This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Centres de Recerca de Catalunya
© Copyright 2010 Produced by: Office of Communications and External Relations Institute for Research in Biomedicine — IRB Barcelona Baldiri Reixac, 10 08028 Barcelona, Spain www.irbbarcelona.org Editing and layout: Anna Alsina Design: Nicola Graf Photography: Raimon Solà (group photos), Maj Britt Hansen, Marta Pérez (pp. 43, 65, 66), Roland Pache (p. 67), Office of Communications and External Relations Printing: Puresa/La Trama Legal deposit: B-7910-2010
This document has been printed using environmentally-friendly paper produced from sustainable forestry initiatives.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Table of Contents
Science at IRB Barcelona
Cell and Developmental Biology Programme ....................... Structural and Computational Biology Programme ............... Molecular Medicine Programme ...................................... Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Programme ............. Oncology Programme ................................................... Core Facilities ........................................................... MetCentre................................................................ 18 23 28 32 36 39 43
4 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Facts and Figures
Board of Trustees ....................................................... Executive Board ......................................................... External Advisory Board ............................................... Funding Sources ......................................................... Scientific Output Summary ........................................... Academic Training ...................................................... Technology Transfer Activities ........................................ Barcelona BioMed Seminars ........................................... IRB Barcelona Events ................................................... Outreach Activities ..................................................... IRB Barcelona in the News............................................. IRB Barcelona Organisation Chart .................................... Directorate and Administration Staff ............................... Human Resources Statistics ........................................... Researcher Affiliations ................................................ Barcelona Science Park ................................................ 46 47 48 49 50 55 59 60 65 68 69 71 72 73 75 77
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Forging ahead at the frontier of biomedical research
of Catalonia, launched in 2005. The aim of this document is to provide an overview of the activities and developments that have taken place within the IRB Barcelona research community over the past year. Accompanying this edition is a DVD which contains a further selection of IRB Barcelona publications, including the 2009 Scientific Report (a detailed summary of the work carried out during the year by our research groups and core facilities), Science Stories from IRB Barcelona (a book aimed at a non-specialist audience that features a selection of research projects currently being carried out at the Institute) as well as other documents that provide a snapshot of life inside the laboratory.
his is the 2009 Annual Report of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), a young and dynamic research centre in the heart
2009 was a year for increased growth and improvement at IRB Barcelona. First, our Oncology Programme expanded in May with the arrival of researcher Travis Stracker from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Stracker and his group focus their research on genomic instability and cancer. They hope to further their understanding of how DNA damage response affects key signal transduction networks, and how this impairment can lead to tumour development. The Advanced Digital Microscopy (ADM) Core Facility, a joint adventure of IRB Barcelona and the Barcelona Science Park, was officially launched in April. Under the leadership of Julien Colombelli (previously at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany), the facility provides a complete range of light microscopy imaging services to the IRB Barcelona and PCB research communities as well as to visiting scientists. The addition of the ADM brings to six the number of core facilities that IRB Barcelona has created for the
6 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
8 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
IRB Barcelona’s main priority remains the continued pursuit of excellence in research through the improvement of existing programmes and the addition of talented new research groups
benefit of the scientific community at the Barcelona Science Park. A new Department of Innovation and Strategic Projects, led by Jorge Domínguez, was established in March. The department assists IRB Barcelona members in identifying, protecting, developing and commercialising their discoveries and inventions with the goal of ensuring that research ultimately reaches and benefits the public. In December, Màrius Rubiralta resigned from his group leader position in the Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Programme in order to attend to his duties in the Spanish government. IRB Barcelona is indebted to Dr Rubiralta for the key role he played in creating the Barcelona Science Park as well as the Institute. Elena Sancho’s research group merged with that of Eduard Batlle, thus reinforcing our research efforts in colon cancer. IRB Barcelona’s main priority remains the continued pursuit of excellence in research through the improvement of existing programmes and the addition of talented new research groups. Angel R Nebreda will join the Institute from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (Madrid) early in 2010, thus strengthening and reinforcing the Oncology Programme. The Molecular Medicine Programme is also in the process of recruiting a new group leader. IRB Barcelona also completed the first round of the pre-evaluation process for those group leaders who have
been with us for more than three years. The feedback received from the reviewers served to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to foster the continued improvement of the Institute’s research programmes.
On the right road
IRB Barcelona’s External Advisory Board, a group of 15 leading international researchers who help guide us in shaping our research and related activities, held their second meeting at the beginning of May. The goals of the meeting were to review the implementation of the Board’s earlier recommendations, to evaluate the Cell and Developmental Biology and Structural and Computational Biology Programmes, to familiarise themselves with newly recruited group leaders and facility heads and to advise IRB Barcelona on the development of our future strategic plan. The Board evaluated the implementation of improvements in a variety of areas, and advised us to continue
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
IRB Barcelona researchers enjoyed considerable success in 2009 in obtaining funding for scientific projects from the European Union
to build on the strengths of our programmes and our training potential in order to position IRB Barcelona at the forefront of biomedical research. They also studied the Strategic Plan, which will guide the growth of the Institute for the next six years.
Focus on training
Training activities at IRB Barcelona forge ahead at an exciting pace. Ten talented new students from nine different countries joined the ”la Caixa”/IRB Barcelona International PhD Programme in September and will spend the next four years doing research toward their doctoral degrees in an IRB Barcelona group. The annual ”la Caixa” call was supplemented in 2009 with a second national-level call, which allowed a further five students to begin their studies. This represents a unique opportunity in that it offers a possibility for students to begin their doctoral studies at IRB Barcelona even before national fellowship calls are launched. Our PhD students continue to be extremely active and in 2009 organised a series of activities including student seminars, ‘cool-off sessions’ and a football league, all aimed at creating possibilities for scientific and social interaction among their community. One major achievement in 2009 was the celebration of the First IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium, ‘The Architecture of Life’, on November 2-3. The symposium was organised in its entirety by the IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium Committee, and welcomed distinguished speakers, including 2009 Nobel Laureate Ada Yonath. The symposium was a great success and represents an enormous achievement for our students.
Competitiveness in attracting resources
IRB Barcelona researchers enjoyed considerable success in 2009 in obtaining funding for scientific projects from the European Union. Under the 7th Framework Programme’s Health section, over five million euros during three years were awarded to two projects coordinated by IRB Barcelona researchers: Mephitis, led by group leader Lluís Ribas de Pouplana, will study the formation of proteins in the parasite involved in the transmission of malaria, and MITIN, led by group leader Antonio Zorzano, is a pioneering project that will use bioinformatics approaches to obtain information about the complex disease diabetes. Zorzano is also heading up a consortium called DIOMED (Diabetes, Obesity and Medicine) as part of the EU’s Interreg IV B SUDOE programme, aimed at fostering the technological development of southern Europe. DIOMED will receive more than 800,000 euros’ funding over three years. During 2009 IRB Barcelona researchers also participated in several national research networks, including CONSOLIDER, CIBERBBN, CIBERDEM, CIBERER, CIBERNED and RETIC.
10 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 11
12 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Training activities at IRB Barcelona forge ahead at an exciting pace
Postdoctoral training also received a boost in 2009 when four new postdocs took up their positions as a result of an interdisciplinary call launched in 2008. This initiative aims to foster collaborations within IRB Barcelona’s research areas and successful candidates are now carrying out their projects involving two of the Institute’s research programmes. Postdoc opportunities at the Institute will expand even further, as IRB Barcelona has been awarded a substantial grant from the EU’s Marie Curie Programme. We will receive nearly one million euros over the next four years to recruit outstanding international postdoctoral researchers. We expect to fill the first positions in 2011. Following the example of the PhD students, postdoctoral researchers also coalesced and launched some activities to support their community in this critical time of their careers. They formed a council who will help to facilitate interaction, both scientific and social, among postdocs from across the Institute, and will liaise with IRB Barcelona management. They have collaborated in the organisation of training courses and career development activities.
metastasis. The Scientific Coordinator of the MetCentre is IRB Barcelona Adjunct Director Joan Massagué. Since its launch, the MetCentre has begun a regular seminar and group discussion series, which brings together researchers from the Hospital Clínic, the Vall d’Hebron Hospital, the Hospital del Mar, the Hospital de Sant Pau and IRB Barcelona.
Establishment of the MetCentre
A new project at IRB Barcelona, called the MetCentre, was officially launched in July, during a visit to the Institute by the President of the Government of Catalonia, José Montilla. The MetCentre is a network of basic and clinical researchers working on different aspects of
Extending our networks
In addition to the formal collaborations that IRB Barcelona has with the University of Barcelona and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, a new initiative was launched in 2009 to bring basic researchers at IRB Bar-
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 13
celona and clinical researchers at a number of centres across Barcelona closer together. Through the Institut d’Investigacions Sanitàries Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS, a series of scientific exchange meetings was launched to discuss local research developments in a variety of topics related to human health. Meetings held in 2009 focused on cancer, neurosciences, metabolic and liver diseases, and infectious diseases and world health.
In just over four short years, IRB Barcelona has managed to achieve remarkable results. This can be seen in the success we have attained in recruiting top-level scientists from around the world, in achieving a respectable standard of publication, in attracting important resources from competitive international funds, in creating the infrastructure and activities necessary to facilitate excellence in our scientific and training endeavours, and in establishing strategic and fruitful collaborations. 2009 was no exception to this and no doubt we have taken major steps forward to achieving our goals.
IRB Barcelona continued to promote a series of outreach activities. The Barcelona BioMed Conferences, which were started in 2006, have established a firm niche in the international setting and continue to attract an outstanding line up of speakers for each event. In addition, several workshops and the forum dedicated to ‘Science and Art’ demonstrated the capacity of IRB Barcelona to draw a wide range of audiences.
Joan J Guinovart
14 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 15
Science at IRB Barcelona
Cell and Developmental Biology Programme Structural and Computational Biology Programme Molecular Medicine Programme Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Programme Oncology Programme Core Facilities MetCentre
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 17
Cell and Developmental Biology Programme
n a scale stretching from the size of single molecules up to a multicellular organism, the cell lies almost exactly in the middle, and it is the link between the two levels. By transforming information in its genome into proteins and other molecules, a cell knows when to divide, what shape to take on, and how it should behave to build a multicellular organism. Whether that body develops in a healthy way or suffers from disease can usually be traced back to what happens within cells. The Cell and Developmental Biology Programme aims to reveal how these levels are linked by looking deeply into the cell to study how structures arise and contrib-
ute to the construction of an organism. Until about two decades ago, these questions were addressed in quite separate disciplines, but have since been drawn together into one which is showing rapid growth. Cell biologists are getting a handle on the processes that enable cells to create larger structures, and developmental biologists are now looking at the cellular mechanisms that underlie the growth of embryos. Bringing these themes together requires multidisciplinary experimental approaches that stem from modern molecular biology, classical genetics, biochemistry, advanced microscopy and state-of-the-art genomic and proteomic methods. The groups explore topics that include how signals are passed within and between cells, what controls cell migration and intercalation, how boundaries form between tissues during development and how tissue growth is controlled. Other themes include microtubule organisation, cell division in development and disease, epigenetic regulation and chromatin function, and how controlling the output of genes can be used for biomedical purposes. The research groups that form part of the Programme pursue these questions in several model organisms, among these yeast, Drosophila, frogs, mice and human parasites.
18 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Within the nucleus: chromatin structure and function
No cell produces RNAs and proteins from all of its genes all of the time. Part of the reason for this is that the DNA in the nucleus is wrapped around proteins and other molecules in a form called chromatin. These molecules have a crucial role because they help pack a huge amount of DNA into the small space of the nucleus; another function is to make genes accessible (or inaccessible) to the machinery that transforms them into other types of molecules. Ferran Azorín’s lab studies the molecular processes that structure chromatin and thus control its biological effects. The main question they work on addresses how large blocks of DNA are rendered inactive, also known as ‘silencing’, and how the cell keeps them that way. Several regions of DNA are almost permanently silenced; others are switched on and off to achieve particular developmental effects. Azorín and his colleagues study both types.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Ferran Azorín I Research Associates: Jordi Bernués, Maria Lluïsa Espinàs I Postdoctoral Fellows: Martí Badal, Anne Daulny, Joan Font, Olga Moreno, Mónica Torras I PhD Students: Marta Batlle, Marta Blanch, Sergi Cuartero, Roman Kessler, Marta Lloret, Sonia Medina, Olivera Vujatovic I Research Assistants: Carles Bonet, Gemma Molla, Alicia Vera I Lab Technician: Ester Fuentes I Visiting Student: Nina Schuback (Germany)
Signals that organise cells into body structures
Building a complex organism requires that cells specialise by changing the way they divide, their shape, and behaviour, such as when and where they migrate. These morphogenetic changes are coordinated by cues from the environment, for instance, molecules secreted by other cells. These must be interpreted properly inside the cell, which means passing information along a pathway of signalling molecules. The same signal may have distinct effects at different times and places in the body. Many of the pathways have been conserved over the course of evolution, so studies of model organisms, such as the fruit fly, can provide insights into the development of humans and other animals. Jordi Casanova’s lab focuses on this process using the trachea and the Torso receptor signalling pathway in flies as developmental models.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Jordi Casanova I Research Associates: Sofia Araújo, Andreu Casali, Xavier Franch, Marc Furriols I Postdoctoral Fellows: Kyra Campbell, Louis Gervais, Gaelle Le Breton I PhD Students: Elisenda Buti, Gaylord Darras, Marco Grillo, Oscar Martorell I Research Assistant: Nicolas Martin I Lab Technicians: Nuria
Molist, Yolanda Rivera 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 19
The basis of cell division
Every cell in our bodies arose when a parent cell divided. Cell division involves the perfect timing of multiple events, and how it happens depends on the context: division works differently in the cells of the early embryo, or as stem cells specialise into blood, neurons and hundreds of other cell types, or within a rapidly growing tumour. Combining genetics, molecular biology, and advanced in vivo microscopy, Cayetano González’s lab follows a multidisciplinary approach to study cell division. As model systems they use Drosophila as well as cultured cells from vertebrates. Ongoing projects include the study of the mitotic spindle (an assembly of fibres which pulls chromosomes into two sets), the study of newly discovered proteins that make up structures called centrosomes, and models of cancer development in the fruit fly.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Cayetano González I Research Associate: Elena Rebollo I Postdoctoral Fellows: Jens PhD Student: Ana Janic I Research Assistants: Jan Peter Heinen, Salud Llamazares I Lab Manager: Nuria López
Januschke, Bart Lesage, José Reina, Fabrizio Rossi, Zhanna Shcheprova
The microtubule cytoskeleton: a matter of organisation
Microtubules assemble the spindles that drive chromosome segregation during meiotic cell divisions. After fertilisation, microtubules are required for cell proliferation. When cells differentiate, microtubules establish cell polarity, participate in the communication between cells, and are involved in cell migration. To carry out such diverse functions, microtubules are organised into highly ordered arrays of various sizes and shapes. Improper microtubule organisation is linked to cancer and developmental defects. To understand how cells organise their microtubule network, Jens Lüders’ lab studies the molecular mechanisms that determine where and when microtubules are made. Using tissue cell culture and Xenopus laevis egg extract as model systems, the lab focuses on the identification and characterisation of microtubule assembly pathways and on the role of microtubule organising centres, such as the centrosome.
