Josep Samitier and Núria Montserrat at the “Engineering and Manufacture of Living Systems” workshop in China

Last 9-11th of October took place in Beijing the workshop on “Engineering and Manufacture of Living Systems”. The aim of the workshop was to bring together multi-disciplinary researchers to review the latest advances and discuss the future directions in the design and manufacture of engineered living systems, and their integration amongst the researchers gathered at this international workshop.

The major topics discussed during the workshop were: to consider issues related to translation of engineered living systems from the laboratory to the clinic and to industry, review enabling and emerging techniques for using pluripotent cells from various sources such as cell spheroids, organoids and organs-on-a-chip, discuss the ethical, societal and regulatory issues associated with the development and manufacture of engineered living systems and envision future research, development and synergies at the integration and interface of biomanufacturing and engineering living systems amongst others. The meeting was organised by Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Rossella Castagna, postdoctoral researcher at IBEC wins the ISOP2019 prize

Rossella Castagna a postdoctoral researcher in the Nanoprobes and Nanowitches group at IBEC was awared with the ISOP2019 prize last week 9th International Symposium on Photochromism held in Paris. This recognition comes from her contribution to the field of photochromism and for the results that were collectively obtained in their group in the field of photopharmacology.

Rossella presented the group results on photoswitchable drugs at the reference international meeting for photochromism, held every 3 years, where she was awarded with the conference prize. According to the organizing committee, such a prize rewards the most talented young researchers whose contribution is expected to notably impact the field of photochromism.

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IBEC and EMBL join forces

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) aim to strengthen future collaboration between the two research institutions. With this purpose, IBEC Director’s Josep Samitier and Edith Heard, Director of EMBL, have signed a 5-year agreement at EMBL Barcelona headquarters.

This collaboration is the beginning of a working framework for activities between EMBL and IBEC which support strategic long-term scientific and general collaboration in areas of mutual interest. Some of the proposed join projects are a postdoc EMBL-IBEC program and a series of EMBL-IBEC seminars. Moreover, it is also planned to reinforce visitors’ exchange whereby scientific personnel affiliated to EMBL or IBEC will have the possibility to visit the facilities of the other institution in order to study research developments and techniques and to foster interdisciplinary collaborations.

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IBEC obtains a second Severo Ochoa accreditation for Excellence

The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia is one of the six centres in Spain to be awarded accreditation in this round of the Severo Ochoa Excellence programme. Furthermore, IBEC is the only center that receives this accreditation for the second time.

The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities published yesterday the results of the winners of this distinction, selected by an international panel of a hundred judges, for its scientific results and strategic programmes.

Severo Ochoa Excellence Awards identify and promote public research centres and units in Spain that stand out as international references in their specialized fields

IBEC Director Josep Samitier expressed his gratitude for the award and highlights that: “the obtention of the Severo Ochoa accreditation for the second time satisfies us greatly because it recognizes the leadership and excellence of IBEC activities both in research and in translation of the obtained results to society”.

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The directing board of the “Asociación Catalana de Fibrosis Quística” visits IBEC

Representatives of the board of directors of the Catalan Association of Cystic Fibrosis (ACFQ) recently visited IBEC laboratories to discuss the latest advances in bacterial resistance with Dr. Eduard Torrents, principal investigator at IBEC of the group of Bacterial infections: Antimicrobial therapies .

Eduard Torrents, with the support of the ACFQ since 2009, is investigating different antimicrobial strategies to eradicate infections associated with this disease. As on previous occasions, he showed his laboratory to the representatives of the association and shared with them the latest advances in the different lines he is currently developing. “Working with the patient association made me change the way I was doing my research, I want to find solutions,” he said.

On their behalf, the “Associació Catalana de Fibrosi Quística”, that since his foundation at 1988 backs the assistencial and researcher work, devotes a large part of its financial resources to achieve progress in treatment and research, providing different improvements to different research groups .

