Javier Ramón, new ICREA professor at IBEC

Javier Ramón, Group Leader of the “Biosensors for Bioengineering” group at IBEC, has been appointed new Research Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, ICREA. Currently IBEC hosts 8 ICREA Professors out of 22 group leaders.

Since last April 1, Dr. Javier Ramón, Group Leader at IBEC, has become part of the ICREA Research Professors community. ICREA is a foundation funded by the Catalan Government aimed at recruiting the most extraordinary and talented international scientific researchers. With this appointment, IBEC hosts 8 ICREA Professors and 2 ICREA Academia (UB affiliated professors), one of the highest numbers among all research centres in Catalonia.

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From Japan to IBEC towards European excellency in health research

After a stay in Japan as an associated researcher and Assistant Professor at the University of Hygo and Tohoku, Javier Ramón joined IBEC in 2015 after obtaining the prestigious grant “Ramón y Cajal”. In early 2017, he joined the Junior Group Leader programme promoted by IBEC to attract and promote young talent, with the support of the Severo Ochoa Programme and of “Fundació la Caixa”. That same year he obtained the prestigious “ERC Starting Grant“, worth 1.5 million euros, to develop the DAMOC In Jat with the aim to design a multi-organ-on-a-chip to test drugs against Diabetis. In January 2020, Professor Ramón received almost three million euros of funding to lead the BLOC project funded by the European Union as part of the programme H2020 Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). The FET programme was born with the purpuse to promote radically new lines of technology through multidisciplinary collaborations and cutting-edge engineering, to turn Europe’s excellent science base into a competitive advantage.

Furthermore, his “Muscle-on-a-chip” project to fight muscular dystrophy represented the first edition of “IBEC Faster Future“, a fundraising campaign that seeks to accelerate research projects that are close to tackling major challenges in health, collaborating with a hospital and the muscular dystrophy association of patients.

Organs-on-a-chip to fight diseases

Javier Ramón’s research is focused on a field that has become highly relevant in recent years, the well-known “Organs-on-a-chip”. The group led by Javier Ramón integrates biosensor technology and nanotechnology with stem cell research and with tissue engineering.

This combination of fully functional tissues with microscale biosensors technology enables the desing of devices that can be used, for example, in pharmaceutical assays to test drugs with the patient’s own cells and also to develop knowledge about tissue construction and its functions and it’s relation to human diseases.

More about ICREA

ICREA was born as a response to the need to seek new hiring formulas that would allow it to compete on equal terms with other high-level research systems, aimed at hiring excellent scientific and academic staff to work in Catalonia. The institution works with universities and research centres to integrate ICREA Research professors into the Catalan research system. Every year ICREA offers new researcher positions and continues to promote research in Catalonia in all fields of knowledge, from the field of humanities and social sciences to experimental sciences, life sciences or engineering. ICREA Research Professors form a dynamic community of scientists and researchers from all areas of knowledge. There are currently more than 270 ICREA researchers who carry out their research in more than 50 host institutions in Catalonia.