20 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Jens Lüders I Postdoctoral Fellows: Marco Archinti, Neus Teixidó I PhD Students: Florian Baier, Sabine Klischies, Nicolas Lecland I Research Assistant: Cristina Lacasa
Building limbs: signals, compartments and boundaries
In the embryo, complex structures such as limbs begin as groups of cells that are identical at first, but soon subdivide into smaller territories, called compartments. Marco Milán’s lab takes advantage of nearly a century of genetic studies on the fruit fly to examine the signals that guide the development of Drosophila limbs. Past research has shown that compartments arise because of mechanisms that prevent different types of cells from mixing. This leads to subterritories and clear boundaries between tissues. Cells at the boundary lines secrete signalling molecules such as Wg/Wnt and Dpp/TGFβ‚ which guide the pattern development and growth of the entire limb. Milán and his colleagues aim to understand how these molecules control complex processes such as the generation of adult limbs with a size, shape and pattern specific to a species.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Marco Milán I Postdoctoral Fellows: Isabelle Becam, Fernando Bejarano, Andrés Dekanty, Ulla-Maj Fiuza, Héctor Herranz, Florencia Tevy I PhD Students: Lara Barrio, Laura Boulan, Duarte Mesquita, Neus Rafel, Georgina Sorrosal I Research Assistant: Lidia Pérez I Visiting Student: Thomas Oliver Auer (Germany)
Gene translation and disease
To survive, cells have to transform information in their genomes into RNAs and then into proteins. Carrying out this latter step requires a complicated network of molecules, the details of which scientists are now unravelling. Many interactions extend from the process of protein manufacturing to other regulatory pathways in cells. Imbalances caused by alterations of these interactions are at the root of a number of diseases. Lluís Ribas de Pouplana’s lab explores these interaction networks in human cells and in protozoa that infect human beings. Another of the group’s interests is the evolution of the gene translation machinery, which underwent significant changes with the emergence of eukaryotic cells such as yeast, plants, and animals. Ribas and his colleagues hope to get a better grasp of how these types of cells evolved by studying molecules related to translation.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Lluís Ribas de Pouplana I Research Associate: Alfred Cortés I Postdoctoral Fellows: Laia Cubells, Francesc Miró I PhD Students: Manuel Castro, Valerie Crowley, Tanit Guitart, Eva Novoa I Lab Technicians: Noelia Camacho, Nuria Rovira, Anna Tor I Visiting Scientist: Cristina Bancells (Spain)
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 21
Building and rebuilding the brain
The development of the brain involves several steps: regions have to form, and different types of nerve cells have to develop, migrate to the right places, and properly wire themselves up to each other. They then have to respond properly to stimulation to permit memory and learning. Accomplishing these steps requires that cells activate specific genes at the right time, correctly interpret signalling molecules on the surfaces of other cells (or secreted by them), and respond in the right way. Eduardo Soriano’s lab focuses on identifying new genes that contribute to these processes. Another topic addressed by the group is the difference between brain cells in the embryo and early childhood, which can develop and repair themselves, and those in the adult, which cannot. Insights into the mechanisms of early brain development may help scientists design new regenerative therapies to repair damage in the adult brain.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Eduardo Soriano I Research Associates: Ferran Burgaya, Albert Martínez, Marta Pascual, Alexander Ulloa, Jesús Ureña I Postdoctoral Fellows: Tiziana Cotrufo, Guillermo López, Lluís Pujadas, Catia Teixeira I PhD Students: Carles
Bosch, Giulia Fuschini, Beatriz García, Maria del Mar Masdeu, Serena Mirra, Mª Esther Pérez, Oriol Ros, Daniela Rossi, Esmeralda Rubio, Román Serrat I Masters Student: Nuria Masachs I Research Assistant: Ashraf Muhaisen I Lab Technicians: Lucas Brunso, Sandra Mas, Natalia Ruiz I Administrative Assistant: Jan Vara
22 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Structural and Computational Biology Programme
hysics and life meet at the level of single molecules, the behaviour of which is dictated by their shapes and chemical properties. DNA, RNA, proteins and other molecules interact and transform each other in a complex dance that creates living organisms; a detailed understanding of life requires linking the behaviour of these components to their structures. This knowledge is crucial in research into genetic diseases, which are often caused by small structural changes in molecules. It is also required to improve drugs and develop new ones. A drug is usually a small
molecule that functions by plugging itself onto a protein and altering its behaviour. Without a structural picture of this interaction, it is generally impossible to know exactly how pharmaceutical agents work. The Structural and Computational Biology Programme gathers a wide range of expertise to examine these aspects of life. Great advances over the last three decades in techniques like X-ray crystallography and NMR, for which state-of-the-art facilities are available at IRB Barcelona, have provided detailed structural maps of many key biological molecules. But many remain to be explored, and it has also been difficult to get a look at the internal workings of ‘molecular machines’ comprising many molecules. In many cases it is possible to deduce structural information about new proteins and their interactions by comparing their sequences with those of other known molecules. This approach requires the use of innovative computational tools, the potential of which has grown enormously since scientists have been able to draw on the wealth of information produced in genome projects.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 23
Diagrams of the insides of machines
Genome-sequencing initiatives have provided a nearly complete parts list of the molecules that can be produced by an organism; new post-genomic techniques are steadily revealing which of them are used to build particular machines in the cell. What is missing, however, is a detailed view of the way the pieces snap together. Patrick Aloy’s lab designs new bioinformatics methods to combine information from genomes (protein sequences) with the parts lists of machines (obtained through mass spectrometry and other techniques) and information about the interactions of single surfaces or parts (from X-ray and NMR studies) into diagrams of the inner construction of complexes. This information can be used to pinpoint specific weak points within a complex that can be targeted in experiments or in the design of new drugs.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Patrick Aloy I Research Associate: Roberto Mosca I Postdoctoral Fellows: Arnaud Ceol, Albert Pujol, Guillermo Suñé, Andreas Zanzoni I PhD Students: Manuel Alonso,
Rodrigo Arroyo, Clara Berenguer, Marc Duocastella, Roland Pache, Amelie Stein I Research Assistant: Ricart Lluís I Visiting Students: Rafael Pedret (Spain), Joan Marc Seoane (Spain), Francesc Tresserres (Spain), Josep Lluís Villanueva (Spain)
Molecules that bind to DNA
Miquel Coll’s lab applies several techniques to study how DNA behaves when it is linked to proteins and other types of molecules. Their main approach is the use of high-intensity X-rays to analyse molecules in a crystal form. One of the lab’s research focus is to study how proteins link to DNA to control the activity of genes, which is a key step in most biological processes. The laboratory also devotes part of its research efforts to studying a phenomenon called horizontal gene transfer, in which cells carry DNA from one to another. This process requires complex mechanisms that can carry DNA across membranes. Other research topics include the study of unique DNA structures and novel drugs that dock onto DNA rather than proteins.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Miquel Coll I Research Associates: Albert Canals, Maria Solà, Cristina Vega I Postdoctoral Fellows: Carme Arnan, Daniel Badia, Roeland Boer, Carlo Carolis, Lionel Costenaro, José Fernández, Robert Janowski, Joan Pous, Fabio Sessa I PhD Students: Juliana Amodio, Pablo Fernández, Nereida Jiménez, Zuzanna
Kaczmarska, Diana Martínez, Marta Nadal, Esther Peña, Radoslaw Pluta, Anna Rubio, Silvia Russi I Masters Student: Nayibe Guarín I Research Assistants: Leonor Alloza, Maïlys Boutin, Maria Pérez I Lab Technician: Esther Ferrando I Visiting Student: Alejandra Herrera (Chile)
24 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Oxidative stress: membrane proteins
Proteins play key roles in most biological processes but seldom act alone. Often a molecule binds to dozens of other proteins, RNAs, or other molecules to perform a particular task. However, it has been difficult to observe details of the inner structures of proteins and in some cases even to discover where they work in the cell. To address these kinds of questions, Ignasi Fita’s lab uses X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to study the structural biology of the peroxisome, one of the smallest, membrane-bound, eukaryotic organelles. The group is particularly interested in complexes that play a role in disease processes and in the proteins that attach to the organelle’s membrane. The group also collaborates in the study of the large eukaryotic ribonucleo protein complexes known as ‘vaults’ and in viruses bound to receptor proteins required for cell entry. Work is also performed on a diversity of enzymes, in particular related to oxidative stress.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Ignasi Fita I Postdoctoral Fellows: Xavi Carpena, Antonio Rodríguez I PhD Students: David Aparicio, Bárbara Machado, Luca Martinelli I Lab Technician: Mª Queralt Garcia I Visiting Student: Maria Adell (Spain)
NMR and protein purification
A powerful technique for studying three-dimensional structures is NMR, in which intense magnetic fields are applied to protein solutions. Pulse sequences are used to obtain signals that correlate to the distances between atoms, thereby providing a representative family of structures. Maria Macias’ lab specialises in the use of this technique to study protein structures and their complexes as well as how they fold. Having set up an efficient collaboration process that helps other labs to determine protein structures, the group provides the protocols necessary to produce pure and labelled proteins at the milligram scale, helps and supervises the assignment of NMR data and provides modified protocols for structure determination in solution.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 25
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Maria Macias I PhD Students: Eric Aragón, Albert Escobedo, Nina Görner, Jordi Mas I Masters Student: Tiago López I Research Assistant: Pau Martín I Lab Technician: Lidia Ruiz
Mining data and modelling interactions
The interactions of proteins and other molecules happen so quickly and at such a small scale that they cannot be observed directly. These types of connections have to be studied through theoretical models that incorporate information from many different sources and the roots of which are anchored in the basic principles of physics and chemistry. Modesto Orozco’s lab combines a variety of methodologies, including the automatic mining of biological databases and the adaptation of mathematical calculations from classical dynamics and quantum chemistry, with the aim of modeling living organisms in the computer. The longterm goal of the lab is to connect the smallest scale of life to the behaviour of cells and larger systems in organisms.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Modesto Orozco I Research Associates: Agustí Emperador, Josep Lluís Gelpí, Manuel Rueda I Postdoctoral Fellows: Neva Besker, Oliver Carrillo, Kathryn Collinet, Santiago Esteban, Athi Narayanan, Guillem Portella, Nadine Simone I PhD Students: Annalisa Arcella, Özgen Deniz, Ignacio Faustino, Óscar Flores, Adam Hospital, Laura Orellana I Research Assistants: Jose Alcántara,
Carlos Fenollosa, Chiara Lara, Margarita Pedro
Weak interactions are essential for regulation
Cells use regulatory networks to respond to their environment. Interactions in these networks are continuously changing and are necessarily weak. Miquel Pons’ lab applies NMR to study what happens when proteins interact with each other or with small molecules such as drugs. A particularly intriguing case is that of intrinsically disordered proteins that hide their interaction potential in an apparent structural chaos. These complicated configurations can be untangled using statistical modelling of NMR and other experimental approaches. In drug development, the complexity of the protein world and proteinprotein interactions is matched by the huge variety of chemical structures that constitute the chemical space. Pons and his colleagues develop new computational and NMR screening tools to explore chemical space for small molecules that can restructure protein complexes in a therapeutically promising way.
26 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Miquel Pons I Research Associates: Pau Bernadó, Jesús García I Postdoctoral Fellows: Yolanda Pérez, Alejandra Sornosa I PhD Students: Jascha Blobel, Giovanni
Cincilla, Tiago Cordeiro, Carles Fernández, Arola Fortian, Oriol Marimon, Yandi Naranjo I Lab Technician: Isabel Latorre I Visiting Student: Lucas Gelain (Brazil)
Joint programme IRB Barcelona—BSC
The collaborative research programme between IRB Barcelona and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) continued to pursue new advances in computational biology. Led by researchers Modesto Orozco (IRB Barcelona), Patrick Aloy (IRB Barcelona) and Víctor Guallar (BSC), the programme allows researchers from both institutions to share resources and services, and to work together toward finding bioinformatic solutions in the development of new projects in computational research. One of the initiatives of this joint collaboration is the Experimental Bioinformatics Laboratory (EBL).
Integrating computation and experiments
Recent progress in genomics and high-throughput techniques has led to an explosion of biological data, which in turn has provided a great opportunity to computationally predict the complex biological networks in living organisms. The EBL, managed by Montse Soler, is devoted to integrating experimental information into in silico models performed by computational biologists of the Structural and Computational Biology Programme. The lab’s main research areas include the genome mapping of nucleosome positions for a variety of yeast species and mammalian cell lines. The EBL also analyses the regulatory potential of candidate promoter sequences along the human genome, and aims to describe pathological pathways at the molecular level by combining computational biology and interaction discovery techniques.
Research Group Members I Laboratory Director: Montse Soler I Laboratory Manager: Maica López I Postdoctoral Fellows: Kathryn Collinet, Guillermo Suñé I PhD Students: Rodrigo Arroyo, Clara Berenguer, Özgen Deniz I Research Assistant: Chiara Castellazi I Lab Technician: Ricart Lluís I Visiting Student: Elisa Duran (Spain)
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 27
Molecular Medicine Programme
he biomedical sciences are standing on the threshold of a new era in medicine that may one day make it possible to cure cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative conditions, and a variety of diseases that cannot be combated with vaccines, antibiotics, or existing drugs. Scientists have a wide range of new tools available to study the origins of disease and many new approaches to intervene in processes within cells. These tools have
already revolutionised medical diagnostics, and the vision for the coming decades is to learn to apply them to directly manipulate the molecules responsible for diseases. The Molecular Medicine Programme seeks to further knowledge in these fields and find new ways to put discoveries to use. The Programme boasts broad expertise in the fields of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, cell signalling and regulation, genomics, genetics and immunology. Ongoing activities include the study of the molecular bases of diabetes, obesity, inflammation, metabolic syndrome and rare diseases, and research into new treatments for these pathologies. The Programme also addresses the signalling pathways that control cellular processes, genome-wide investigations of disease processes, the biology of macrophage cells, the molecular basis of inherited aminoacidurias and the structural basis of membrane transporter function.
