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IRB Barcelona receives 20% of the ERC Advanced Grants awarded in Spain

By 24 de January de 2012November 18th, 2020No Comments
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IRB Barcelona receives 20% of the ERC Advanced Grants awarded in Spain

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded three ERC Advanced Grants to the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), which account for 20% of the 15 grants awarded to centres in Spain, according to information provided by the European research organisation. Likewise, the ERC statistics for the 2011 call reveal that of the 2284 projects presented, 294 passed the screening process, which represents a success rate of 13%.The centre has had a 100% success rate, presenting three projects and receiving funding for all three.

Drs. Cayetano González and Angel R. Nebreda, ICREA professors at IRB Barcelona, will address the projects focused on cancer, “FliesCan” and “p38Cancer” respectively. These projects fall into the Life Sciences category. In contrast, “SimDNA”, the project presented by Dr. Modesto Orozco, full professor at the University of Barcelona, addresses the computational simulation of nucleic acids and is included in the Physical Sicences and Engineering category. Each project will receive funding of approx. 2.5 million euros over five years.

In the project “FliesCan” –acronym of “Modelling Cancer Traits in Drosophila”-, the Cell Division Lab headed by Dr. Cayetano González will study tumour growth and aneuploidies (incorrect distribution of chromosomes during cell division). Dr. González will use the brain tumour development model in Drosophila melanogaster flies, a field in which he has contributed with seminal works in Nature, Dev Cell and Science.The “FliesCan” project has a double objective: to identify new ways by which to inhibit tumour growth and to determine the origin and function of aneuploidies and changes in the number of gene copies in tumour growth. “FliesCan” includes the screening of drugs with possible therapeutic value.

Dr. Angel Nebreda is an international authority on the p38 protein kinase family, which he co-discovered in 1994. These proteins acts as cell signal transmitters and they affect the activities of many other proteins and control highly complex processes that determine cell behaviour. Over a long career, Dr. Nebreda, head of the Signalling and Cell Cycle Lab at IRB Barcelona, has demonstrated the link between p38 and various kinds of cancer in successive articles in high impact journals. The “P38Cancer” project seeks to unravel the role of p38 in the development of tumours. The project combines studies in biochemistry and cancer cell biology, pharmacology, and genetic analyses. In summary, “p38Cancer” will address the key issues in cell signalling that control tumour growth, with the goal to contribute to a more rational development of cancer treatment.

The full name of Dr. Orozco’s project is “Advanced multiscale simulation of DNA”. SimDNA comprises three parts: the development of theoretical models and algorithms for computational simulations at several scales of resolution; the implementation of computational programmes; and the experimental validation of the predictions. The objective is to provide information about the structure and physical properties of nucleic acids and how these features explain the function of these molecules. Through SimDNA, the international scientific community will be provided with a series of computational tools that will unravel the behaviour of nucleic acids. The most direct application is in the field gene expression regulation and in epigenetics. In other words, the tools developed in the SimDNA project will allow scientists to fully understand the mechanisms that control gene expression.

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