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El Profesor de Investigación ICREA Salvador Aznar-Benitah (Foto: IRB Barcelona).

Salvador Aznar-Benitah wins the Clinical Biomedical Research Award from the Lilly Foundation

Salvador Aznar-Benitah, ICREA Research Professor at IRB Barcelona, has been awarded the 2022 Biomedical Research Award in the “Preclinical Biomedical Research” category from the Lilly Foundation, for his work on the link between ageing, stem cells, cancer, diet and circadian rhythm. Dr. Josep Tabernero, director of the VHIO and head of the Medical Oncology Service at the Vall de Hebrón University Hospital, was the winner in the “Clinical Biomedical Research” category.

Among their findings, Dr. Aznar-Benitah, head of the Stem Cells and Cancer laboratory and his team have described that stem cell behaviour is tightly regulated by an internal clock that is aligned with the circadian rhythm, revealed some epigenetic mechanisms that allow stem cells to adapt their chromatin to different stimuli received throughout their lives, and identified the cells responsible for initiating metastasis in various types of human tumours.

Internationally acknowledged for his key contributions, Dr. Aznar-Benitah is one of the most dynamic researchers in these fields of study, with more than 70 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and a high impactor factor. Among them, special mention is given to his recent publication in Nature (2021), in which his team determines the influence of different dietary fats on the development of metastasis. The jury has appreciated the implications of all his findings not only for basic and clinical research but also for society at large. Similarly, the jury has highlighted his high scientific calibre and future projection and the potential of his research lines to become real-life solutions.

Distinguishing 40 researchers since their launch in 2022, these awards have become a benchmark for outstanding careers within the scientific community. The rigour of the jury, chaired by Dr. Mariano Barbacid, appraises the merits of the candidates based solely on scientific criteria.

“The brilliant careers of the two winners are examples of dedication and success in basic and clinical research. Their findings, which have an international impact, have contributed to increasing the prestige of the health sciences in Spain,” explains Dr. José Antonio Sacristán, director of the Lilly Foundation, who adds that the award ceremony will be held in Madrid on 20 June.

» For further information at the IRB Barcelona website [+] and the Lilly Foundation website [+]