28 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Carme Caelles’ lab studies the principles that govern cross talk between some of the cell’s most relevant signalling pathways in the context of anti-inflammatory action. Their research efforts are directed to gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory activity of molecules, including the well-known anti-inflammatory drugs glucocorticoids. All these molecules share the ability to inhibit the activation of pro-inflammatory signalling such as the stressactivated protein kinase (SAPKs) pathways. For instance, blockage of SAPK activation is crucial not only for the anti-inflammatory action of these molecules, but also for other relevant pharmacological actions, such as the antidiabetic action of thiazolidinediones. A second focus of the group is the study of protein kinases of the NIMA family involved in the regulation of the cell division cycle.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Carme Caelles I Research Associate: Joan Roig I Postdoctoral Fellow: Neus Teixidó I PhD Students: Mª Teresa Bertran, Kader Cavusoglu, Rodrigo Gatica, Jordi Lanuza, Giuseppe Pulice, Laura Regué, Sara Sdelci I Lab Technician:
Inflammation and macrophages
Antonio Celada’s lab studies macrophages, a type of cell that plays a key role in inflammation. At an early stage, these cells have pro-inflammatory activity and eliminate microorganisms present at the site of inflammation. Later, they show anti-inflammatory activity and repair lesions. Macrophages also play a key role in chronic inflammatory processes, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and they induce the formation of blood vessels, thereby promoting the growth of cancer cells. Expanding the knowledge about how these cells work and how to enhance their beneficial action and prevent their harmful effects is crucial. Celada and his colleagues study the signals that trigger macrophages and the regulations of the genes that activate the multiple functions of these cells. Their goal is to find therapeutic targets to design drugs that alter the activity of macrophages so that they can reproduce, differentiate, or become activated, or die and disappear.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Antonio Celada I Research Associate: Jorge Lloberas I Postdoctoral Fellows: Mónica Comalada, Francesc Miró, Luís Santamaría I PhD Students: Erika
Barboza, Selma Pereira, Neus Serrat, Lorena Valverde, Catrin Youssif I Research Assistants: Consol Farrera, Gemma López, Maria Sans I Visiting Students: Marta Pedreño (Spain), Catalina Rincón (Mexico), Judith Rodríguez (Spain), Damià Romero (Spain) 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 29
Metabolic engineering and diabetes therapy
Glucose is stored mainly in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. The process of synthesis and degradation of glycogen is disturbed in diabetes mellitus and in several other pathologies. Joan Guinovart’s lab is interested in the physiological regulation of glycogen metabolism and the pathological implications of its alteration. The group has reported several significant differences in glycogen processing in liver and muscle, which help to explain the defects observed in diabetes. It has also revealed that neurons have the machinery for glycogen synthesis but keep it blocked by three mechanisms, one of which involves the malin-laforin complex. The acquired knowledge will contribute to the development of strategies for the treatment of pathologies related to alterations in glycogen metabolism, such as diabetes mellitus, glycogenoses, Lafora disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Joan J Guinovart I Research Associates: Joaquim Calbó, María del Mar García I Postdoctoral Fellows: Adelaida Díaz, Jordi Duran, Carlos Rodríguez, Florencia Tevy, Delia Zafra I PhD Students: Óscar Blanco, Mireia Díaz,
Carles Martínez, Laura Nocito, Susana Ros, Isabel Sáez, Felipe Slebe, Jordi Vallès I Research Assistant: Anna Adrover I Lab Technicians: Ester Guerra, Emma Veza I Administrative Assistant: Carolina Sánchez I Visiting Scientist: Núria de la Iglesia (Spain) I Visiting Students: Marta Moreno (Spain), Carlos Spichiger (Chile)
Supplying the body with amino acids
The body needs a constant supply of amino acids to build proteins and other processes. Cells are able to produce many of the types of amino acids from simpler building blocks, but others must be obtained through food. Obtaining these molecules means drawing them into the cell through the membrane. Manuel Palacín’s lab studies this system and why it becomes defective in a set of diseases called primary inherited aminoacidurias (PIAs). Over the last 15 years, Palacín’s group has identified a new family of membrane proteins called HATs, which are responsible for the transport of several amino acids and are disrupted during PIA diseases. The lab is analysing the physiological role, the mechanisms of pathology and the structures of HATs to gain a better understanding of how they carry out their transporter functions.
30 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Manuel Palacín I Research Associate: José Luís Vázquez I Postdoctoral Fellows: Chiara
Bartoccioni, Susanna Bodoy, Joana Fort, Lukasz Kowalczyk, Mercè Ratera, Albert Rossell, Eva Valencia I PhD Students: Meritxell Costa, Gonzalo Delgado, Arturo Rodríguez, Laura Rodríguez I Lab Technicians: Susanna Bial, Vanesa Rodríguez, Jorge Seco I Project Manager: Olga Bausà I Visiting Students: Meritxell Espinó (Spain), Arantzazu Zubeldia (Spain)
Insulin resistance and new strategies for diabetes therapies
Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle has created a growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes and associated problems such as obesity, hypertension, and other conditions that lead to increased morbidity and mortality. The combination of these disorders and insulin resistance, a condition known as metabolic syndrome, affects over 40% of people over 60. Recent studies suggest that some of these problems stem from common genetic and cellular mechanisms. Antonio Zorzano’s lab seeks to identify genes responsible for the development of insulin resistance associated with obesity or type 2 diabetes. The group focuses on genes related to processes that occur in cellular structures called the mitochondria, in the processes that control these and other genes, and the identification of new signals that may be involved. Other goals include understanding how glucose is transported in cells, and identifying new compounds that might be effective in treating metabolic syndrome.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Antonio Zorzano I Postdoctoral Fellows: Mª Àngels Díaz, Saska Ivanova, Iliana López, Pablo Muñoz, Deborah Naon, Montserrat Romero, Jana Sánchez, Manuela Sánchez, David Sebastián, Eleonora Sorianello I PhD Students: Víctor Francis, Maria Isabel Hernández, Caroline Mauvezin, Eduard Noguera, David Sala, Ana Sancho, Jessica Segalés, Sonia Veiga I Project Manager: Olga Bausà I Lab Technicians: Ignacio Castrillón, Juan Carlos Monasterio I Visiting Student: Guilherme Alves (Brazil)
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 31
Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Programme
he development of novel drugs involves designing new molecules or modifying existing ones in order to achieve a particular effect on cells and organisms. In the past, pharmaceutical science was a matter of trial-and-error finding a substance that helped ease the symptoms of a disease, and then using chemistry to extract and improve it. Often this was done in complete ignorance of how substances really worked. Today scientists have discovered what many drugs do – usually they bind to a particular protein or molecular complex and change its shape or chemistry, thereby affecting how it interacts with other molecules. A wide variety of
techniques are now available to study and manipulate these interactions, as well as to find new ‘targets’ – proteins which play a key role in the development of a disease, and whose manipulation might restore cells to a healthy state. The Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Programme includes several types of expertise necessary to carry out this new approach to drug design. The goal is to identify targets, reveal their functions and the nature of their interactions with other molecules, and build or modify molecules that can influence their behaviour. Researchers in this Programme synthesise a large variety of bioactive compounds, with special focus on nucleic acids, peptides, proteins, peptidomimetics molecules that resemble or imitate natural peptides and other chemical compounds. For these purposes, the groups use innovative methods such as enantioselective synthesis, solid-phase synthesis of libraries of bioactive compounds and multi-component reactions. The ultimate goal is to create substances that might be useful as drugs or tools to study biological systems, and work focuses on studying how drug candidates interact with their targets. The main tools used are NMR, computer studies, and mass spectrometry.
32 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Inventing new compounds
Research in Fernando Albericio’s lab is based on a robust chemical platform designed to address medicinal chemistry projects with a special focus on cancer. The methodological subprojects have the main objective of feeding the chemistry platform, answering questions and solving problems that arise in research. One of the group’s main research topics is the total synthesis of natural products from marine origin with new structures and important bioactivities. Compounds with peptidic or poliheterocyclic structures or a combination of peptide-heterocycle systems are part of the group’s research efforts. Another relevant topic addressed is the optimisation of the compounds’ bioactivity or properties through the preparation of libraries based on natural products.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Fernando Albericio I Research Associates: Mercedes Álvarez, Jan Spengler I Postdoctoral Fellows: Silvia Cavalli, Judit Tulla I PhD Students: Tommaso Cupido, Anna
Iris Fernández-Llamazares, Peter Fransen, Yésica García, Xavier Just, Laia Miret, Marta Pelay, Elisabet Prats, Pau Ruiz, Lorena Simón, Ramon Subirós, Gemma Vilar, Rubí Zamudio I Research Assistants: Gerardo Acosta, Miriam Gongora, Marta Paradís I Visiting Students/Scientists: Carolina Adura (Chile), Simón Guerrero (Chile), Fanny Guzman (Chile)
Building artificial DNAs and RNAs
The successful development of the vast majority of scientific projects depends on the capacity of researchers to create small, artificial DNA or RNA molecules. Ramon Eritja’s lab synthesizes these molecules from their subunits. The group’s activities range from the preparation of complex DNA and RNA molecules as potential drugs to the use of DNA structures to construct nanoscale circuits. Successful projects include the discovery of non-natural bases that stabilise unusual structures of nucleic acids that may be helpful to design a new class of drugs. A large effort has also been made in the design of new RNA derivatives to control gene expression. The group also pursues the use of nucleic acid derivatives in the organisation of molecules and materials on surfaces that may be of interest for the development of new bioanalytical devices.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Ramon Eritja I Research Associates: Anna Aviñó, Carme Fàbrega I Postdoctoral Fellows: Alejandra Garibotti, Santiago Grijalvo, Sonia Pérez, Montserrat Terrazas I PhD Students: Margarita Alvira, Rubén Ferreira, Brendan Manning, Sandra Ocampo I Masters Student: María Tintoré
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 33
Designing and delivering drugs
The ultimate aim of ‘rational’ drug design is to study the surface of any part of any protein and design a highly efficient, selective ligand – a molecular ‘plug’ – that will change the protein’s behaviour in a desired way. This is still a dream, but Ernest Giralt’s lab is actively pursuing it by addressing the principles that govern the way molecules recognise and bind to each other. The lab focuses on several issues that have been difficult to resolve: cellular uptake of foreign substances (drugs), ways to break up clumps of proteins that form in Alzheimer’s disease and several other neurodegenerative diseases, and the delivery of drugs across the blood-brain barrier. The group has been working to improve the methods required to address these questions: obtaining structural information from NMR, improvements in solid-phase peptide synthesis (a way of artificially designing proteins that do not require cells to produce the molecules) and improving computer algorithms to assist drug discovery.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Ernest Giralt I Research Associates: Natàlia Carulla, Teresa Tarragó, Meritxell Teixidó I Postdoctoral Fellows: Miguel Moreno, Laura Nevola, Óscar Peña, Soledad Royo I PhD Students: Muriel Arimon, Xavier Arroyo, Andrey
Dyachenko, Michael Goldflam, Anna Guimerais, Bernat Guixer, Nessim Kichik, Abraham López, Morteza Malakoutikhah, Irene Martin, Laura Mendieta, Roger Prades, Silvia Pujals, Rosa Pujol, Laia Sánchez, Bernat Serra I Research Assistant: Esther Zurita I Visiting Students: Vinicius Ilha (Brazil), Nathaly Segovia (Spain)
Developing synthetic methods for bioactive compounds
Antoni Riera’s lab develops new synthetic methods required at various stages of drug development. The group has a special focus on asymmetric synthesis. This line of research is crucial because standard processes that synthesise small molecules produce both enantiomers (‘left- and right-handed’ versions – in other words, molecules that have the same constitution but are mirror images of each other). The reactions of biological molecules to the two types of isomers may differ greatly, so it is crucial to produce and purify only the desired version. Efforts are also devoted to finding ways to scale up synthetic processes of compounds of therapeutic interest, and helping to prepare chemical libraries that can be used for biological screening.
34 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Antoni Riera I Research Associate: Xavier Verdaguer I Postdoctoral Fellow: Catalina Ferrer I PhD Students: Nuria Aiguabella, Edgar Cristóbal, Sean Doran, Yi Ning Ji,
Thierry León, Pablo Martín, María Moreno, Marc Revés, Ana María Vázquez Lab Technician: Ferran Santacana I Visiting Scientist: Jean-Claude Kizirian (France)
Looking for new bioactive molecules
The preparation of new chemical entities is the first and perhaps the most important step in the drug discovery process. Màrius Rubiralta’s lab works on the development of technologies aimed to obtain key bioactive compounds in a pure form. The group develops synthetic procedures to achieve new peptide-like molecules or heterocyclic-containing compounds, structures frequently found in drugs. The group is involved in the description of new multicomponent reactions based on heterocycles, and uses some of the synthetic constructs as a tool in the separation of enantiomers and other products of high-added value by several chromatographic and related technologies. The lab also tackles fundamental procedures and methodological research in this latter field. This group left IRB Barcelona in December 2009.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Màrius Rubiralta I Research Associates: Anna Diez, Rodolfo Lavilla, Cristina Minguillón I Postdoctoral Fellows: Davide Bello, Rosario Ramon, Javier Ruiz I PhD Students: Jordi Mas, Anna Maria Pérez, Sara Preciado, Nuria Rubio, Raquel Sancho, Esther Vicente I Administrative Assistant: Montse Moreno
Keeping a close eye on misbehaving proteins
The research carried out in Xavier Salvatella’s lab aims to describe the motions of proteins and their involvement in diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, systemic amyloidoses and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease), where insoluble protein aggregates accumulate in the tissue of patients. Specific questions that the lab is addressing include characterising the structural properties of disordered proteins involved in such diseases with innovative analytical methods that use experimental results to bias computer simulations, as well as establishing structure-toxicity relationships in the aggregates that these proteins form in the tissue of patients. A high-resolution description of the events that lead to the onset of disease provides opportunities for the development of novel therapeutic approaches, which is the long-term goal of the group.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Xavier Salvatella I Postdoctoral Fellows: Santiago Esteban, Robert Fenwick, Maria Francesca Mossuto I PhD Student: Eva De Mol
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 35
ancers arise when fundamental processes that control the reproduction, differentiation, and behaviour of cells go astray. The Oncology Programme aims to improve the prognosis, prevention and treatment of cancer by studying the basic principles of development of this devastating disease. Research groups in the Programme focus on diverse aspects of how tumours arise and develop. There is a special emphasis on the mechanisms that transform benign tumours into malignant ones, on the relationship
between stem cells and cancer, and on the identification of programmes that cause certain types of cancer cells to produce tissue-specific metastasis. Groups in the Programme need strong ties to the clinical side of cancer research. Collaboration agreements with several oncology and pathology units of hospitals in the metropolitan area of Barcelona will facilitate the translation of basic research into clinically relevant diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
36 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
The stages of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death by cancer worldwide. Although most colorectal tumours develop as benign lesions, a small proportion progress to malignant stages because their cells have accumulated mutations in genes that promote cancer or in genes that normally suppress the development of tumours. The final and deadliest step in the development of the disease is the migration of colorectal cancer cells to other organs, where they begin to build new tumours. Eduard Batlle’s lab studies the initiation of colorectal cancer and its progression from the early stages to the formation of aggressive tumours. They make use of cell and animal models that mimic the human version of this devastating disease. The ultimate goal is to obtain information that permits the design of new therapeutic and diagnostic tools. Elena Sancho’s research group merged with Eduard Batlle’s group in 2009.
