Celebrating advances in spinal cord and brain research by Marató-funded projects

pgorostiza_allobet_IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Pau Gorostiza took part in the 17th Symposium of La Marató de TV3 this week, which was devoted to the celebration of the 30 research projects awarded funding by the telethon in 2010.

The event at the Institut d’Estudis Catalans on Wednesday, which included a poster session open to the public, featured round tables of experts discussing the findings of the projects, which covered research into the understanding, treatment and prognosis acquired spinal cord and brain injuries.

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The event was presided over by Antonio Andreu, Director General of Research and Innovation of the Ministry of Health; Núria Llorach, the vice president of the Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals and President of the Board of La Marató de TV3 foundation; Joandomènec Ros, president of IEC; and journalist and 2010 Marató host Albert Om.

Pau’s project with Dr. Artur Llobet of the UB’s Faculty of Medicine, “Regeneració de circuits neuronals mitjançant marcapassos optogenètics”, aimed to artificially maintain the activity of an injured neuronal circuit by selectively illuminating non-damaged neurons expressing light-activated proteins, or applying light-regulated drugs. “We’ve generated compounds in collaboration with Amadeu Llebaria that have a pharmacological activity that is controlled by exposure to light in vitro and that exercise control over the nervous system in vivo,” says Pau. “We were able to make a tadpole swim or stay still after being exposed to the alloswitch-1 molecule, depending on whether it was illuminated with green or blue light.” The next step will be to try to transfer these resutls to rodents, using experimental models of injuries to the nervous system.

On Thursday 16th June at 23:50 and Saturday 18th June at 20.30, TV3 will broadcast a special programme about the event, ‘La Marató dels investigadors’ by Albert Om, which will feature intereviews with some of the scientists involved, as well as with patients affected by brain and spinal cord injuries.

La Marató de TV3, which together with Televisió de Catalunya broadcasts an annual telethon to raise funds for scientific research into various diseases with a different theme each year, has the highest rate in the world of collected money per capita. Since 1992 it has raised over €151m euros by financing 723 projects involving 6,500 researchers.

IBEC in the Media:
TV3, “Presenten els treballs de recerca impulsats gracies a la Marató”