The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) organized from the 27th to the 28th October its 13th Symposium. The event, that this year took place for the first time online, was focused on Bioengineering for Future & Precision Medicine. With more than 400 registered attendees, 18 flash presentations and 106 posters, the event also counted with contributions from top international speakers such as Robert Langer from the MIT, Ada Cavalcanti of the University of Heidelberg or Raquel Yotti, Director of the Carlos III Health Institute, among others.
This year, the IBEC Symposium focused on one of our three main research areas at IBEC: Future and Precision Medicine. More than 400 attendees registered to enjoy the talks of international speakers, the 18 flash presentations and 106 posters, which contributed to a unique event that is already becoming an international benchmark in bioengineering.
The opening ceremony was conducted by Josep Samitier, Director of IBEC, by Robert Fabregat, General Director of Research and Innovation in Health of the Ministry of Health at Generalitat of Catalunya; by Alfredo González Gómez, Secretary General of Digital Health, Information and Innovation from the Spanish Ministry of Health and by Professor Francesc Torres, rector of the UPC. All of them pointed out the importance of research in the bioengineering field for its application to the present and future of health. Professor Francesc Torres also highlighted the importance of engineering and bioengineering in the future of the society, as an important tool to improve the technology and health.
Afterwards, Núria Montserrat from IBEC was the chairperson of the round table about ”Clinical translation of 3D in vitro and organoids systems to model diseases and accelerate drug development”. Maurice Whelan, Head of EU Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL ECVAM); Anton Ussi, Operations & Finance Director for EATRIS and Raquel Yotti, Director of the ”Instituto de Salud Carlos III”, discussed about the use of organoids as new opportunities for precision and personalized medicine. Dr. Yotti highlighted the need of a transdisciplinary research and innovation involving engineers, scientists, medical doctors and industry partners where they work together for health.
The first day of the Symposium concluded with the contribution of the great new generation of bioengineering researchers from IBEC, with excellent flash presentations and posters.
The IBEC Symposium is also a place to see how the IBEC community grows around the world through the work of the IBEC alumni. The second day began with a presentation from Javier Gómez Fernández, one of the first PhD students graduated from IBEC, under the direction of Dr. Josep Samitier. He is currently working at Singapore University of Technology and Design and gave an excellent talk about biomimetics materials in medicine.
The PhD and the Postdoc Committee also had the opportunity to introduce themselves during the Symposium and to make a call to all their colleagues at IBEC to join their respective committees.
Two first class researchers were in charge of closing the scientific program of the 13th IBEC Symposium. Ada Cavalcanti, from Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and “Privat Dozent” at the University of Heidelberg gave some insights and presented her great work on how to design material surfaces for the control of growth factor and on surface functionalization strategies to control integrin clustering and cellular adhesion forces.
The last speaker,, who was introduced by IBEC´s Director Josep Samitier, was Professor Robert Langer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, who is nothing less than the most cited engineer in the world. He is a pioneer in nanomedicine, tissue engineering and is considered the father of the “intelligent delivery of drugs. Dr. Langer gave a magnific talk on microtechnologies and nanotechnologies in the new ways to perform drug delivery. An inspiring talk that begun several years ago: “When I went to work to the hospital, I was the only engineer there. Some ideas that seemed impossible many years ago, are now a reality” explained Langer. You can read more about Professor Langer in our piece “The Edison of Medicine visits IBEC”.
The Symposium came to an end with the announcement of the 13th IBEC Symposium Awards: to the best Flash Presentation for Maria Guix from the Smart Nano-Bio-Devices group at IBEC; the most liked video for Rosalba Sortino from the Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches group at IBEC; the best posters for Cristina Adrover from “Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Illes Balears (IdISBa)” and Adrianna Glinkowska from the Nanoscopy for Nanomedicine group at IBEC and the IBEC doctoral certificate of excellence for Javier Burgués from the Signal and information processing for sensing systems at IBEC. You can catch up awards announcements on twitter #IBECSymposium.
We are already looking forward to the 14th IBEC Symposium next year, which will be focused on “Bioengineering for regenerative therapies”, see you there!