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Eduard Batlle I Research Associate: Elena Sancho I Postdoctoral Fellows: Alexandre Calon,
Carme Cortina, Peter Jung, Anna Merlos, Annie Rodolosse, Guiomar Solanas I PhD Students: Francisco Barriga, Elisa Espinet, Gavin Whissell I Research Assistants: Sergio Palomo, Nerea Peiró I Lab Technicians: Javier Hernando, Marta Sevillano
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 37
Tumoural Metastasis Laboratory (MetLab)
Intricate signalling networks within cells control their division, differentiation, movement, organisation and death. Cancer cells disobey these signals during tumour progression and metastasis, which is the final step in 90% of all fatal cancers. The main interest of MetLab, led by Roger Gomis, is to identify sets of genes and their functions whose abuse by tumour cells make them instruments for metastasis. By means of gene activation or inactivation the group functionally validates pro-metastatic gene candidates. Some of their candidate genes have recently been shown to be affected in tumour samples from patients. By studying how combinations of biological changes facilitate vital organ invasion by metastatic cells, the MetLab will be able to efficiently tackle the disease by using drug combinations against the putative therapeutic targets.
Research Group Members I MetLab Managing Director: Roger Gomis I IRB Barcelona Adjunct Director: Joan Massagué I Research Associate: Mònica Morales I PhD Students: Anna Arnal, Milica Pavlovic, Maria Tarragona I Lab Technician: Esther Fernández I Lab Manager: Marc Guiu I Visiting Scientists: Xabier Adrian García, Cristina Nadal
(members of the Institut d’Investigacions Sanitàries IDIBAPS-Hospital Clínic/IRB Barcelona)
The DNA damage response, genome instability and cancer
The integrity of the genome is threatened by diverse types of DNA damage. Detection of DNA lesions activates the DNA damage response (DDR), triggering signal transduction cascades that alter cell behaviour to promote genome stability. The DDR prevents DNA damage from being passed on to daughter cells and is known to play roles in tumour suppression. Research in Travis Stracker’s lab focuses on understanding the cellular DDR and its roles in safeguarding health. Genome instability and a defective DDR are a hallmark of cancer cells and can cause predisposition to cancers and other debilitating pathologies. Detection of DNA damage leads to changes in cell behaviour, including cell cycle checkpoint arrest and in some cases the activation of cell death pathways. The group is investigating the signalling pathways that control these responses to understand their role in tumour suppression and to identify ways to manipulate them for clinical applications. This group joined IRB Barcelona in May 2009.
38 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Research Group Members I Group Leader: Travis Stracker I Postdoctoral Fellow: Maria Ángeles Tapia I PhD Students: Helena González, Katrin Rein, Irena Stevanovic I Research Assistant: Suvi Aivio
he research carried out at IRB Barcelona is supported by a wide range of Core Facilities that provide technical assistance as well as access to cutting-edge biomedical resources, instrumentation and services aimed to accelerate scientific results and conclusions. IRB Barcelona Core Facilities are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art tools for research, and offer an extensive number of services and techniques in advanced digital microscopy, biostatistics, bioinformatics,
functional genomics, mass spectrometry, protein expression and mouse models of disease. Services provided to IRB Barcelona researchers include cutting-edge genomic techniques to interrogate or alter genes on a genome-wide level, a complete range of state-of-the-art light microscopy imaging systems and techniques to assist researchers with their image processing, data interpretation, and presentation needs, spectrometric techniques to identify a broad range of biological species, software tools to facilitate the interpretation of experimental results, highthroughput protein expression activities to run many parallel variations of an experiment, and development and production of genetically modified mice for research purposes. These shared core facilities are strategically located in the Barcelona Science Park to ensure research synergies and efficiency. In addition to the core facilities run by IRB Barcelona, research at the Institute is also supported by platforms and facilities of the Barcelona Science Park, as well as technical services of the University of Barcelona.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 39
Beyond the limits of conventional light microscopy
The Advanced Digital Microscopy (ADM) Core Facility offers access and support to state-of-the-art instruments, from automatic spectral confocal microscopy to emerging techniques for cell manipulation and imaging. The ADM offers a wide range of technologies required to perform all the steps of digital imaging, including sample preparation, image acquisition, analysis and interpretation. Optical sectioning in fluorescence is available with spectral confocal, spinning disk and multiphoton microscope systems, together with FRAP and FRET modules. Other specific techniques are being developed for wide field inverted microscopes, such as TIRF, laser nanosurgery, microinjection and automatic widefield fluorescence microscopy. The ADM develops instruments in close collaboration with IRB Barcelona research groups. These include combined widefield FRAP, laser surgery and photoactivation, or lightsheet fluorescence microscopy.
Core Facility Members I Facility Manager: Julien Colombelli Research Officers: Lídia Bardia, Anna Lladó
Turning data into information
Nowadays researchers face not only the challenge of obtaining relevant scientific data, but also of extracting valuable information from them. Statistics is the science that transforms data into information. Founded on probability theory, it provides a scientifically sound framework to test hypotheses and to learn about the systems and processes that generate biomedical data. The experimental design theory also guides researchers as to the best way to conduct experiments. The Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Unit assists scientists in the design and analysis of biomedical experiments through cutting-edge software tools and innovative methodology. The unit is committed to offering IRB Barcelona research groups a competitive advantage by developing tailored solutions to specific problems. These solutions, which include methodological and software development, are aimed at improving the speed and quality of research.
40 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Unit Members I Facility Manager: David Rossell Officer: Evarist Planet
Studying the entire genome in a single experiment
During the last decade, molecular biology has developed from a gene-by-gene analysis into a more comprehensive approach to study regulatory networks involving from dozens to hundreds of interacting partners. For successful performance in this field, researchers require an increasing number of tools to analyse or alter genes on a genome-wide level. The Functional Genomics Core Facility provides state-of-the-art genomic resources for the IRB Barcelona research community and for external organisations. These tools fall into two categories: knockdown of gene expression by shRNAs, and genome wide analysis of transcription, DNA polymorphisms and chromatin immunoprecipitation. The facility provides a complete service for these analytical methods, including initial consultation, quality control of starting material, sample and array processing, initial data analysis, data interpretation, and validation by real-time-PCR.
Core Facility Members I Facility Manager: Herbert Auer I Senior Research Officers: Eva González, Silvia Rodríguez
New lights in mass spectrometry
Mass spectrometry has become one of the most important tools in biochemical sciences and has a broad application domain, ranging from small molecule analysis to protein characterisation. Because of this versatility, mass spectrometry is the technology many scientists are turning to. The Mass Spectrometry Core Facility provides modern chromatographic and spectrometric tools for the identification and characterisation of a broad range of biological species. The facility has implemented intact protein analysis for the complete characterisation of these molecules, and is working on the development of bottom-up proteomic techniques for protein quantitation and determination of post-translational modifications. The facility is using novel ion mobility-MS coupling to study the macromolecular structure and conformation of proteins and nucleic acids and their complexes.
Core Facility Members I Acting Facility Manager: Marta Vilaseca I Senior Research Officer: Claudio Diema I Research Officer:
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 41
Genetically modified mice as research tools
Genetically altered mice represent one of the most powerful models of human disease and development. The purpose of the Mouse Mutant Core Facility is to facilitate access to this technology. This may entail obtaining pre-generated mice, modified embryonic stem (ES) cells, gene targeting vectors from various public resources or the generation of de novo models. The facility aims to provide a full ‘concept to mouse’ service and is involved in all stages of development and production of genetically modified mice, from assistance with design and construction of the transgene or gene-targeting vector, and production of genetically modified mouse ES cells, through to injection of purified DNA or ES cells into pre-implantation embryos. An important aspect of the work performed by this service is the adaptation and improvement of current technologies to both increase the efficiency of production and to provide more sophisticated models.
Solving protein challenges the high-throughput way
Traditionally researchers tackle a particular problem with a protein in an iterative process of trial and re-design that can potentially be time-consuming and costly. The Protein Expression Core Facility concentrates on delivering highthroughput activities where many variations of an experiment (eg, truncations or mutations of proteins) are run in parallel. This capacity to perform large numbers (generally up to 96) of experimental variations on a theme in parallel can significantly decrease the time taken to solve a particular protein-related problem, thus bringing experiments to faster conclusions and, more importantly, leading to rapid publication of data. In addition to saving time, highthroughput methods can significantly reduce project and laboratory costs.
Core Facility Members I Facility Manager: Nick Berrow I Senior Research Officer: Raquel García I Technical Officer: Mª Carmen
42 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
MetCentre: A new collaborative metastasis research centre
lthough metastasis has been considered a major health problem for centuries, the breakthroughs made with respect to its genetic determination, its molecular mechanisms and specific treatments have been minimal. Conceptual and technological advances that have arisen in recent years, however, now offer an unprecedented opportunity to tackle this devastating process. In an effort to develop a new strategy against metastasis, IRB Barcelona officially launched the Metastasis Research Centre (MetCentre) in July 2009, a new initiative aimed to channel resources and research efforts into the causes, mechanisms and treatment of metastasis. MetCentre brings together basic research groups from IRB Barcelona and clinical and translational groups from hospitals and technology platforms in the city, with the aim to perform joint investigation on metastasis. The funding available to MetCentre is devoted exclusively to metastasis research. The objectives of MetCentre are to implement and develop multidisciplinary protocols and technology to identify genes and functions of clinical relevance for cancer and metastasis; to establish a framework or reference to channel all efforts related to metastasis from a transversal and translational perspective; and to contribute to the design of new protocols for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment
of metastasis. The research focuses on the study of the overall metastatic process as well as its individual components: tumour angiogenesis, the progenitor cells that derive from bone marrow, cell motility and adhesion, interactions with the microenvironment of the tumour, and stem cells. The convergence of multidisciplinary disciplines at IRB Barcelona, organised into five research programmes on Cell and Developmental Biology, Structural and Computational Biology, Molecular Medicine, Oncology and Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, provide an ideal hotbed from which to launch multidisciplinary projects aimed to tackle the underlying causes of metastasis.
(From left to right) IRB Barcelona director Joan J Guinovart, the President of the Catalan Government José Montilla and IRB Barcelona adjunct director Joan Massagué during the official presentation of MetCentre in July 2009.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 43
Facts and Figures
Board of Trustees Executive Board External Advisory Board Funding Sources Scientific Output Summary Academic Training Technology Transfer Activities Barcelona BioMed Seminars IRB Barcelona Events Outreach Activities IRB Barcelona in the News IRB Barcelona Organisation Chart Directorate and Administration Staff Human Resources Statistics Researcher Affiliations Barcelona Science Park
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 45
Board of Trustees
The IRB Barcelona Board of Trustees is the governing body of the Institute and is responsible for overseeing research activities, approving the operating funds and ensuring that the annual goals are met. The Board is chaired by the Minister of the Department of Innovation, Universities and Business of the Government of Catalonia and is composed of eleven members.
Honorable Mr Josep Huguet Biosca
Minister of the Department of Innovation, Universities and Business, Government of Catalonia
Joan Roca Acín
General Director for Research, Department of Innovation, Universities and Business, Government of Catalonia
Honorable Ms Marina Geli Fàbrega
Minister of the Department of Health, Government of Catalonia
Ramon Moreno Amich
Director of the Research Centres Programme (CERCA), Department of Innovation, Universities and Business, Government of Catalonia
Miquel Gómez Clarés
Strategy and Coordination Secretary, Department of Health, Government of Catalonia
His Excellency and Magnificent Dr Dídac Ramírez Sarrió
Rector of the University of Barcelona
Carles Miquel Collell
Responsible for the Research and Innovation Programme on Health Sciences, Department of Health, Government of Catalonia (since July 2009)
Marta Segura Bonet
General Secretary, Department of Health, Government of Catalonia (until July 2009)
Maria Carme Verdaguer
Director of the Innovation Centre, ‘Bosch i Gimpera’ Foundation
Jordi Alberch Vie
Vice-Rector for Research, University of Barcelona
Fernando Albericio Palomera
General Director, Barcelona Science Park
Roser Artal Rocafort
Manager, Barcelona Science Park
The Executive Board of IRB Barcelona oversees the Institute’s management performance, monitors the execution and progress of the functions delegated by the Board of Trustees and promotes scientific activities. The Board is presided by the Secretary of Strategy and Coordination of the Department of Health of the Government of Catalonia.
Miquel Gómez Clarés
Secretary of Strategy and Coordination, Department of Health, Government of Catalonia
Fernando Albericio Palomera Joan J Guinovart Cirera
Director, IRB Barcelona General Director, Barcelona Science Park
Joan Roca Acín
General Director for Research, Department of Innovation, Universities and Business, Government of Catalonia (since April 2009) General Director for Research, Department of Innovation, Universities and Business, Government of Catalonia (until April 2009) Vice-rector for Research, University of Barcelona
Margarida Corominas Bosch
Managing Director, IRB Barcelona
Ramon Moreno Amich
Jordi Alberch Vie
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 47
External Advisory Board
The External Advisory Board plays a key role in providing strategic guidance and regularly assessing the scientific work carried out by IRB Barcelona researchers. The Board is comprised of a panel of 15 renowned experts in the field of biomedicine.
