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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    Pablo Ballester
    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 current research focuses on 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 apply molecular self-assembly processes as a methodology to construct large and functional supramolecular aggregates, i.e. molecular machines, molecular sensing assemblies and devices. A second area of my current interests 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
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    Marco Baroni
    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
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    Xavier Barril
    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
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    Frederic Bartumeus
    Bartumeus, Frederic
    Research Professor at
    Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CSIC - CEAB)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    Knowledge of how animals use information to search and disperse in dynamic environments can generate direct applications (biorobotics, bioinformatics) and improve our baseline predictive power with consequences for fields as diverse as behavioural ecology, invasion ecology, or epidemiology. We are contributing to the sudden generation of massive, high-throughput animal movement and behavioural data with the use of high-tech infrastructures for tracking movement in the lab, and developing data mining algorithms for behavioural annotation. We are also using novel technologies (internet, smartphones) and citizen science methods to bring vector-borne disease surveillance and forecast modelling to the next level. By collecting data at an unprecedented range of scales, and focusing on a set of model organisms and ecological contexts, we seek for a more comprehensive understanding of the organizational and dynamical principles linking animal behaviour with population dynamics.

    Key words

    theoretical and computaitonal ecology, animal behaviour, movement ecology, vector-borne diseases, model organisms

    ORCID

    : 0000-0001-6908-3797

    RESEARCHER ID

    : D-1911-2010
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    Quique Bassat
    Bassat Orellana, 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. I have worked in LMICs (Mozambique, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Brazil and Bhutan) to understand and prevent malaria, pneumonia and other infectious diseases that most impact child survival. I’m interested in biomarkers of host response as diagnostic and prognostic tools to help risk stratify children and better prioritize care. My research has included the clinical development of malaria vaccines and new or repurposed drugs and drug-based strategies for malaria and other IDs. To improve the poor existing data on the causes of child mortality. we have developed and implememted in resource constrained settings the minimally invasive autopsy (MIA) method for mortality surveillance purposes. During the pandemic, I've been particularly inetrested in studying transmission and pediatric COVID-19 disease.

    Key words

    Child mortality, Cause of death, Paediatric infections, Pneumonia, Malaria, Eradication, Yaws, COVID-19

    ORCID

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

    RESEARCHER ID

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