The ICREAs

ICREA research professors form a vibrant community of scientists and researchers in all areas of knowledge that contribute to the advancement of humankind by exploring, interpreting and questioning. Have a look and learn about their amazing discoveries and findings here:

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  • Ballester Balaguer, Pablo

    Institut Català d'Investigació Química (ICIQ)

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    Ballester Balaguer, Pablo

    Research Professor at
    Institut Català d'Investigació Química (ICIQ)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    My scientific background lies in the areas of organic chemistry (making molecules) and supramolecular chemistry (study how molecules fit together). My research is mainly focused in the design, synthesis, study and characterization of functional molecular aggregates. I consider myself a mixture between a molecular architect and a molecular engineer. We study matter but we also produce matter and new materials. We work in trying to understand molecular self-assembly processes (non-covalnet synthesis) as a methodology to construct large and functional supramolecular assemblies, i.e., molecular machines. A second area of interest resides in the design and application of molecular containers. These are molecular or supramolecular structures with an internal cavity sufficiently large to include or encapsulate other molecules. Unfortunately, although we construct monumental and even artistic structures they are not visible to the naked eye due to their reduced nanometer size.

    Key words

    Supramolecular Chemistry, Molecular Recognition, Physical Organic Chemistry

    ORCID

    : 0000-0001-8377-6610

    RESEARCHER ID

    : B-6436-2011

  • Barril Alonso, Xavier

    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

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    Barril Alonso, Xavier

    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    We are interested in discovering bioactive molecules (chemical probes) as a means to validate new points of pharmacological intervention. We aim to expand the so-called druggable genome by targeting so-far unexploited sites that elicit a biological response through non-standard mechanisms of action, such as conformational trapping, stabilisation of protein-protein complexes or allosterism.

    To achieve this objective we employ a multi-disciplinary and question-driven approach that combines computational, biophysical and biological techniques. We are particularly strong in computer-aided drug design and develop computational approaches that enable us to tackle such novel and difficult targets with confidence.

    Key words

    Computer-aided drug design; Structure-based drug discovery; Validation of new therapeutic targets

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-0281-1347

    RESEARCHER ID

    : K-9607-2014

  • Bartumeus, Frederic

    Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CSIC - CEAB)

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    Bartumeus, Frederic

    Research Professor at
    Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CSIC - CEAB)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    My research is focused in the emerging field of movement ecology, which aims to reveal the complex forces that drive movement and dispersal patterns of animals (including humans). Improved tracking technology (GPS, bio-loggers, smart-phones) demands an integrative view, with new computational tools and modeling frameworks to understand unprecedented levels of detail from a constantly growing number of species. I am contributing to this scientific revolution based on a broad, highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research program, founded solidly on statistical physics and quantitative ecology. A central question in my research is how animals use information and their motor properties to optimize search strategies. The mechanistic linkage between behavioral processes and movement patterns is also key to understanding globalised problems such as the perpetuation of social inequality among humans or the spread of vector-borne infectious diseases.

    Key words

    Movement Ecology, Modelling, Search behaviour, Foraging, Migration, Conservation Biology, Invasion Ecology, Human mobility

    ORCID

    : 0000-0001-6908-3797

    RESEARCHER ID

    : D-1911-2010

  • Bassat, Quique

    Institut de Salut Global Barcelona (ISGlobal)

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    Bassat, Quique

    Research Professor at
    Institut de Salut Global Barcelona (ISGlobal)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    As a paediatrician, my research has always relied on the premise that there is no greater public health intervention than that which can reduce child mortality, particularly in poor contexts. To do these, I have worked in low and middle-income countries to understand and prevent malaria, yaws and other infectious diseases that most impact child survival. My work on P. falciparum malaria has contributed to better characterize the disease, and to assess treatment and prevention strategies, including vaccines (NEJM 2011) and new antimalarial drugs (PLoS Med 2011). I have studied the pathogenic potential of P. vivax, a malaria species wrongly believed to only cause “benign” episodes, but for which we have conclusively shown in Brazil, India or Papua New Guinea its potential to cause severe disease (BMC Med 2015). My work in yaws has substantially contributed to identify new therapeutic and preventive strategies for this neglected infection (Lancet 2012). For malaria and yaws, my research is contributing to develop and test the new paradigm of disease eradication, by assessing the impact of drugs to specifically interrupt their transmission (NEJM 2015).

    Regarding other infectious diseases, I have investigated in Mozambique and Morocco the epidemiology, aetiology and clinical characteristics of pneumonia, diarrhea and neonatal sepsis, all major causes of premature mortality. Recognizing that in the poorest areas of the world diagnostic capacities are scarce, I have studied host biomarkers as a tool to reliably differentiate viral from bacterial conditions, and thus better target antibiotic treatment (Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015). In the last years, my research has focused on improving the poor existing data on the causes of death in low-income countries, a fundamental barrier for better health care and policy. An important contribution has been the validation of a radically innovative minimally invasive autopsy (MIA) sampling protocol (Lancet GH 2012, PLoS Med 2016).

    Key words

    Child mortality, Cause of death, Paediatric infections, Pneumonia, Malaria, Eradication, Yaws

    ORCID

    : http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0875-7596

    RESEARCHER ID

    : https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Quique_Bassat

  • Batlle Gómez, Eduard

    Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Barcelona)

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    Batlle Gómez, Eduard

    Research Professor at
    Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Barcelona)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    The inner layer of the intestinal tube, the intestinal epithelium, is in a constant process of renewal. Hundreds of millions of terminally differentiated intestinal cells are replaced by new cells every day during the life of an adult organism. This tremendous regenerative power is ultimately sustained by a small population of intestinal stem cells. It is believed that alterations in the functioning of intestinal stem cells account for the pathophysiology of various bowel disorders. Our laboratory studies the connection between the biology of Intestinal Stem Cells and Colon Cancer. We have recently archieved for the first time the isolation of stem cells of the human colonic epithelium as well as of tumor stem cells from colon cancers. We are currently analyzing the features of these two cell types with the aim of designing new therapeutic and diagnostic tools for the management of colon cancer.

    Key words

    Colorectal cancer, intestinal stem cells, TGF-beta signaling, tumor microenvironment, metastasis
  • Belarte Franco, Maria Carme

    Institut Català d'Arqueologia Clàssica (ICAC)

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    Belarte Franco, Maria Carme

    Research Professor at
    Institut Català d'Arqueologia Clàssica (ICAC)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    The general goal of my research is to study the complex societies of the first millennium BC in western Mediterranean. I am interested in the processes leading to the formation of these societies during the Late Bronze Age as well as their social organisation during the Iron Age (first millennium BC). From a geographical point of view, my research is conducted in North-eastern Iberian Peninsula, South of France and North of Africa. More particularly, my current research focuses on two main issues. On the one hand, the study of settlement patterns, domestic architecture and social use of space. On the second hand, the analysis of rituals, mortuary practices and use of funerary space. The combined analysis of settlement and burial sites enables the understanding of social organisation, and yields information about the appearance of social differences and hierarchy in the Iron Age communities.

    Key words

    Protohistoric societies, Iron Age, Western Mediterranean, domestic architecture, experimental archaeology, building techniques, town planning, settlement patterns, archaeology of death and rituals, paleodemography, heritage management

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-2293-0482