The Netherlands Institute of Developmental Biology, Utrecht, The Netherlands Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA Department of Chemistry and Physics, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid, Spain Faculty of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA Department of Genetics, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom Center for Biotechnology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden Department of Chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, USA Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany
Cancer Research UK, London, United Kingdom Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom Institute for Organic Chemistry, Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany Department of Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, USA Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Fotis C Kafatos Bernd Meyer
Christopher M Dobson
Charles J Sherr
Bruce Spiegelman Karen Vousden
Samuel H Gellman David M Glover
Jan-Ake Gustafsson Andrew Hamilton Robert Huber
48 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
IRB Barcelona received the majority of its core funding in 2009 from the Government of Catalonia through the Department of Innovation, Universities and Business and the Department of Health. Additional funding was provided through competitive grants obtained from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the European Union, through FEDER funds and the Seventh Framework Programme, among others. IRB Barcelona scientists also received financial support from the University of Barcelona, the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and several Spanish CIBER networks.
Other Funding Sources
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 49
Scientific Output Summary
IRB Barcelona researchers contributed to biomedical discoveries through a total of 171 scientific publications in 2009, 78 of which were a result of international collaborations with partners from industry and academia. The list below is a selection of publications representative of the research carried out at IRB Barcelona during the year.
Aguado F, Díaz-Ruiz C, Parlato R, Martínez A, Carmona MA, Bleckmann S, Ureña JM, Burgaya F, del Río JA, Schütz G and Soriano E. The CREB/CREM transcription factors negatively regulate early synaptogenesis and spontaneous network activity. J Neurosci, 29(2), 328-33 (2009) Alarcón C, Zaromytidou AI, Xi Q, Gao S, Yu J, Fujisawa S, Barlas A, Miller AN, Manova-Todorova K, Macias MJ, Sapkota G, Pan D and Massagué J. Nuclear CDKs drive Smad transcriptional activation and turnover in BMP and TGF-beta pathways. Cell, 139(4), 757-69 (2009) Baños RC, Vivero A, Aznar S, García J, Pons M, Madrid C and Juárez A. Differential regulation of horizontally acquired and core genome genes by the bacterial modulator H-NS. PLoS Genet, 5(6), e1000513 (2009) Blobel J, Bernadó P, Svergun DI, Tauler R and Pons M. Low-resolution structures of transient protein-protein complexes using small-angle X-ray scattering. J Am Chem Soc, 131(12), 4378-86 (2009) Boer DR, Ruíz-Masó JA, López-Blanco JR, Blanco AG, Vives-Llàcer M, Chacón P, Usón I, Gomis-Rüth FX, Espinosa M, Llorca O, del Solar G and Coll M. Plasmid replication initiator RepB forms a hexamer reminiscent of ring helicases and has mobile nuclease domains. EMBO J, 28(11), 1666-78 (2009) Carulla N, Zhou M, Arimon M, Gairí M, Giralt E, Robinson CV and Dobson CM. Experimental characterization of disordered and ordered aggregates populated during the process of amyloid fibril formation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106(19), 7828-33 (2009)
Casali A and Batlle E. Intestinal stem cells in mammals and Drosophila. Cell Stem Cell, 4(2), 124-27 (2009) Chavey C, Lazennec G, Lagarrigue S, Clapé C, Iankova I, Teyssier J, Annicotte JS, Schmidt J, Mataki C, Yamamoto H, Sanches R, Guma A, Stich V, Vitkova M, Jardin-Watelet B, Renard E, Strieter R, Tuthill A, Hotamisligil GS, Vidal-Puig A, Zorzano A, Langin D and Fajas L. CXC ligand 5 is an adipose-tissue derived factor that links obesity to insulin resistance. Cell Metab, 9(4), 339-49 (2009) Comellas G, Kaczmarska Z, Tarragó T, Teixidó M and Giralt E. Exploration of the one-bead one-compound methodology for the design of prolyl oligopeptidase substrates. PLoS One, 4(7), e6222 (2009) De Las Heras JM, Martinho RG, Lehmann R and Casanova J. A functional antagonism between the pgc germline repressor and torso in the development of somatic cells. EMBO Rep, 10(9), 1059-65 (2009) De Simone A, Richter B, Salvatella X and Vendruscolo M. Toward an accurate determination of free energy landscapes in solution states of proteins. J Am Chem Soc, 131(11), 3810-11 (2009) Español Y, Thut D, Schneider A and De Pouplana LR. A mechanism for functional segregation of mitochondrial and cytosolic genetic codes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106(46), 19420-25 (2009) Faustino I, Aviño A, Marchán I, Luque FJ, Eritja R and Orozco M. Unique tautomeric and recognition properties of thioketothymines? J Am Chem Soc, 131(35), 12845-53 (2009)
50 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Gao S, Alarcón C, Sapkota G, Rahman S, Chen PY, Goerner N, Macias MJ, Erdjument-Bromage H, Tempst P and Massagué J. Ubiquitin ligase Nedd4L targets activated Smad2/3 to limit TGF-beta signaling. Mol Cell, 36(3), 457-68 (2009) García-Fandiño R, Granja JR, D’Abramo M and Orozco M. Theoretical characterization of the dynamical behavior and transport properties of alpha,gamma-peptide nanotubes in solution. J Am Chem Soc, 131(43), 15678-86 (2009) González C. Below the convergence. Curr Biol, 19(8), R313-14 (2009) Guerrero-Valero M, Ferrer-Orta C, Querol-Audí J, Marin-Vicente C, Fita I, Gómez-Fernández JC, Verdaguer N and Corbalán-García S. Structural and mechanistic insights into the association of PKCalphaC2 domain to PtdIns(4,5)P2. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106(16), 660307 (2009) Haren L, Stearns T and Lüders J. Plk1-dependent recruitment of gamma-tubulin complexes to mitotic centrosomes involves multiple PCM components. PLoS One, 4(6), e5976 (2009) Isidro-Llobet A, Alvarez M and Albericio F. Amino acid-protecting groups. Chem Rev, 109(6), 2455-04 (2009) Liesa M, Palacín M and Zorzano A. Mitochondrial dynamics in mammalian health and disease. Physiol Rev, 89(3), 799-45 (2009) Martínez AM, Schuettengruber B, Sakr S, Janic A, González C and Cavalli G. Polyhomeotic has a tumor suppressor activity mediated by repression of Notch signaling. Nat Genet, 41(10), 1076-82 (2009) Martínez MT, Tseng YC, Ormategui N, Loinaz I, Eritja R and Bokor J. Label-free DNA biosensors based on functionalized carbon nanotube field effect transistors. Nano Lett, 9(2), 530-36 (2009) Mauvezin C, Orpinell M, Francis VA, Mansilla F, Duran J, Ribas V, Palacín M, Boya P, Teleman AA and Zorzano A. The nuclear cofactor DOR regulates autophagy in mammalian and Drosophila cells. EMBO Rep, Epub Dec 4 (2009) Querol-Audí J, Casañas A, Usón I, Luque D, Castón JR, Fita I and Verdaguer N. The mechanism of vault opening from the high resolution structure of the N-terminal repeats of MVP. EMBO J, 28(21), 3450-57 (2009)
Reiriz C, Brea RJ, Arranz R, Carrascosa JL, Garibotti A, Manning B, Valpuesta JM, Eritja R, Castedo L and Granja JR. Alpha,gammapeptide nanotube templating of one-dimensional parallel fullerene arrangements. J Am Chem Soc, 131(32), 11335-37 (2009) Ruiz-Rodríguez J, Spengler J and Albericio F. Siamese depsipeptides: constrained bicyclic architectures. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 48(45), 8564-67 (2009) Sancho R and Minguillón C. The chromatographic separation of enantiomers through nanoscale design. Chem Soc Rev, 38(3), 797-05 (2009) Solon J, Kaya-Copur A, Colombelli J and Brunner D. Pulsed forces timed by a ratchet-like mechanism drive directed tissue movement during dorsal closure. Cell, 137(7), 1331-42 (2009) Tajbakhsh S and González C. Biased segregation of DNA and centrosomes: moving together or drifting apart? Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 10(11), 804-10 (2009) Torras-Llort M, Moreno-Moreno O and Azorín F. Focus on the centre: the role of chromatin on the regulation of centromere identity and function. EMBO J, 28(16), 2337-48 (2009)
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 51
During 2009, IRB Barcelona scientists participated in 189 external collaborations involving research partners from academia and industry. Research groups also continued to carry out joint work among the Institute’s research programmes through a further 43 internal collaborations.
Type of Collaborations
External Collaborations (International)
External Collaborations (National)
External Collaborations by Sector
36% 47% 9% 8%
52 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Research Projects and Networks
IRB Barcelona researchers participated in a total of 182 national and international research projects and networks in 2009.
Catalan Government (AGAUR)
European Commission Spanish Government
MICINN 41% ISCIII 9% MAES/AECI 1%
Cell & Developmental Biology
Structural & Computational Biology
Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 53
Research Grants, Networks and Personnel Grants
Funding obtained by IRB Barcelona researchers through grants, networks and personnel grants in 2009 amounted to €10,809,116. The list below comprises the institutions that contributed to funding through research grants.
Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN) European Commission (EC) Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII-MICINN) AGAUR - Government of Catalonia MAEC/AECI - Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology & Higher Education European Science Foundation (ESF) ‘Caixa Catalunya Obra Social’ Spanish Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention (FIPSE) Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Almirall Laboratories Enantia Ferrer Group International Noscira GP Pharm Brainco Biopharma Palau Pharma Ipsen Pharma Hoffmann - La Roche Genmedica Therapeutics
‘Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria’ Foundation ‘Marcelino Botín’ Foundation ‘La Caixa’ Foundation ‘La Marató de TV3’ Foundation Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) ‘Genoma España’ Foundation
IRB Barcelona researchers also received financial support from the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), and as part of their participation in several research networks (CONSOLIDER, CIBERBBN, CIBERDEM, CIBERER, CIBERNED and RETIC).
IRB Barcelona thanks the following private donors: Julià García Gutiérrez, Marta Luz Adalid, PRONOR SL
54 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
IRB Barcelona provides PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from around the world with a unique international and multidisciplinary scientific environment. More than 150 students are currently working on a PhD thesis at IRB Barcelona, 37% of whom are foreigners and 56% are women. Students generally spend up to four years at IRB Barcelona to complete their project and obtain their PhD degree from the university in which they are enrolled. The postdoctoral community at IRB Barcelona has more than 90 members and is highly international, with 45% foreigners. Special initiatives and activities are being implemented so that postdoctoral fellows get the most from their stay at IRB Barcelona.
tional PhD Fellowship Programme, which provides substantial funding to recruit talented students from across the world to do their doctoral thesis work at IRB Barcelona. Ten doctoral fellowships are granted each year to candidates selected from an internationally competitive pool of applicants. In 2009, a total of 270 applications were received. During the spring of 2009, the Institute also launched the IRB Barcelona PhD Fellowships Programme, a new predoctoral call. Five fellowships were awarded as part of this scheme which aims to serve as a ‘bridge’ to cover the funding gap that students may experience between the time they receive their degree and when they begin to receive an external grant. IRB Barcelona continued to devote a considerable part of its resources to PhD training in 2009. The Institute coordinated a series of training and social activities aimed to provide PhD students with high-level training and close mentoring, as well
n exciting development for PhD activities was the introduction in 2008 of the ”la Caixa”/IRB Barcelona Interna-
as to foster collaborations between students and scientists working in different research groups and programmes. • PhD Introductory Course. Held at the beginning of September, the course gave PhD students a broad overview of the programmes and core facilities at IRB Barcelona and the Barcelona Science Park, and provided them with useful information for their PhD training period. • Lab Rotations. After the introductory course, students participated in a series of lab rotations to experience different research environments and experimental approaches, and to get to know the lab members of other groups, thereby fostering possible future collaborations. • Thesis Advisory Committee. Upon joining IRB Barcelona, all new PhD students are appointed a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC), comprised of both internal and external advisors. The TAC meets at least once a year and aims to mentor and guide students in all aspects related to their theses.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 55
(From left to right) PhD students in Antoni Riera’s group, the 1st IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium, and Minister Garmendia congratulating PhD student Eva Novoa during the certificate award ceremony of the 2008-2009 ”la Caixa”/IRB Barcelona International PhD Programme, held in July 2009.
Footsteps Programme. Launched in 2009, this programme seeks to pair new PhD students with PhD student volunteers who have at least one year of experience at IRB Barcelona and act as guides or mentors.
ers came from around the world to participate in ‘The Architecture of Life’, the 1st IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium. The event brought together young motivated students and internationally renowned scientists to exchange knowledge on the architecture of life, encourage multidisciplinary discussions, learn about new fields, and create the basis for future collaborations. The symposium was organised by members of the PhD Student Symposium Organising Committee and was generously hosted at the CosmoCaixa museum in Barcelona.
PhD Student Council. In December 2009, new members were elected for the PhD Student Council. The council’s mission is to organise student-run activities and to serve as a communication link between the student community and the Institute’s management.
In addition to their laboratory work, IRB Barcelona PhD students are encouraged to participate in scientific seminars, journal clubs, international conferences, outreach and educational activities, group and programme retreats, and other social initiatives such as the monthly ‘cool-off’ sessions, the IRB Barcelona football league and the hiking and running clubs. Activities of interest this year included: • PhD Student Seminar Series. Launched in September 2009, this new initiative is organised monthly by PhD students. The seminars are always given by students and address the whole IRB Barcelona student community. • First IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium. On 2-3 November 2009, more than 100 participants and speak56 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
During 2009, a total of 24 PhD students successfully defended their theses upon completion of their research project in an IRB Barcelona laboratory.
