Thanks University Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Thanks Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).


PhD Thesis from the group at the PRBB during the last 10 years

Today is the last day of my group at UPF and the PRBB after more than 10 years. We are moving to the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) next week. A chapter of my career is ending, and a new one is starting, and I think it is a good time to look back and consider what these 10 years have meant for me and my lab.

I started at the University Pompeu Fabra on 1st April 2006, after gaining a Ramon y Cajal (RyC) contract –a competitive contract by the Spanish Goverment– designed to recruit young scientist to start their independent research path in Spain. Although the RyC contracts have not always served the purpose for which they were designed, in my case it really did.

At that time, the works to build the PRBB were going on and in the blueprints of the GRIB (Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics) we were still able to add one more office to host me. In August 2006 me and my group –we were only three people at that time– together with the other bioinformaticians at GRIB were among the first to move to the brand new and impressive PRBB. Those were exciting times. In 2011 I was awarded an ICREA Research Professor contract, which continues to support me. ICREA is a foundation created by the Catalan Government, which aims to recruit top scientists for the Catalan R&D system.

Ten years have passed since the start of my lab, and now I look back and I can just say THANKS. Thanks to UPF and the GRIB for the opportunity to start my own lab and follow my research line, to the PRBB and all the colleagues here for this stimulating research environment that has helped me to grow as a scientist.

One of the many nice things about the PRBB, in addition to the Beach Volley League, the Open Day and regular visits and seminars from top scientists around the world, is the Intervals courses program. PRBB intervals is a program to teach soft skills to park residents. They offer courses on topics such as science communication, leadership, career development, mentoring, scientific integrity, etc. I think it is a great program and other institutes around the world should copy this model. It has helped me and people in my lab to become better scientists. Thanks!

Next week we are moving to the (IRB), an independent, non-profit research centre with top research labs focused on basic and applied biomedical science. The IRB is located at the Barcelona Science Park, just few kilometers south of the PRBB.

I am glad that I will maintain my affiliation with University Pompeu Fabra, as I will keep my teaching activity at the Master of Bioinformatics. I will come often to visit for seminars, teaching, visiting colleagues. Then, this is not a Good Bye, but just a SEE YOU SOON.



A Cancer Genome Interpreter to identify driver and actionable alterations in tumors

The use of genomic information is becoming a key piece of the oncology toolkit to make informed decisions aimed to improve the management of the disease and increase the cost-effectiveness of available therapies. Although in recent years the relevance of many oncogenic alterations in malignant transformation has been identified and validated across cancer types, the relevance for cancer growth of most alterations in a patient’s tumor are still of uncertain significance and their usefulness to inform the most appropriate treatment is unclear. Furthermore, mounting experimental and clinical data on tumor alterations driving the disease and influencing the response to anti-cancer therapies is currently gathered across scattered and fragmented resources,  annotated with dissimilar approaches and with no easy framework to match the knowledge they store with the alterations observed in a patient’s tumor. These problems severely limit the value that the genomic information of a tumor individual provides beyond the well-known biomarkers of drug response.

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