ERC funding for new diabetes approach at IBEC

javierramon2_tiIBEC’s Dr. Javier Ramón is one of just six researchers in Catalonia to have been awarded a 2016 Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC).

The senior researcher in the Biomimetic Systems for Cell Engineering group won funding for his project ‘Diabetes Approach by Multi-Organ-on-a-Chip’ (DAMOC) from Europe’s most prestigious funding body.

With the support, which will last for up to five years, Javier will start a new line to design a innovative new tool to test drugs for diabetes. As well as improving drug testing approaches, the multi-organ-on-a-chip device will provide new therapies to prevent the loss of beta cell mass and defects in the glucose uptake in skeletal muscle associated with type 2 diabetes.

“This project will give me the opportunity to have a multidisciplinary group of researchers working together from the beginning in a synchronized way, the most rewarding experience that a researcher can have,” he says.

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“Importantly, it will also enable me to support young researchers in starting or continuing their scientific career, something that is usually not easy.”

This year, the ERC has awarded 325 researchers across the continent with Starting Grants to give the early phases of their careers a kick-start. As well as IBEC’s winner, the other five successful researchers in Catalonia are at the Centre de Recerca en Economia Internacional (CREI), the Fundació Institut Català de Recerca de l’Aigua (ICRA), Pompeu Fabra University, the UPC and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

“At IBEC we’ve had ten ERC research grants in our short history of as many years, six of them Starting Grants,” says director Josep Samitier. “This latest achievement on Javier’s part shows IBEC’s continued commitment to excellence in research, and specifically our commitment to helping young researchers establish their own group at IBEC, as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence.”

The laboratory space (103.81 m2) that Javier will occupy as of 2017 as the new junior group leader of the Biosensors for Bioengineering group has been made possible thanks to PO FEDER Catalunya 2014-2020, which funds spaces and equipment at the institute through the project “Adequació de nous espais de laboratoris i adquisició d’equipament scientfic per a laboratoris de l’Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya de desenvolupament de tecnologies per la regenerativa y nanomedicina”.