The Clinical Immersion Program for PhD students is an initiative Entrepreneurship Program of the IBEC and the College of Physicians of Barcelona (CoMB). Its objective is to connect IBEC doctoral students with clinical specialists to promote the translation of research results into clinical practice
The Entrepreneurship Program of the College of Physicians of Barcelona (CoMB) and IBEC has launched the Clinical Immersion Program for Ph.D. students, an initiative that aims to connect IBEC doctoral students with clinical specialists to promote the translation of research results into clinical practice.
The clinical specialists will mentor the students throughout the development of the doctoral thesis and give them their medical vision on the relevance of the problem to be solved, the best translational approach, and other potential uses of the technology for other pathologies initially not foreseen.
“This initiative fits into what, ideally, should be the research in medicine”Elena Élez
“This initiative fits into what, ideally, should be the research in medicine,” says Dr. Elena Élez, medical oncologist and researcher in the Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Tumors group at Vall d’Hebron Hospital and one of the first mentors of the program: “Of course it allows us to answer relevant questions for our patients more efficiently while offering doctoral students and participating centers the possibility of building bridges of collaboration that lead to achieving this goal.”
Élez will mentor the doctoral thesis of Meritxell Serra-Casablancas, a student of the research group in Smart nano-bio-devices, led by researcher Samuel Sánchez Ordóñez. The project aims to improve the release of chemotherapy drugs by nanomotors capable of crossing mucus, which offen reduces the effectiveness of therapies. Serra-Casablancas explains that she is “very happy with the program. From the first moment I have had the opportunity to interact with oncologists from the main hospitals in Barcelona. Thanks to these meetings, we have identified an unmet medical need where we believe our technology could be a competitive advantage.”
“Being able to mentor an IBEC postdoctoral researcher is an opportunity to give a clinical context to a basic science project, helping its healthcare applicability in the future.”Javier Aparicio
The other mentoring has been between Dr. Javier Aparicio, head of the Epilepsy Unit of SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital, and Luisa Camerin, student of the research group in Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches, led by the researcher Pau Gorostiza. The project seeks the development of photoswitchable compounds to modulate neuronal activity to treat diseases such as drug-resistant epilepsy. Regarding the research, Camerin expects “feedback on basic experiments with animal models and how to project them to get future therapies that can help people.” On the other hand, Aparicio believes that “being able to mentor an IBEC postdoctoral researcher is an opportunity to give a clinical context to a basic science project, helping its healthcare applicability in the future.”
The program is seeking mentors for other lines of research, such as the development of a microfluidic 3D model of the blood-brain barrier or the creation of a molecular photostimulation system for sensory restoration.