Amphipathic proline-rich cell-penetrating peptides: from development to cargo transport
Silvia Pujals, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Ernest Giralt
Caracterització funcional d’HP1c, la isoforma eucromàtica de les proteïnes HP1 de Drosophila
Joan Font, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Ferran Azorín
Characterization of the lysyl-tRNA synthetases from Trypanosoma brucei
Yaiza Español, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Lluís Ribas de Pouplana
Mariela M Marani, University of Buenos Aires (2009) Supervisors: Fernando Albericio and Osvaldo Cascone Javier Ruiz, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisors: Fernando Albericio and Jan Spengler Guillermo López, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisors: Eduardo Soriano and Ferran Burgaya
afinidad por medio de bibliotecas combinatorias
Nuevas estrategias para la síntesis de depsipéptidos
Design and synthesis of peptides that neutralize bacterial endotoxins as therapeutic agents for the treatment of sepsis
Carles Mas, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Fernando Albericio
Papel de alex3 durante el desarrollo de la corteza cerebral
El pèptid beta-amiloide (Ab) associat a la malaltia d’Alzheimer: I. Efecte d’inhibidors peptídics en la citotoxicitat d’Ab; II. Reciclatge molecular en fibra d’Ab
Laia Sánchez, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisors: Ernest Giralt and Natàlia Carulla
Protein structure and dynamics studied by molecular dynamics simulations
Tim Meyer, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Modesto Orozco
Estudios de modelización molecular en solución
Ignacio Soteras, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Modesto Orozco
Regulación de las E3 ubiquitina ligasas Itch y WWP1 mediante sus dominios WW
Begoña Morales, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Maria J Macias
Estudios estructurales de las relaxasas involucradas en el proceso de conjugación bacteriana
Silvia Russi, Autonomous University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Miquel Coll
Resolució de l’estructura tridimensional de l’helicas hexamèrica DnaB
Raquel Arribas, University of Girona (2009) Supervisor: Miquel Coll
Functional and structural characterization of the L-arginine/ Agmatine exchanger AdiC. A model for APC transporters
Mercè Ratera, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Manuel Palacín
Role of EphB receptors in intestinal epithelial cell positioning and colorectal cancer progression
Carme Cortina, Pompeu Fabra University (2009) Supervisor: Eduard Batlle
Identification and functional properties of mitofusin 2 splice variants
Déborah P Naón, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Antonio Zorzano Susana Ros, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Joan J Guinovart
Síntesis de aminoácidos no naturales y aplicación a la síntesis de péptidos con interés farmacológico
Rosario Ramón, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Antoni Riera
Metabolic impact of liver glycogen synthase activation
Nanotechnologies as drug delivery systems
Leticia Hosta, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Fernando Albericio
Síntesi total de Lamel·larina D i anàlegs de cadena oberta: Aplicacions d’alliberament cel·lular i d’inhibició de topoisomerases
Daniel Pla, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisors: Fernando Albericio and Mercedes Álvarez
N-Methyl phenylalanine-rich peptides as universal blood-brain barrier shuttles
Morteza Malakoutikhah, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisors: Ernest Giralt and Meritxell Teixidó
Structural studies on FF domains by NMR spectroscopy
Román Bonet, Autonomous University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisor: Maria J Macias
NMR and SAXS studies of protein oligomerization. The effect of arginine and glutamic acid on proteins and their complexes
Jascha Blobel, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisors: Miquel Pons and Pau Bernadó
The role of TREX1 exonuclease processing of ssDNA and implications on macrophage activation
María Serra, University of Barcelona (2009) Supervisors: Antonio Celada and Jorge Lloberas
Nuevas estrategias para el desarrollo de ligandos peptídicos para la purificación de proteínas por cromatografía de
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 57
Postdoctoral training received a boost in 2009 when four new postdocs took up their positions as a result of an interdisciplinary call launched in 2008. This initiative is aimed at fostering collaborations within the different IRB Barcelona’s research areas and successful candidates are now carrying out their projects involving two of the Institute’s research programmes. Postdoc opportunities will expand even further, as IRB Barcelona has been awarded a substantial grant from the EU’s Marie Curie Programme. The grant totalling nearly one million euros over the next four years will allow IRB Barcelona to recruit outstanding international postdoctoral researchers. The call will open soon and we expect to fill the first positions in 2011. After devoting efforts to strengthening the PhD Programme, in 2009 several new activities were introduced to help postdoctoral fellows get the most from their stay at IRB Barcelona. The postdoctoral community formed a Postdoctoral Council comprised of two representatives per programme. The goal of the council is to gather feedback and liaise with IRB Barcelona’s administration offices to organise activities and networks of interest and value for the postdoctoral community. One of the first activities for the newly created Postdoctoral Council was the organisation of training initiatives to improve and foster interaction and collaborations within the postdoctoral community. An example of this was the first edition of ‘Career Progression in Science’ in December 2009, an event coorganised with the Barcelona Science Park. The session provided young researchers the opportunity to look beyond the bench, into new and exciting career options.
58 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Technology Transfer Activities
The Department of Innovation and Strategic Projects was created in March 2009 to assist IRB Barcelona members in one of the strategic objectives of the Institute: the promotion of technology transfer. The aim of the department is to promote and collaborate in the identification, protection, development and commercialisation of discoveries and inventions with the goal of ensuring that research ultimately reaches and benefits society. IRB Barcelona members were involved in research activities that resulted in the publication of five international patent applications in 2009 (see below); a further eight patent applications were filed during the year. The industrial interest of these scientific results illustrates the intense collaborations established between the members of the Institute and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.
Process for the production of pramlintide
Brunner A, Werbitzky O, Varray S, Quattrini F, Hermann H, Strong A, Albericio F, Tulla-Puche J and Garcia Y Publication number/date: WO2009003666 (8/1/2009)
Salicylated conjugates useful for treating metabolic disorders
García-Vicente S, Marti L, Mayoux E, Mian A, Serrano M and Zorzano A Publication number/date: WO2009138437 (19/11/2009)
New polymers and their use as fluorescent labels
Aymami J, Albericio F, Avino AM, Farrera J, Royo M and Navarro I Publication number/date: WO2009007397 (15/1/2009)
Improved antitumoral treatments
Hosta L, Pla M, Cruz LJ, Kogan M and Albericio F Publication number/date: WO2009095480 (6/8/2009)
Coupling agents for the synthesis of polypeptides and polynucleotides
Albericio F, El-Faham A, Luxembourg Y and Ewenson A Publication number/date: WO2009138985 (19/11/2009)
Barcelona BioMed Seminars
The year 2009 brought together 139 leading experts from different areas of the biomedical sciences to present and discuss their latest research results with the local scientific community. The Barcelona BioMed Seminars, held at IRB Barcelona several times a week throughout the year, allowed researchers and the local community to learn about the latest developments in the life sciences.
14 January 2009 I Multifunctional RNA binding proteins: From 11 February 2009 I Role of sub apical region proteins in tracheal
splicing to miRNA processing and beyond. Sònia Guil, ICO-IDIBELL, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain transport chain in dynamic superstructures. José Antonio Enríquez, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain genesis of the vertebrate nervous system. Elisa Martí, Institute for Molecular Biology of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain development: Dissection of crumbs function. Annalisa Letizia, Institute for Molecular Biology of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Applications of dynamic nuclear polarisation for biomolecular NMR. Cristina Gabellieri, IRB Barcelona–UB, Barcelona, Spain
16 January 2009 I Organization of the mitochondrial electron
13 February 2009 I The Dioxin Receptor AhR differentially modu-
21 January 2009 I Genetic mechanisms that determine morpho-
lates cell migration in mesenchymal vs epithelial cells: Has AhR a role in the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition? Pedro M Fernández, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain control of mitochondrial integrity. Mariusz Karbowski, University of Maryland, Biotechnology Institute, Maryland, USA I Elucidating signaling events through mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Judit Villén, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA and metastasis. Roger Gomis, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
23 January 2009 I Integration of macrophage functions and im-
16 February 2009 I Role of the ubiquitin conjugation system in the
mune homeostasis by LXR nuclear receptors. Antonio Castrillo, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain division in budding yeast. Zhanna Shcheprova, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
28 January 2009 I Asymmetric segregation of age during cellular
18 February 2009 I TGFbeta: From cytostasis to tumor progression 19 February 2009 I A new pro-drug approach based in DPPIV/CD-26
30 January 2009 I Snail controls bone length during fetal develop-
ment and bone remodelling in the adult. Mª Ángela Nieto, Instituto de Neurociencias, Alicante, Spain pathway inhibitors separating the wheat from the chaff. Tommaso Cupido, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain maguks, as substrates for proteases during apoptosis. Sãska Ivanova, Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
enzyme. María José Camarasa, Instituto de Química Médica (CSIC), Madrid, Spain ics through worldwide distributed computing: From protein folding to structure determination. Bojan Zagrovic, Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences, Split, Croatia means of WW domain interactions. Begonya Morales, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I New model organisms for functional developmental genetics. Michalis Averof, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Crete, Greece
4 February 2009 I High-throughput screening for Sonic Hedgehog
20 February 2009 I Glimpses of biomolecular structure and dynam-
5 February 2009 I Scaffolding proteins at cell junctions, the
25 February 2009 I Ligand recognition of E3 ubiquitin ligases by
6 February 2009 I Oxygen sensing in health and disease. Julián
Aragonés, Hospital de la Princesa, Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
60 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
27 February 2009 I Synthesis of natural pyranonaphthoquinones
and related N-containing antibiotics. Norbert De Kimpe, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
27 March 2009 I The protein meta-structure: A novel concept for
protein interaction interference as a new route to drug development. Robert Konrat, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
4 March 2009 I Insights into the opening of the Vault complex from
the high-resolution structure of the seven N-terminal domains of MVP. Arnau Casañas, Institute for Molecular Biology of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Evi/Wntless reveals betacatenin dependent and independent processes during planarian regeneration. Teresa Adell, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
1 April 2009 I Understanding human disease through protein interoping Zebrafish embryo. Steve Harvey, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
I The visualisation of morphogen gradient formation in the devel-
action networks. Andreas Zanzoni, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
5 March 2009 I Different combinatorial methods to obtain ceramide
and dihydroceramide analogues. Santiago Grijalvo, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain disease. Erwin Wagner, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, Spain
3 April 2009 I Proteomic analysis in cerebrospinal fluid in search
for diagnosis biomarkers in Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis. Jacques Borg, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain tions and its applications. Iñaki Martínez, Institute for Molecular Biology of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
6 March 2009 I Molecular functions of A P-1 (Fos/Jun) in health and
8 April 2009 I A program to determine DNA crystal packing interac-
11 March 2009 I Wnt signalling in intestinal stem cells and colorectal cancer. Eduard Batlle, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I When
15 April 2009 I Metabolic remodelling of cancer cells: Structural
DNA can’t find the way home: Crystal structure of MobMin complex with a 26-mer oligonucleotilde. Silvia Russi, IRB Barcelona–IBMBCSIC, Barcelona, Spain
and functional characterization of mitochondria in lung cancer. Nadège Bellance, Universiré Victor Segalen, Bordeaux, France I Directional migration of neural crest cells. Roberto Mayor, University College London, London, UK screening and NMR: Targeting human telomerase RNA. Thomas L James, University of California, San Francisco, USA
13 March 2009 I Protein complexes, cell organelle assembly and
17 April 2009 I Discovery of small molecule ligands via virtual
function in cell division pathways. Bodo Lange, Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin, Germany tumour suppressor activity in Drosophila. Silvia Muñoz, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
16 March 2009 I Ligand independent traffic of Notch mediates a
22 April 2009 I The megabladder mouse: A genetic model of congenital obstructive nephropathy and bladder smooth muscle development. Kirk M McHugh, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
18 March 2009 I The c-ABL/P73 signal transduction pathway in
Alzheimer’s disease and Niemann Pick type C neurodegeneration. Alejandra Álvarez, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile I Functional analysis of domain shuffling in the human parasite Entamoeba histolytica. Manuel Castro de Moura, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I DNA Conformation and biomolecular motors: New nanomedicine research targets. Sonia Trigueros, Oxford University, Oxford, UK multianalyte screening of antibiotics in milk samples. Maria Pilar Marco, IQAC-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain
23 April 2009 I Effective GDNF brain delivery using microspheres.
A promising strategy for Parkinson’s disease. María Blanco-Prieto, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain ceptor determines lethal outcome in inflammatory shock models in mice. Claude Libert, Department of Molecular Biomedical Research, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium regulators of HIF in Drosophila. Andres Dekanty, IRB Barcelona,
24 April 2009 I The interplay between TNF and glucocorticoid re-
19 March 2009 I Waveguide Interrogated Optical Sensor (WIOS) for
29 April 2009 I Genome-wide RNAi screen identifies multiple
20 March 2009 I How voltage controls in conductions in ion channels. Francisco Bezanilla, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA
25 March 2009 I Exploring novel crystallization methods for target:
Ligand complexes. Celerino Abad Zapatero, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA
Barcelona, Spain I Novel applications for mass spectrometry. Marta Vilaseca, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
4 June 2009 I Structural/function studies of α-synuclein and p75N-
6 May 2009 I High-throughput screening for Sonic Hedgehog pathway inhibitors separating the wheat from the chaff. Tommaso Cupido, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
TR. Marçal Vilar, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, Spain brief summary. Carles Suñé, Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina ‘López Neira’, Granada, Spain
5 June 2009 I Coupling of transcription and mRNA processing, a
7 May 2009 I Development of a novel series of potent, selective and
orally bioavailable HDAC inhibitors with anti-tumor activity. Laura Llauger, IRBM-Merck, Pomezia, Italy studies on the insect virus TrV. Diego MA Guerin, CSIC-UPV/EHU, Leioa, Spain
10 June 2009 I CD98hc: A dual function protein that mediates
8 May 2009 I Structural, biochemical, biological and technological
tumorigenesis? Chloé Feral, Université Nice Sophia Antipoli, Nice, France I Essential roles for microRNAs in stem-cell maintenance in the early mouse embryo. Tristan Rodríguez, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
13 May 2009 I Pushing structural details into the yeast interactome
by high-throughput protein docking experiments. Roberto Mosca, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I A developmentally regulated two-step process generates a non-centrosomal microtubule network in Drosophila trachea. Veronique Brodu, Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS, Paris, France
11 June 2009 I Single amino acid substitution in Plasmodium
yoelii erythrocyte ligand determines its localization and controls parasite virulence. Osamu Kaneku, Institute of Tropical Medicine NEKKEN, Nagasaki, Japan in pancreatic cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Pilar Navarro, Municipal Institute for Medical Research (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
12 June 2009 I The dark side of tissue plasminogen activator: Role
15 May 2009 I Molecular puzzles: Learning about function and
mechanism of enzymes from their structures. Alexander Wlodawer, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, Frederick, USA
