The ERC recognises the excellence of PRBB researchers

The research group of Biomedical Genomics from the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB), led by Núria López-Bigas, has been awarded an European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant. These grants are aimed at the development of innovative and excellent projects conducted by young postdoctoral researchers of a consolidated career between 7 and 12 years. The project that received the ERC, named “NONCODRIVERS” aims at identifying mutations involved in tumour development in non-coding regions. It is set to start in 2016 and to last for five years. You can read more about this here. The ERC has also recognized the work of another female … Continue reading The ERC recognises the excellence of PRBB researchers

De novo genes: starting to solve the mystery of their origins

  A new collaboration amongst scientists at different centres at the PRBB, with Mar Albà from the IMIM as leading author, has come up with a new mechanism for explaining the formation of de novo genes. Although commonly new genes arise by gene duplication and diversification of the copy, some genes appear in genomic regions which did not previously contain any gene, as compared with other species. How do these genes originate from nothing? In a preprint submitted to arXiv.org the authors propose – based on transcriptomic comparisons between humans and three other mammals – that first new regulatory motifs/promoters appeared in … Continue reading De novo genes: starting to solve the mystery of their origins

Science at PRBB: Roberto Elosua’s group on cardiovascular epidemiology and genetics

The Cardiovascular epidemiology and genetics research group, led by Roberto Elosua and Jaume Marrugat at the IMIM, tries to identify the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, their determinants and evaluate prevention strategies. In this short video, Dr Elosua explains their research … Continue reading Science at PRBB: Roberto Elosua’s group on cardiovascular epidemiology and genetics

A roadmap for the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code 2015

In November 2013, a scientific multidisciplinary consensus meeting was held at the Home of FIFA in Switzerland to talk about Anti-Doping in Sport and to create a roadmap for the implementation of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. Jordi Segura, director of the Antidoping Laboratory at the IMIM, took part at the meeting and was one of the authors of a recent article explaining the strategy for the implementation of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. According to the paper, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), the key components of this strategy include: (1) sport-specific risk assessment, (2) prevalence measurement, (3) sport-specific test … Continue reading A roadmap for the implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code 2015

Understanding resistance to methadone treatment for opioid dependence

Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is the most widely-used therapy in opioid dependence, but it is not effective in some patients, who relapse or drop out from treatment. Researchers at the IMIM and Hospital del Mar led by Marta Torrens, in collaboration with colleagues at the CRG, have found a possible explanation of why some people may not respond well to this treatment. As the authors explain in their paper published this month in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, they carried out a genetic analysis on several patients, focusing on the gene ALDH5A1. This enzyme is involved in the catabolism of the … Continue reading Understanding resistance to methadone treatment for opioid dependence

“A society with 27% unemployment is a sick society”

On April 29, the III CiSAL (Occupational Health Research Centre) and Park Salut Mar Health Service meeting took place in the PRBB Auditorium, a meeting that filled the room from wall to wall. These annual meetings consist of an open conference, a round table, and a poster session for students. Fernando Benavides, coordinator of the Public Health and Education in Health Sciences programme at the CEXS-UPF and organiser of the meeting, tells us about it. What was the topic of the meeting? The meeting centred around seeing work as a source of health, physical, psychological and social welfare. The job … Continue reading “A society with 27% unemployment is a sick society”

“We’re evolving towards systems pharmacology”

  A theoretical chemist by training, Jordi Mestres started up the chemogenomics lab of the IMIM, currently part of the GRIB, in 2003. The structure of the group, made up of graduates and doctors in chemistry, biology, biotechnology and computer science, perfectly reflects its three main lines of research: molecules, proteins and programming to predict the interaction between them. “We apply our predictions to both drug discovery and chemical biology”, summarises Mestres. This last discipline consists of using small molecules to sound out biology, for example inhibiting a protein to understand its function. According to the scientist from Girona the … Continue reading “We’re evolving towards systems pharmacology”

DNA isolation method may affect methylation results

Researchers from the neurovascular research group at the IMIM have recently published a paper showing that, when studying DNA methylation, the protocol used for DNA isolation can affect the results. In the paper published in the Open Access journal PLoS One, Jaume Roquer and the rest of the authors – all part of the Spanish Stroke Genetics Consortium – used three different commercial kits for DNA extraction for each sample, and then quantified the global DNA methylation (GDM) by a luminometric methylation assay (LUMA). In the 580 samples analysed, they found significant differences in GDM in the same samples between the three … Continue reading DNA isolation method may affect methylation results

Changes in the brain in patients with ADHD

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD involves robust alterations in the cortical cerebral mantle, as shown in a recent article by Òscar Vilarroya and colleagues from the Neuroimaging Research Group at the IMIM-Hospital del Mar. These alterations are most prominent in brain regions involved in attention processing, and are more common in the childhood form of the disorder than in the adult one. ADHD is a psychiatric and neurobehavioral disorder characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. Although it was initially regarded as a disorder exclusive to childhood – affecting about 3 to 5 percent of children globally -, nowadays its prevalence in adulthood is … Continue reading Changes in the brain in patients with ADHD

Notch in normal and leukemic cells

Anna Bigas and Lluís Espinosa, of the Stem Cell and Cancer group of the IMIM are two principal investigators who have joined forces to investigate different aspects of cancer development. Together with their jointed group of 14 researchers, Bigas focuses on hematopoietic stem cells, while Espinosa concentrates on solid cancer and intestinal stem cells. Bigas aims to understand how a pluripotent stem cell becomes a hematopoietic stem cell during embryogenesis. `It is a great challenge in the regenerative medicine field to understand where these stem cells come from and how they conserve this self- renewing capacity which enables them to … Continue reading Notch in normal and leukemic cells