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ICREA professor Nuria Montserrat (Photo: IBEC).

Nuria Montserrat wins the ‘Constantes y Vitales Award’ for her research in organoids

Núria Montserrat, ICREA professor and group leader at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), based in the Barcelona Science Park, has been awarded with the Constantes y Vitales Young Talent Award in Biomedical Research during its 8th edition. These awards are aimed at recognizing, valuing, supporting and strengthening the research and preventing work of Spanish scientist in the health field in the last year.

Núria Montserrat, head of the Pluripotency for organ regeneration group, is a recognized expert in the field of organoid research. Montserrat and her team have successfully developed research dedicated to understand how to control the human pluripotent stem cell differentiation in the renal field, which in 2019 led to a great achievement: the generation of renal vascularized organoids, published in the prestigious journal Nature Materials.

The organoid or “miniorgan” production offers ever more complex research models, being very useful for understanding different pathologies. This type of tridimensional culture, derived from stem cells, presents a very similar structure and performance than real organs, which turns them into a powerful tool to test the effectivity and toxicity of drugs in a personalized manner.

Proof of this is the work that Núria Montserrat developed in 2020 and that contributed to another great scientific advance, in which organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells were used for the first time to study the infection of SARS-COV-2 virus and identify molecules capable of reducing the viral load of this virus. This work was published in the journal Cell, in collaboration with international research centres, and received the award for the best biomedical publication in the 6th edition of the Constantes y Vitales Awards.

Her pioneering research has become an international reference in this field, for what she had received different awards, such as the ‘Premi Nacional de Recerca al Talent Jove’ in 2021, given by the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI) and the Government of Generalitat de Cataluña, among others.

Currently, Núria Montserrat is also a coordinator of the National Platform of Biobanks and Biomodels, a structure that allows the handling and the supply of biological samples, as well as associated clinical information, including organoids, animal models and 3D impression.

The jury verdict of the 8th Edition of the Constantes y Vitales Awards was announced yesterday during the ceremony held at the Palacio Neptuno in Madrid and was led by the journalist Mamen Mendizábal, ambassador of the initiative, and with the attendance of the Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, and the CEO of Atresmedia, Silvio González.  

This is the third year in a row that researchers of IBEC obtain the Constantes y Vitales Awards: Nuria Montserrat, award to the best biomedical publication in 2020; Xavier Trepat, award to young talent in biomedical research in 2021, and Nuria Montserrat, award to young talent in biomedical research in 2022.