17 June 2009 I Polycomb proteins in development and disease.
20 May 2009 I Cell competition, growth and size control in the
Drosophila wing imaginal disc. Salvador C Herrera, CSIC-UAM, Madrid, Spain adjuvant in chemotherapy. Mª Carme Fàbrega, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Giacomo Cavalli, Institut de Génétique Humaine, CNRS, Montpellier, France I Aptamer-facilitated biomarker discovery (AptaBiD) for cells. Sergey Krylov, York University & Centre for Research on Biomolecular Interactions, Toronto, Canada ligand binding. Soledad Royo, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
21 May 2009 I Rational drug design for DNA repair mechanism as
18 June 2009 I Cyclic peptides with inhibitory activity on integrin1 July 2009 I MicroRNAs and growth control. Héctor Herranz, IRB 3 July 2009 I Neurodegeneration and molecular therapy in Friedre-
22 May 2009 I Of kinetochores and centrosomes: Mechanisms of
mitotic spindle assembly. Alexey Khodjakov, University College London, London, UK
26 May 2009 I Functions of the proteasome: From protein degradation and immune surveillance to cancer therapy. Alfred Goldberg, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
ich’s ataxia. Javier Díaz-Nido, Departamento de Biología Molecular & Centro de Biología Molecular ‘Severo Ochoa’, Madrid, Spain unpredicted domain and an unexpected substrate. Xavi Carpena, IRB Barcelona-IBMB-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain I Structural and functional studies of American conotoxins. Frank Mari, Florida Atlantic University, Florida, USA I A role for plant steroid hormones in stem cell and vascular patterning. Ana Caño, Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain
8 July 2009 I Crystal structure of a prokaryotic lipoxygenase: An
27 May 2009 I Zebrafish models for human disease: Skin and
bones. Matthias Hammerschmidt, Cologne University, Cologne, Germany
28 May 2009 I Forces for cell sheet morphogenesis: Drosophila’s
dorsal closure as a model system. Dan Kiehart, Duke University, Durham, USA tion of mitotic progression. Claudio Sunkel, Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, Porto, Portugal Drosophila. Isabelle Becam, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
29 May 2009 I Microtubule kinetochore attachment and the regula-
9 July 2009 I Centriole biogenesis and evolution. Mónica Bettencourt, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Lisbon, Portugal I Development of a fluorescent activity-based probe for profiling autotaxin in serum. Silvia Cavalli, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
3 June 2009 I A role of receptor Notch in ligand cis-inhibition in
10 July 2009 I Structural biological inorganic chemistry reveals
mechanistic insights into the heme oxygenase catalysis. Masao Ikeda-Saito, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan I Novel mechanistic
62 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
and functional insights in the ubiquitin-like SUMO system. Stephan Muller, Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Munich, Germany
25 September 2009 I Fluorescence microscopy meets structural biology to study biomolecular complexes. Claus AM Siedel, HeinrichHeine-Univesität, Düsseldorf, Germany regeneration. Enrique Blanco, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
15 July 2009 I The oncogenic protein cortactin: A molecular switch
between cellular and bacterial motility. Narcisa Martínez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
30 September 2009 I Bioinformatics analysis of imaginal discs
16 July 2009 I Understanding amyloid beta-peptide aggregation.
Muriel Arimon, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia-IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Signal integration by p38 MAPKs and CDKs. Angel R Nebreda, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, Spain mediated stem cell tuning. Hannes Klump, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany tion by the UVDDB complex. Nicolas Thoma, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland
5 October 2009 I Confident assignment of post-translational modifications using top-down mass spectrometry. Julian Whitelegge, The NPI-Semel Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
17 July 2009 I Converting pluripotent stem cells to blood -HOXB4
7 October 2009 I Polarity orientation memory in neuroblasts. Jens Januschke, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Modeling oncogene
dependence in 3D cell culture systems and mice. Martin Jechlinger, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA lecular simulations. Robert Fenwick, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
22 July 2009 I Enjoying the sun: Mechanism of UV-damage detec-
8 October 2009 I Protein dynamics from restrained ensemble mo-
24 July 2009 I Novel antitumoral targets within the ERK pathway.
Piero Crespo, Instituto de Biomedicina y Biotecnología de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
9 October 2009 I Dispersing a crowd: Signaling mechanisms con-
trolling social behavior in bacteria. Holger Sondermann, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA Towards murine models for human cancers. Pedro Velica, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK I p63 Mediates cellular senescence in cancer and aging. Bill Keyes, Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain I Functional characterization of VP3, the multitasking protein of Infectious Bursal Disease Virus. Idoia Busnadiego, CNB-CSIC, Madrid, Spain lation of symmetric and asymmetric division in the Drosophila nervous system. Andrea Brand, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
9 September 2009 I Patched degradation and its role in the inter-
pretation of the Hedgehog morphogen gradient. Andreu Casali, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain the inhibition of protein-protein interactions. Laura Nevola, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
14 October 2009 I Aldo-keto reductases of mice ande men:
10 September 2009 I Synthetic alpha-helix peptidomimetics for
14 September 2009 I Design and chemical synthesis of antiviral
peptides targeted to structural and/or functional domains: Assembly of Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis virus (IPNV) as a model system. Sergio H Marshall, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Valparaiso, Chile transporters? Baruch Kanner, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel I The GAIT system: A gatekeeper of inflammatory gene expression. Paul Fox, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland, USA in mice. Manuel Fernández, Queensland University, Queensland, Australia Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, La Jolla, USA
16 October 2009 I Balancing self-renewal and differentiation: Regu-
15 September 2009 I What is chloride doing to the neurotransmitter
21 October 2009 I Study of the serylation system in Drosophila melanogaster. Tanit Guitart, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I
Crystal structures of avian reovirus and porcine adenovirus proteins. Pablo Guardado, University of de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
16 September 2009 I Metabolic consequences of lack of Caveolin-1
22 October 2009 I Coupling mitotic checkpoint control to aneu-
ploidy and cancer. Rocío Sotillo, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA ity control. Richard J Youle, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, USA I The multifaceted role of circulating endothelial cells and progenitors in cancer. Francesco Bertolini, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, Milan, Italy
17 September 2009 I Molecules in small spaces. Agustí Lledó, 23 September 2009 I Searching Drosophila for new genes involved
23 October 2009 I Role of Parkin and Pink1 in mitochondrial qual-
in wound healing. Antonio Jacinto, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 63
26 October 2009 I Obesity-induced inflammation in T2D and CVD:
Pathogenic mediator and pharmacologic target. Steven E Shoelson, University of Harvard, Boston, USA
18 November 2009 I Protein folding mechanisms reloaded. Athi Narayan, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Epigenetics speaks up
28 October 2009 I The physical forces behind collective cell migration: Where is the leader? Xavier Trepat, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain I Expression and purification trials of a membrane protease. Núria Cerdà, Institute for Molecular Biology of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Structural, mechanistic and functional analysis of c-Abl/Bcr-Abl and its tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Oliver Hantschel, Research Center for Molecular Medicine, Vienna, Austria
for silent DNA. Miguel Peinado, Institute of Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer (IMPPC), Barcelona, Spain phenotypes: Linking nucleic acid metabolism with autoimmunity. Yanick Crow, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, UK
20 November 2009 I Aicardi-Goutières syndrome and related
25 November 2009 I Cell-ECM interactions mediated by integrins
30 October 2009 I Crystal structure of a 1 MDa protein complex
regulate the proliferation-to-differentiation switch. Mª Dolores Martín-Bermudo, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain I AFM studies on the mechanical resistance of proteins: effects of small ligand binding. Albert Escobedo, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain oligopeptidase inhibitors. Teresa Tarragó, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain cancer therapy. Ernst Wagner, University Munich, Munich, Germany
essential for microtubule growth. Guillermo Montoya, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, Spain I Genetic code reprogramming for the ribosomal expression of natural productlike non-standard peptides. Hiroaki Suga, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
26 November 2009 I NMR in drug discovery: Finding new prolyl
27 November 2009 I Dynamic polymers for targeted RNA and DNA
4 November 2009 I Effects of HDACIs in proliferation and apop-
tosis of human leukaemia cell lines: Role of Annexin A1 and its membrane localization. Walter d’Acunto, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Salerno, Italy I Planarian stem cells: A proteomic screening for novel neoblast genes. Gustavo Rodríguez, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Role of High Mobility Group (HMG), chromosomal proteins in cancer. MR Rajeswari, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India regulates meiosis, mitosis and tumour development. Raúl Méndez, Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain I Towards a universal BBB-shuttle: Evaluation of a first library of potential peptidic BBB-shuttles using different in vitro tools. Roger Prades, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2 December 2009 I Smad-dependent and independent signalling in
osteoblast biology. Francesc Ventura, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain I Structural approaches to a system of mitochondrial proteins. Maria Solà, Institute for Molecular Biology of Barcelona (IBMB-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain NMR spectroscopy. Shang-Te Danny Hsu, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
3 December 2009 I Probing protein folding on the ribosome using
5 November 2009 I A CPEB-mediated translational control circuit
4 December 2009 I Natural selection in the XXI century and the
emergence of evolutionary systems biology. Jaume Betranpetit, Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (UPF-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain in nuclear receptor signalling control. Johan Tisserand, Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Illkirch, France I Novel peptide-mediated interactions derived from highresolution 3-dimensional structures. Amelie Stein, IRB Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain carnitine acyltransferases and its role against insulin resistance. Fausto Hegardt, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
16 December 2009 I Physiological implications of the loss of TIF1a
6 November 2009 I Molecular regulation of glucose uptake and storage in muscle. Kei Sakamoto, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
11 November 2009 I Electrophoresis NMR—a tool for the determi-
nation of the charge of molecules. Ulrich Scheler, Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research, Dresden, Germany I SOCS36E specifically interferes with Sevenless RTK during Drosophila eye development. Isabel Almudí, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain and future trends. Frantisek Svec, EO Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, USA
18 December 2009 I Molecular and functional characterization of
13 November 2009 I Monolithic polymers: Present state-of-the-art
16 November 2009 I A new approach to induce tissue specific
loss-of-function in Drosophila melanogaster. Nirmal Lorensuhewa, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
64 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
IRB Barcelona Events
Barcelona BioMed Conferences
More than 450 researchers from around the world travelled to Barcelona in 2009 to take part in events organised within the Barcelona BioMed Conference series. Now in its fourth year, the series has continued to gain international renown for bringing together leading experts to present and discuss the latest breakthroughs in several fields of the biomedical sciences in a highly focused, think-tank atmosphere. Organised by IRB Barcelona and made possible thanks to the BBVA Foundation, the 2009 lineup included top international speakers in chemistry, cell and developmental biology, oncology, genetics and proteomics. Barcelona BioMed Conferences take place at the Institut d’Estudis Catalans in downtown Barcelona.
20-22 April 2009 I The DNA-Proteome: Recent Advances Towards
Establishing the Protein-DNA Interaction Space Organisers: Herbert Auer (IRB Barcelona) and Erich Grotewold (Ohio State University, USA)
26-28 October 2009 I Peptide Engineering: Therapeutic Peptides
Fifth Peptide Engineering Meeting (PEM5) Organisers: Ernest Giralt (IRB Barcelona) and Claudio Toniolo (University of Padua, Italy)
14-16 September 2009 I Modelling Cancer in Drosophila
Organisers: Cayetano González (IRB Barcelona) and Helena Richardson (Peter Mac Research, Melbourne, Australia)
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 65
Barcelona BioMed Workshops
These activities provide an important training mechanism whereby scientists at all levels can keep abreast of the latest tools and techniques used in their fields. The workshops host expert speakers and trainers from basic research and industry who provide theoretical background and hands-on practical training for small groups of participants. Topics cover a wide range of areas in basic and applied research. Barcelona BioMed Workshops organised in 2009 included:
19-20 November 2009 I Spine 2-Complexes Teach SG workshop:
Advanced Strategies for the Expression of Proteins and Protein Complexes in Yeast Organisers: Miquel Coll (IRB-Barcelona & IBMB-CSIC), Maria Armenia Carrondo (ITQB, Oeiras, Portugal), Ma Cristina Vega (CIB-CSIC, Madrid), Albert Canals (IRB Barcelona & IBMB-CSIC)
14 December 2009 I Media Training for Scientists
Presented by Claire Ainsworth and Clare Wilson (SciConnect, UK)
Barcelona BioMed Forum
11 November 2009 I Barcelona BioMed Forum on ‘Creativity, Science
The Barcelona BioMed Forum on ‘Creativity, Science and Art’, held on 11 November 2009, explored themes of nature and creativity within a scientific and artistic framework. A distinguished international panel of scientists and artists gathered to discuss questions ranging from such as what is science? What is nature? What is art? What do science and art have in common and how do they differ? What role does creativity play in both areas? Designed to be informative, entertaining and highly interactive, ‘Creativity, Science and Art’ involved activities that ranged from lectures and debates to exhibitions and creative sessions. The forum featured an exhibition of a collection of works entitled ‘Paisajes Neuronales’ (Neuronal Landscapes), provided generously on loan by ”La Caixa” Obra Social, and was complemented by contributions from members of the IRB Barcelona community. The forum was preceded by a one-day artist-in-residence programme where local artists were selected to join an IRB Barcelona laboratory and work with our scientists to get a first-hand look at some of the techniques and methodologies used in today’s biomedical research.
66 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
1st IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium
2-3 November 2009 I 1st IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium: ‘The Architecture of Life’
Organisers: IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium Committee The IRB Barcelona PhD Symposium series seeks to bring together PhD students and other researchers from around the world for presentations and debate about important topics in the biomedical sciences. The first event in this series, ‘The Architecture of Life’, explored current research into how life is built, and topics ranged from DNA, RNA and proteins, all the way up to tissues and organism, in normal and diseases states. Eight internationally renowned speakers from different areas brought their perspectives and were joined by more than 100 participants, some of whom were invited to give short talks and present posters of their work. The conference also included a plenary discussion for all participants. ‘The Architecture of Life’ was generously hosted by CosmoCaixa, Barcelona.
