Researchers of the Signal and information processing for sensing systems research group at IBEC, led by Santiago Marco, have designed a nanodrone that could identify toxic gases in buildings that collapsed due the effects of earthquakes or explosions. The new gadget, which weights thirty-five grams, could be useful to detect the presence of victims in closed spaces which are hard to enter.
Detecting dangerous gases in collapsed buildings due earthquakes or explosions and identifying the presence of victims in places which are hard to access are some action scenarios of SNAV (Smelling Nano Aerial Vehicle), a nanodrone designed and created by the researchers Santiago Marco and Javier Burgués, from the Faculty of Physics of the University of Barcelona and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC).
A system developed by researchers from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Centre of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona (CMR[B]) is capable of producing tissues in a laboratory that simulate the behaviour of the human heart. The tissues produced by this bioengineering system could be used to pre-evaluate the toxicity of drugs in the heart without using animal models.
Cardiovascular diseases are currently one of the leading causes of death worldwide. However, the factors that motivate or accentuate such heart diseases sometimes hide behind relatively unknown elements. Among other causes, drugs that are useful for curing or alleviating certain diseases can, at the same time, have side effects on other organs such as the heart, which experts refer to as cardiotoxicity.
A study led by researchers from IBEC and Imperial College London has identified a mechanism that regulates the regenerative failure in lesions of the central nervous system. For the first time, experts have also proven how the genetic or pharmacological inhibition of the new therapeutic target could overcome regeneration failure following spinal cord injury
Will I recover from this injury? Answering this question that many patients ask themselves after a fall or any other type of accident or disease is still a major challenge. And the fact is that the molecular mechanisms that discriminate between regeneration success or failure remain a mystery to science. Although lesions of the peripheral nervous system may be partially reversible, lesions of the central nervous system cannot regenerate themselves in the same way. This lack of regenerative capacity is mainly responsible for the functional deficits that appear after a spinal cord injury, for example.
A study led by researchers at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) opens the door to moving new microscopic objects using an entire library of enzymes According to experts, these microrobots will be able to be used in the near future for environmental and biomedical purposes.
Swallowing a pill to cure a serious disease or adding a pinch of a synthetic powder to purify water seemed like concepts from science fiction up to only a few generations ago. However, the appearance of new disciplines, such as bioengineering, is raising the level of sophistication and specialisation of new materials to unforeseen limits.
Scientists from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia develop a technique that enables them to work out the specific function of a neuronal receptor according to its location in the brain. The study, published in PNAS, is based on the activation of photoswitchable drugs with micrometric precision and offers new opportunities in neurobiology.
Schizophrenia, depression, myasthenia… Many neurological diseases are due to the malfunctioning of a neuronal receptor. These proteins, also known as neuroreceptors, are responsible for sending and detecting neurotransmitters, chemical substances that allow communication between neurons.
A research team led by the IBEC, in collaboration with the CMR [B], discovers a mechanism that generates binucleated cells.This mechanism has been identified during the regeneration of the heart of the zebrafish, and could be associated with the extraordinary regenerative power of this animal.
After an acute heart lesion, such as a myocardial infarction, the human heart is unable to regenerate. The adult cardiac cells cannot grow and divide to replace the damaged ones, and the lesion becomes irreversible. But this does not happen in all animals. A freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, known as a zebrafish, can completely regenerate its heart even after 20% ventricular amputation.
For the first time in humans, researchers from IBEC have simultaneously recorded the brain activity of the two key areas linked to memory: the hippocampus and the neocortex.
This study was made possible thanks to the voluntary participation of epilepsy patients who, due to their disease, have intracranial electrode implants. Making use of virtual reality, the participants performed spatial memory tasks. The taste of your favourite snack after school, your first kiss, that time you partied until dawn… Memories are a way of travelling into the past. Despite how easy it can be to remember a situation, the cerebral process taking place is complex and continues to be, for the most part, a mystery.
Researchers from the IBEC have developed a virtual reality-based system for rehabilitating patients with Broca’s aphasia. RGSa has been proven to improve communicative frequency and effectiveness in daily life, as well as sustaining improvements in testing after an 8-week period.
Rehabilitation to recover speech after brain damage is efficient, provided that it is carried out intensively, and can be included in relevant behavioural tasks. However, limited resources in healthcare systems cannot always provide said treatment in sufficient doses. Achieving a cost-effective, evidence-based rehabilitation method is one of the objectives targeted by the SPECS research group.
The Biomimetic systems for cell engineering group has developed a new method to generate 3D intestinal tissue using hydrogels. This new in vitro model has been improved by providing cells with a more physiologically realistic environment, including tissue architecture, cell-matrix interactions and chemical signalling while remaining compatible with standard cell characterization techniques.
Epithelial tissues contain complex three-dimensional microtopographies that are essential for their proper performance. These 3D microstructures provide cells with the physicochemical and mechanical signals needed to guide their self-organization into functional tissue structures and are key to their proper functioning.