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

  • Baroni, Marco

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

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    Baroni, Marco

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Social & Behavioural Sciences
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    Research interests

    Marco is interested in human language and how it is acquired. To gain insights into these questions, he develops and studies computational systems, in particular deep neural networks, that acquire aspects of language from realistic input data. By analyzing the inner dynamics and external behaviour of these systems, we can gain insights into questions such as: how much linguistic knowledge is already implicitly present in input distributions, what are the minimal priors necessary for learning, what is the space of solutions to the communication challenges that led to the evolution of language, and so on. The ultimate goal of Marco's research is to bring about a more precise characterization of what is unique about the human language faculty.

    Key words

    linguistics, cognitive science, natural language semantics, grammar, computational simulations, distributed representations, neural networks, compositionality and generalization

    ORCID

    : https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5066-3580

  • 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

    My main research interest is the discovery of bioactive molecules with novel mechanisms of action. These molecules can then be used as chemical probes to interrogate biological systems and validate new pharmacological targets, or as starting points to develop drug candidates. I aim to expand the so-called druggable genome by targeting untapped biological components, preferably through non-standard mechanisms of action, such as allosteric binding, conformational trapping or stabilisation of protein-protein complexes. To achieve this objective my group employs a multi-disciplinary and question-driven approach that combines computational, biophysical and biological techniques. We are particularly strong in computer-aided drug design and we develop new 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 is based 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. I have investigated in Mozambique, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Brazil and now Bhutan, the epidemiology, aetiology and clinical characteristics of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, neonatal sepsis, Yaws and other infectious diseases significantly affecting child's health. I’m interested in biomarkers of host response as diagnostic and prognostic tools to help triage children and better target antibiotics. 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. More recently, my research has focused on improving the poor existing data on the causes of child mortality. An important contribution has been the validation of a radically innovative minimally invasive autopsy (MIA) sampling protocol.

    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 are also interested in the process of metastasis, the cause of death of most colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Neither conventional chemotherapy nor current targeted therapies offer significant benefits once the disease has spread to distant organs.  Furthermore, current CRC staging based on histopathology and imaging has a limited ability to predict the evolution of the disease. We have recently discovered that vast majority of genes that distinguish poor prognosis CRC subtypes are expressed by stromal cells rather than by epithelial tumor cells. It appears that metastasis relies on a tumor cell non-autonomous program driven by TGF-beta in the tumor microenvironment. 

    Key words

    Colorectal cancer, intestinal stem cells, TGF-beta signaling, tumor microenvironment, metastasis