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Researchers at IBEC and IRB Barcelona receive funding from CaixaResearch Health Call 2021

”la Caixa” Foundation has announced the 30 projects selected in the CaixaResearch Health Call 2021, which seeks to identify and support initiatives with the most promise, the greatest level of scientific excellence, and the greatest potential value and social impact, both in basic and clinical, translational and innovation research. Four of these selected projects are led by researchers from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona).

Dr. Samuel Sánchez, ICREA research professor and Principal Investigator of the “Smart Nano-Bio Devices” group at IBEC, receive competitive funding from the “la Caixa” Foundation to advance these innovative solutions to health problems, leading the project BLADDEBOTS (acronym for bladder robots) that has the participation of the Clínic Foundation for Biomedical Research (FCRB), the Center for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials-CIC biomaGUNE and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). More information: IBEC website [+]

Samuel Sánchez and Benedetta Bolognesi (Photo: IBEC).

“la Caixa” Foundation will also fund an innovative research project co-led by IBEC Junior Group Leader Dra. Benedetta Bolognesi, and by ICREA research professor Ben Lehner at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), which aims to better understand the variants that cause these neurodegenerative diseases and to develop methods to predict whether a person is more susceptible to dementia. Researchers will combine deep mutagenesis and machine learning techniques to produce a “map of dementia” as a method to predict whether a person is more susceptible to suffer these diseases. More information: IBEC website [+]

Two projects led by IRB Barcelona researchers will also receive funding in this CaixaResearch for Health Research call. Dr. Toni Gabaldón, ICREA researcher and head of the Comparative Genomics lab, leads a project aimed at finding new drugs to treat candidiasis. Caused by different species of fungi, the infection is difficult to diagnose and, in some cases, it has high mortality rates, especially when systemic. Moreover, treatments are limited due to high drug resistance.

Toni Gabaldón and Antonio Zorzano (Photo: IBEC).

The project headed by Dr. Antonio Zorzano, leader of the Complex Metabolic Diseases and Mitochondria lab, focuses on the importance of metabolism to unravel non-alcoholic fatty liver. This condition is difficult to diagnose and has no treatment. In addition, the accumulation of fat in liver cells can trigger cirrhosis or liver cancer over time. The project will be developed in a consortium involving the Pere Virgili Institute for Health Research (IISPV) and the University of Barcelona. More information: IRB Barcelona website [+]