At a ceremony in Barcelona today, EMBL and the Spanish government, represented by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO), signed an agreement for a new EMBL site to be hosted in the city. Also present were the Catalan Government, represented by the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), which have supported this initiative from the very beginning. EMBL Barcelona will be located on the campus of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), and researchers at the site will explore how tissues and organs function and develop, and how preventing failures in those processes may help to tackle disease. Alongside cutting-edge research, the site will house state-of-the-art imaging facilities, making pioneering technologies available to scientists worldwide.
“Tissue biology and disease modelling is an exciting field, where we expect breakthroughs in fundamental research and also in terms of future medical applications. EMBL Barcelona will be in a unique position to lead those advances,” says EMBL Director General Iain Mattaj. “The site will be one of the few places in the world where scientists can access state-of-the-art microscopy and modelling technologies specifically designed for studying tissues.”
Scientists at EMBL Barcelona will tackle key challenges around human health. Many health issues like cancer, diseases of the immune system and birth defects involve flaws in how cells arrange themselves and interact at the tissue level. Research in tissue biology raises the exciting prospect of being able to control, make and heal tissues and organs – approaches that could provide new means of treating such conditions.
Researchers at EMBL’s new site will work in a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary and international environment, benefiting from the institute’s long-lasting relationship with the CRG, an international biomedical research institute based at the PRBB, and the close collaboration with other institutes on campus, as well as opportunities across EMBL sites and with other partners throughout Europe and beyond.
EMBL is an intergovernmental organization supported by more than 20 member states. The first new EMBL site to be established in almost 20 years, EMBL Barcelona will be the institute’s 6th site – after Heidelberg (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Grenoble (France), Hinxton (UK) and Monterotondo (Italy). It is expected to begin operations in autumn 2017.
Patrick Cramer (Chair, EMBL Council), Jordi Baiget Cantons (Minister of Business and Knowledge, Government of Catalonia), Luis de Guindos (Minster of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Spain), Iain Mattaj (Director-General, EMBL), Carmen Vela (Secretary of State for Investigation, Development and Innovation, Spain), Jordi Camí (General Director, PRBB), Juan María Vázquez Rojas (General Secretary of Science and Innovation, Spain), Luis Serrano (Director, CRG) (c) Ivan Paulick)