at an official language school, the possibility to participate in the National Baccalaureate Awards, and a stay in a research institution related to the student’s field of interest.

Read more…

SOMMa launches in Madrid

Directors and representatives of Spain’s 25 Severo Ochoa centres – including IBEC’s Josep Samitier – and 16 María de Maeztu units gathered in Madrid yesterday to launch SOMMa, an alliance aimed at raising the national and international profile of science in Spain.

Secretary of State for R&D+I Carmen Vela chaired the kick-off meeting, which defined the strategic and working plan for the coming months. Luis Serrano, director of Barcelona’s Centre for Genomic Regulation, will head the alliance over the next two years, while Teresa Garcia-Milà, director of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, will be its vice-president.

SOMMa will achieve its goal by promoting the exchange of knowledge, technology and best practices among its centres and units and with the international scientific community and other stakeholders, by cooperating with other research centres in Spain to strengthen the R&D+i system, and by being a voice in Spanish and European science policy.

Read more…

Visit of DGR staff to the PCB

This morning, about 35 members of staff from the Generalitat’s Direcció General de Recerca (DGR) came to the PCB to visit IBEC and the IRB, the two CERCA centres located there.

Director General of Research Francesc Subirada and Assistant Director General Iolanda Font de Rubinat and their colleagues – who work in finance, HR, IT and other administration roles – carry out visits like this every year to find out what goes on at the organizations that are members of CERCA, the Generalitat’s institution that supervises, supports and facilitates the activities of Catalonia’s research centres. In previous years they’ve also visited the PPRB and ICFO.

The joint program for the morning started with institutional talks by directors Josep Samitier (IBEC) and Joan Guinovart (IRB), pictured above, followed by a coffee break and then a tour of some of the labs and platforms of both the centres.

Read more…

Registration open for Bojos per la Ciència 2018

Registration for high school students is open until 23rd October for “Bojos per la Ciència” (Crazy about Science), the Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera initiative that aims to encourage scientific vocation.

2018 will be the first year that IBEC takes part in the programme, first launched in 2013, which offers courses – held on a series of Saturdays throughout the year – to selected high school students who show aptitude in science.

The theoretical-practical sessions taught by researchers at the participating research centers, which include IRB, CREI, ICN2, ICIQ and more, cover topics such as biochemistry, biomedicine, economics, physics, food, mathematics, nature, new technologies and chemistry.

Read more…