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Rob Surgical, the spin-off created by IBEC and the UPC, closes a €5 million investment round with Scranton Enterprises

Rob Surgical, the spin-off created by the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in 2012, has closed a €5 million investment round with the Dutch holding Scranton Enterprises to fund the final phase of the new Bitrack System and launch the product onto the market

Rob Surgical is a company which designs and develops new robotic systems for minimally invasive surgery. The investment will facilitate the obtention of the CE marking for the new Bitrack System, which will enable it’s break into the market to improve the effectiveness of current surgical robotics.

The Bitrack System will be an alternative to the current laparoscopy surgical robot Da Vinci and will be an improvement on what is currently available in terms of efficiency.

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Great success of the Mechanobiology of Cancer Summer School 2019 organised by the Mechano·Control project

More than 60 people attended the “Mechanobiology of Cancer Summer School 2019” organised by IBEC as the center is in charge of coordinating the Mechano·contorl project. The summer school was held in Prullans, a tiny village located at the Catalan Pyrinees between 17 and 21 of September. The event was a great success both in participation and scientific level. The aim of the summer school was to provide training on mechanobiology, and specifically its application to breast cancer, and promote interactions between professionals of the field.

The school included lectures as well as practical workshops in different techniques and disciplines, ranging from modelling to biomechanics to cancer biology. The Mechano·Control project, coordinated by Pere Roca-Cusachs, principal investigator of the IBEC is the largest European project coordinated by the IBEC to date.

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Three researchers from IBEC awarded with grants from “la Caixa” for their pioneering and high social impact research

José Antonio del Río, Pau Gorostiza, and Samuel Sánchez have been awarded in two of the “la Caixa” calls.

José Antonio del Río, principal investigator of the Molecular and Cellular Neurobiotechnology Group at IBEC, is one of the winners of the second edition of the call for applications in biomedicine and health. Del Río’s project focuses on analysing the molecular mechanisms involved in the genesis and propagation of tau protein in brain cells. This protein is linked with several neurodegenerative processes and is present in numerous diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Pau Gorostiza, principal investigator of the Nanoprobes and Nanoswitches Group, also received an award at the second edition of the call for applications for research projects in biomedicine and health. In this case, for his project on degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa, which causes blindness due to the progressive degeneration of the cones and rods, which are the light sensitive cells.

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IBEC researcher awarded with an ERC Starting Grant to fight tuberculosis

IBEC researcher Loris Rizzello receives 1.5 million Euros from the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for his PANDORA project, focused on creating a new therapy to eradicate tuberculosis.

Last September 3rd the European Research Council (ERC) announced the projects awarded with an “ERC Starting Grant”. Among the 408 projects selected is the PANDORA project of Dr. Loris Rizzello, a researcher of the Nanobioengineering group of the IBEC led by Prof. Josep Samitier.
The PANDORA project of Dr. Rizzello aims to revolutionize the way we cure infections caused by intracellular pathogens, finding an universal therapy able to attack infectious diseases and, at the same time, avoiding antibiotic resistance. More specificially, the winning project of the prestigious ERC Starting Grant will seek solutions that help eradicate tuberculosis, one of the worst pandemics so far, identifying the molecular “barcode” of infected cells, in order to design polymeric nanoparticles that selectively attack infected cells, without affecting healthy cells.

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International experts in Bioengineering meet in Barcelona on the occasion of the 12th IBEC Symposium

On Wednesday July 17th, the 12th IBEC Annual Symposium was held at the Hotel Catalonia Plaza in Barcelona. With the participation of more than 300 assistants and the exhibition of more than 102 scientific posters, this year, the event focused on Bioengineering for active aging – one of the three main research areas of IBEC- and had the participation of three MIT speakers (Massachusets Institute of Technology), among others.

“Active aging” or “healthy life expectancy” is an indicator defined by WHO as the equivalent in years of life that individuals are expected to live in good health, and that is approximately a world average of 10 years Less than life expectancy. In recent years, researchers from around the world have put their attention on this indicator, because life expectancy is increasing and also the possibility of suffering diseases associated with aging, which puts the current health system at risk that will have to strengthen its effectiveness in the areas of health promotion and prevention.

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