The new IRB Barcelona initiative MetCentre, launched in July 2009 to create a multidisciplinary platform for metastasis research, held the following internal collaborative sessions throughout the year:
27 October 2009 I Deconstructing Metastasis
Speaker: Joan Massagué, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA)
23 December 2009 I Intestinal Stem Cell Genes in Colorectal
Cancer Progression and Relapse Speaker: Eduard Batlle, IRB Barcelona
In 2009, IRB Barcelona organised the following events in collaboration with other institutions:
22 January 2009 I Cancer Research Meeting
Organisers: Instituto de Investigaciones Sanitarias Clínic-IDIBAPS & IRB Barcelona Organisers: Institut d’Investigacions Sanitàries Clínic-IDIBAPS & IRB Barcelona
23-25 November 2009 I Expanding the Frontiers of Molecular
Dynamics Simulations in Biology Organisers: IRB Barcelona & Barcelona Supercomputing Center yond the Bench Organisers: IRB Barcelona & Barcelona Science Park
26 March 2009 I Neuroscience Research Meeting
3 December 2009 I Career Progression in Science - Options Be-
6 April 2009 I Towards Gender Balance
Organisers: IRB Barcelona and SET-Routes University Ambassador Programme (EMBL, EMBO, CERN)
9 December 2009 I Research on Infectious, Immunological Dis-
18-19 June 2009 I Research on Metabolic, Hepatic and Digestive
eases and International Health Meeting Organisers: Institut d’Investigacions Sanitàries Clínic-IDIBAPS & IRB Barcelona tion (CAPRI) 4th Evaluation Meeting Organisers: IRB Barcelona & Barcelona Supercomputing Center
Diseases Meeting Organisers: Institut d’Investigacions Sanitàries Clínic-IDIBAPS & IRB Barcelona
9-11 December 2009 I Critical Assessment of PRedirect Interac-
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 67
During 2009, many IRB Barcelona scientists took part in a series of outreach activities organised by the Barcelona Science Park. The events were aimed at giving students a hands-on look at today’s cutting-edge research and to encourage them to take up careers in science.
A series of weekly workshops for students and the general public
13 January-14 May I 3 November-17 December 2009
Guimerais, Xavier Just, Marta Llimargas, Laura Mendieta, Nuria Molist, Sara Preciado, Sonia Saborit, Manuela Sánchez, Sarah Sherwood, Eleonore Sorianello, Mónica Torras, Emma Veza, Esther Vicente and Marta Vilaseca
IRB Barcelona participants: Muriel Arimó, Elisabeth Castellanos, Consol Farrera, Anna Guimerals, Ana Janic, Leire Mendizábal, Irene Martín, Miguel Moreno, Mónica Pascual, Maria Serra, Lorena Valverde and Esther Zurita Topics: DNA analysis to track down a criminal, flies with cancer
Spend the Summer at the Park!
An internship programme for undergraduate students involving active participation in research projects at the PCB
1 July-31 September 2009
Research in Primary Schools
A bimonthly research activity to bring science closer to primary school students through active involvement in experiments
IRB Barcelona participants (student tutors): Patrick Aloy, Antonio Celada, Albert Canals, Miquel Coll, Alfred Cortés, Ernest Giralt, Cristina Minguillón, Modesto Orozco, Miquel Pons, Lluis Ribas de Pouplana, Antoni Riera and Xavier Salvatella
IRB Barcelona participants: Carme Cortina and Elisa Espinet Topics: Introduction to the scientific method, DNA extraction, stem cells, microscope analysis
Research in Secondary Schools
A mentoring activity to assist secondary school students in their research projects
Live Research Fair
A science fair to show the latest research taking place in Barcelona
July 2009-March 2010
IRB Barcelona participants: Ana Janic, Thierry Leon, Irene Martín, Carles Martínez, Maria Moreno, Laura Nocito, Neus Rafel, Lídia Ruíz, Isabel Sáez, Pablo Sirkin, Jordi Vallès and Delia Zafra
15-16 April 2009
IRB Barcelona participants: Noelia Camacho, Manuel Castro, Carme Cortina and Sergio Palomo Topics: What is colon cancer and what can we do about it? How to find a new drug to fight parasites
Open Day: What is the Barcelona Science Park? What is research about?
A one-day event to bring science closer to secondary school students
17, 19 and 24 of November 2009
Kids Day at IRB Barcelona
29 June 2009
IRB Barcelona participants: Carme Cortina and Elisa Espinet Topics: RNA extraction, cell visualisation, in vitro cell culture, RNA analysis from tumoural cells, separation of benign and malignant tumoural cells
An event organised by IRB Barcelona aimed to help children experience the wonder of science and become researchers for a day IRB Barcelona volunteers: Anna Adrover, Anna Arnal, Lydie Babin, Elisenda Buti, Jorge Domínguez, Meritxell Gavaldà, Anna
68 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
IRB Barcelona in the News
IRB Barcelona is featured regularly in Catalan, Spanish and International mass media. During 2009, IRB Barcelona activities appeared about 500 times in the media in the form of news articles, interviews and in-depth reports. IRB Barcelona researchers have also written a number of feature articles about their science.
23 January 2009 I Avui
The health section of the Catalan newspaper AVUI devoted a two-page article to two European projects on malaria and diabetes awarded to IRB Barcelona in the second call of the VII Framework Programme.
27 March 2009 I El Mundo
The newspaper El Mundo featured IRB Barcelona scientist Antonio Zorzano in a two-page interview about the main objectives of the European project MITIN on diabetes, which he coordinates.
28 January 2009 I Expansión
The newspaper Expansión featured IRB Barcelona adjunct director Joan Massagué after having won the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the biomedicine category.
21 April 2009 I Diario Médico
Diario Médico highlighted the work on DNA repair carried out by researcher Travis Stracker, who joined IRB Barcelona in May 2009 to run the Genomic Instability and Cancer Laboratory.
23 March 2009 I TV3
The Catalan TV channel TV3 interviewed IRB Barcelona director Joan J Guinovart to get a global view of the reasons why Barcelona is becoming an international hot spot in biomedical research.
7 May 2009 I Público
Público was one of the several Spanish newspapers to highlight a new research discovery by Joan Massagué published in Nature and linking breast cancer to brain metastasis.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 69
9 May 2009 I El País
Researcher Herbert Auer, manager of the IRB Barcelona Functional Genomics Core Facility, published a two-page feature article in El País Salud about the Barcelona BioMed Conference ‘The DNA-Proteome’.
26 July 2009 I La Vanguardia
A one-page opinion article by IRB Barcelona director Joan J Guinovart focusing on the importance of investing in science in times of crisis in order to strengthen the country’s economy.
1 June 2009 I Correo Farmacéutico
Correo Farmacéutico was one of the several newspapers to report on Diomed, a new FP7 project coordinated by IRB Barcelona and aimed at finding new drugs against diabetes.
2 October 2009 I El Mundo
An in-depth interview with IRB Barcelona group leader Cayetano González about the benefits of using Drosophila melanogaster in biomedical research.
12 July 2009 I La Vanguardia
IRB Barcelona was highlighted in La Vanguardia as one of the top research centres in Catalonia. The article focused on the region’s investment efforts in biomedicine.
30 October 2009 I La Gaceta
IRB Barcelona group leader and programme coordinator Ernest Giralt was featured in La Gaceta newspaper for his work and expertise on peptides and their potential in biomedicine.
18 July 2009 I La Vanguardia
La Vanguardia published an indepth article on the establishment of the MetCentre, a new initiative coordinated by Joan Massagué and launched by IRB Barcelona in July 2009 to unite efforts against cancer.
3 November 2009 I El Periódico
The 1st IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium, ‘The Architecture of Life’, was one of the highlights in the science section of the newspaper El Periódico. The symposium was held in Barcelona on 2-3 November.
20 July 2009 I El País
Omnia Molecular, a spin-off company established by IRB Barcelona researcher Lluís Ribas de Pouplana, was featured in a special section of El País dedicated to highlight businesses that haven’t been affected by the financial crisis.
21 December 2009 I Diario Médico
Diario Médico reported on a study undertaken by IRB Barcelona researchers at the Gene Translation Laboratory, led by group leader Lluís Ribas de Pouplana. Details about this new tool were published in the Nucleic Acids Research journal.
70 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
IRB Barcelona Organisation Chart
Board of Trustees Executive Board Director
Joan J Guinovart
External Advisory Board
Internal Scientific Commitee
Marco Milán, Miquel Coll, Antonio Zorzano, Ernest Giralt, Eduard Batlle
Cell & Developmental Biology
Ferran Azorín, Jordi Casanova, Cayetano González, Jens Lüders, Marco Milán, Lluís Ribas de Pouplana, Eduardo Soriano
Advanced Digital Microscopy Julien Colombelli Biostatistics/Bionformatics David Rossell Functional Genomics Herbert Auer Mass Spectrometry Marta Vilaseca Mouse Mutant Protein Expression Nick Berrow
Scientific structure Administrative structure supporting scientific activities
Research & Academic Administration Margarita Navia Human Resources Sylvia Martínez Finance Alexandre Puerto Purchasing Yolanda Olmos Communications & External Relations Sarah Sherwood Information Technology Services Francisco Lozano Innovation & Strategic Projects Jorge Domínguez
Structural & Computational Biology
Patrick Aloy, Miquel Coll, Ignasi Fita, Maria Macias, Modesto Orozco, Miquel Pons
Carme Caelles, Antonio Celada, Joan J Guinovart, Manuel Palacín, Antonio Zorzano
Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Fernando Albericio, Ramon Eritja, Ernest Giralt, Antoni Riera, Màrius Rubiralta (until December 2009), Xavier Salvatella
Eduard Batlle, MetLab, Elena Sancho (until October 2009), Travis Stracker
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 71
Directorate & Administration Staff
IRB Barcelona Directorate
Joan J Guinovart
Marco Milán Miquel Coll
Coordinator, Cell & Developmental Biology Coordinator, Structural & Computational Biology
Antonio Zorzano Ernest Giralt
Coordinator, Molecular Medicine Coordinator, Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Research & Academic Administration: Margarita Navia (Head), Clara Caminal (Academic Officer), Sònia Saborit (Project Officer), Adriana
Grosu (European Project Manager), Esther Cid (Research & Academic Administration Assistant) I Human Resources: Sylvia Martínez (Head), Silvia Aguadé (Personnel Management Officer), Maria Rovira (Human Resources Officer), Cristina Méndez (Human Resources Assistant, since July 2009), Alba Cima (Human Resources Assistant, until July 2009) I Finance: Alex Puerto (Head), Thais Raventós (Finance Controller, since September 2009), José Luís Fernández (Finance Controller, until September 2009), Elisava de la Hoz (Accounting Officer), Dan Maldonado (Accounting Officer), Stel·la Serra (Project Officer), Cristina Coletas (Finance Assistant) I Purchasing: Yolanda Olmos (Head), Xavier López (Purchasing Officer), Sara López (Buyer), Eric González (Buyer) I Communications & External Relations: Sarah Sherwood (Head), Sònia Armengou (Media Relations Officer), Anna Alsina (Information & Publications Officer), Meritxell Gavaldà (Conference & Event Coordinator), Tanya Yates (Editorial Support) I Information Technology Services: Francisco Lozano (Head), Roberto Bartolomé (Systems Architect), David Villanueva (Systems Administrator), Jesús Sánchez (Systems Administrator), Rodolfo Scorians (Service Desk Technician) I Innovation
& Strategic Projects: Jorge Domínguez (Head), Cristina Horcajada (Technology Transfer Officer) I Programme Secretaries: Martha
Brigg (Cell & Developmental Biology), Vanessa Llobet (Structural & Computational Biology), Natàlia Molner (Molecular Medicine), Eva Poca (Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology), Sara Martorell (Oncology)
Human Resources Statistics
IRB Barcelona Members
Laboratories Core Facilities Administration 387 18 34
Scientific Staff by Research Programme
Structural & Computational Biology
Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Cell & Developmental Biology
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 73
Scientific Staff by Professional Category
PhD Students Technicians
The IRB Barcelona community includes researchers who are hired exclusively by the Institute and scientists who are also affiliated to other institutions, including the University of Barcelona (UB), the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Below is a list of the IRB Barcelona researchers with double affiliations.
University of Barcelona (UB)
Fernando Albericio Carme Caelles Antonio Celada Ernest Giralt Joan J Guinovart Modesto Orozco Manuel Palacín Miquel Pons Antoni Riera Màrius Rubiralta (until December 2009) Eduardo Soriano Antonio Zorzano
Mercédez Álvarez Ferran Burgaya Anna Diez (until December 2009) Annabel Fernández (until March 2009) Josep Gelpí Rodolfo Lavilla (until December 2009) Jorge Lloberas Albert Martínez Cristina Minguillón (until December 2009) Jesús Ureña Xavier Verdaguer
Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA)
Patrick Aloy Eduard Batlle Roger Gomis (MetLab Managing Director) Cayetano González Maria Macias Marco Milán Lluís Ribas de Pouplana Xavier Salvatella
Natàlia Carulla Alfred Cortés José Luís Vázquez-Ibar
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 75
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Ferran Azorín Jordi Casanova Miquel Coll Ramon Eritja Ignasi Fita
Anna Maria Avinyó Jordi Bernués Maria Lluïsa Espinàs Xavier Franch Marc Furriols Maria Solà Cristina Vega
76 2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report
Barcelona Science Park
uring 2009, the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) fulfilled its objectives through implementing several activities in the fields of research, innovation, and the dissemination of science. The PCB also grew significantly with respect to surface area, infrastructures, and the number of people, companies and organisations working there. Following its expansion plan, which is expected to end in 2011, the PCB completed the remodelling work on the Towers R+D+I, thus bringing an additional 10,000m2 into use. During the first semester of 2009, the new spaces in the Towers R+D+I were taken up, reaching 97% occupation. Furthermore, construction work continued in the second phase of the Cluster building, the Energies building and the Services building; this work is expected to be completed during 2010. In addition to this growth, one of the highlights was the installation of the ‘Centre Nacional d’Anàlisi Genòmica’ (CNAG) in the PCB. In 2009, the Spanish Government committed to creating a scientific-technological centre for large-scale genome sequencing. With this objective, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Catalan government and the Barcelona Science Park Foundation signed a collaboration agreement to set up this sequencing centre in Barcelona. This initiative seeks to cover the increasing
demand for mass sequencing in relation to genomics research projects of great importance, thus guaranteeing the participation of Spain in the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and assuring Spain’s competitiveness in the strategic field of genomics, as well as in other sectors of significant economic relevance, such as biomedicine, agriculture and food biotechnology, renewable energies and environmental bioengineering. The first phase of this project consists of setting up CNAG and includes the development of infrastructures, the purchase of equipment, and the recruitment of personnel. It also encompasses the execution of a pilot study related to the sequencing of tumour samples as part of Spain’s participation in the ICGC. CNAG will then be consolidated as a scientific-technological facility through the award of competitive funding, which will then allow the centre to extend its activities to a wide range of R+D+I projects of strategic interest. In the field of innovation, special mention is given to the growth of the PCB-Santander Bioincubator, which has gone from hosting 10 companies at its start in 2007 to 16 companies at the end of 2009.
2009 IRB Barcelona Annual Report 77
IRB Barcelona Barcelona Science Park Baldiri Reixac 10 08028 Barcelona Spain Tel: +34 93 402 0250 Fax: +34 93 403 7114 email@example.com www.irbbarcelona.org
With the collaboration of
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.