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Team at the IBMB-CSIC Structural Biology Unit (Photo © Parc Científic de Barcelona).

The IBMB-CSIC Structural Biology Unit has been awarded a “María de Maeztu” distinction

The Structural Biology Unit of the Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona (IBMB-CSIC), located at Parc Científic de Barcelona, has obtained the accreditation of Unit of Excellence “María de Maeztu”  in the first edition of this call of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. By virtue of this recognition, the research unit will be endowed with 500,000 € per year over the next four years.

The Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona of the Spanish Higher Research Council (IBMB-CSIC) focuses its research on the study of the major molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in the physiology and development of living organisms. Their research lines range from of structural biology, epigenetics and cellular physiology to developmental biology.

The Structural Biology Unit of BMB-CSIC aims to understand the cell machinery by studying proteins, nucleic acids and their interactions from a structural perspective, with a strong emphasis on the regulation of nucleic acid replication and transcription, the structure-function analysis of proteases and other enzymes related to human diseases, the study of different pathogens (including viruses) and the study of cellular organelles such as peroxisomes and mitochondria.

“This recognition will allow us to consolidate the groups and the technology platforms of the Unit and also expand our research capabilities by incorporating new concepts and technologies. We will continue working to carry out our strategic plan that focuses on the application of multidisciplinary approaches designed to solve crucial problems in biomedicine and biotechnology”, says Núria Verdaguer, Scientific Director of the Unit.

According Ferran Azorin, director of IBMB-CSIC, “the accreditation as a Unit of Excellence “María de Maetzu” of the Department of Structural Biology represents the recognition of the efforts and the central role that the IBMB-CSIC plays on the development and consolidation of structural biology in our country. The high quality research that is conducted at the Unit is part of a solid scientific project of the whole internationally recognized Institute, which in a multidisciplinary manner addresses relevant issues in the field of molecular, cellular and developmental biology. This accreditation fill us with pride and motivates us to continue working towards achieving new challenges”.

Units of Excellence “María de Maeztu”

The latest 2014 call of the Severo Ochoa Centres of Excellence program  has included the modality of Units of Excellence “María de Maeztu” as recognition for the excellence of organizational research structures of accredited scientific relevance -without their own legal personality- formed entirely or in part by the research staff of a given center, university department or research institute.

A total of 115 international renowned scientists have participated in the assessment of this first call. Besides the IBMB-CSIC, the following organizations have also been recognized with the distinction: Institute of Cosmos Sciences (ICCUB) of the University of Barcelona; Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics (BGSMath) promoted, among others, by the School of Mathematics of the UB through the Institute of Mathematics (IMUB); the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) of the Pompeu Fabra University; Condensed Matter Physics Center (IFIMAC) of the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Department of Economics at the Carlos III University. These new María de Maeztu  units will be endowed with a funding of 500,000 per year for four years.