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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    Solé Vicente, Ricard
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    One of my main research interests is understanding the origins of complexity in living and artificial systems, and how major transitions can be explained by means of statistical physics approaches. To this goal, my Lab develops both theoretical and experimental research, including complex networks, evolutionary unstable dynamics (RNA viruses and cancer) an ambitious program on synthetic biology. The later area includes an exploration of synthetic multicellular systems, biocomputation and synthetic swarm intelligence. Additionally, I have also created two research areas of my own, namely Liquid brains (developing a theory of cognitive networks beyond standard solid brains) and the concept of biosphere terraformation (developing synthetic biology motifs to engineer ecosystems facing future tipping points).

    Key words

    Systems biology, synthetic biology, biocomputation, complex adaptive systems
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    Martín Sombra
    Sombra, Martín
    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    Polynomials appear in a wide variety of contexts in Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science. Polynomials in those situations are not random but come up with a certain structure which is important to exploit. I am interested in systems of structured polynomial equations and particularly in questions like: how many solutions does a given system have? How complicated those solutions can be? Can we predict where they will accumulate? Can we efficiently solve systems of polynomial equations? These problems have conduced me to study combinatorial objects like polytopes and fans, geometrical objects like curves and surfaces, and arithmetic objects like height of points and Diophantine equations. This gives a rich interplay between Complexity Theory, Combinatorics, Algebraic Geometry and Number Theory, leading to interesting results and stimulating research directions.

    Key words

    Algebraic & Diophantine geometry, Arakelov theory, incidence geometry, combinatorics, computer algebra, complexity of algorithms

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-3400-4240

    RESEARCHER ID

    : B-5181-2019
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    Jordi Sort
    Sort Viñas, Jordi
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
    Engineering Sciences
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    Research interests

    Jordi Sort investigates the nanomechanical, magnetoelectric and nanomagnetic properties of innovative and advanced materials, including lithographed structures, thin films and bulk specimens. Among his most relevant achievements one can mention: the use of nanoindentation and selective ion irradiation to create magnetic structures embedded in non-magnetic matrices; the ductilization of metallic glasses by development of nanostructured morphologies; the growth of new types of coatings with enhanced mechanical, magnetic, corrosion-resistance and catalytic properties; the development of advanced biodegradable materials; the characterization of mesoporous materials and onion-type nanoparticles with interlayer magnetic interactions; or the observation of magnetoelectric and magneto-ionic effects in different kinds of heterostructures combining ferromagnetic, ferroelectric and antiferromagnetic layers. Further information at: https://jsort-icrea.uab.cat/.

    Key words

    nanomagnetism, nanomechanics, lithographed systems, nanocomposites, spintronics, nanotechnology

    ORCID

    : orcid.org/0000-0003-1213-3639

    RESEARCHER ID

    : F-6582-2014
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    Salvador Soto Faraco
    Soto-Faraco, Salvador
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Social & Behavioural Sciences
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    Research interests

    I am interested in multisensory perception and attention in humans. Like many other animals, humans are endowed with a wide range of sensory capacities such as hearing, feeling, seeing, smelling and so on. This rich variety of senses allows our brains to represent the surrounding environment with fidelity and precision, so that we can parse information, maintain it as memories, make decisions, and plan and carry out actions. However, to achieve coherent mental representations our brains must coordinate the distinct sources of sensory information effectively across their different temporal scales, spatial frames of reference, and representational formats. I am interested in the neural and behavioural principles underlying the selection, integration and representation of such multisensory information. To achieve this, I use experimental approaches based on psychophysics, a variety of neuroimaging methods to measure neural activity (EEG, fMRI), and brain stimulation techniques (TMS).

    Key words

    Cognitive Neuroscience; Psychology; Attention; Perception; Multisensory Integration; Speech Perception; Touch; Vision; Audition; Body Representation

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-4799-3762

    RESEARCHER ID

    : B-8400-2011
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    Laura Soucek
    Soucek, Laura
    Research Professor at
    Vall d'Hebron Institut d'Oncologia (VHIO)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    Our focus is the Myc oncoprotein, whose deregulation is implicated in almost all human cancer types. We have designed a Myc dominant negative, Omomyc, to investigate the therapeutic benefit of inhibiting Myc in cancer. We demonstrated that Myc inhibition has a remarkable therapeutic index in many mouse models of cancer, while only causing mild and reversible side effects in normal tissues. We also showed that Myc is a safe pharmacological target for many, perhaps all, cancers. Our goal is now to push such a therapeutic approach further towards the clinic. To do so we are making use of a new generation of Myc inhibitory cell-penetrating miniproteins. Our first compound, OMO-103, successfully completed Phase I clinical trial in 2022. These innovative treatments could boost our therapeutic arsenal against the majority of human cancers.

    Key words

    cancer, myc, oncogene, molecular therapeutic, metastasis, miniproteins

    ORCID

    : orcid.org/0000-0002-4750-7971

    RESEARCHER ID

    : AAG-8377-2019
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    Kestutis Staliunas
    Staliunas, Kestutis
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
    Engineering Sciences
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    Research interests

    Spatial quality of laser beams is of high importance in technologies: good quality beams propagate better collimated, can be more tight focused. Not all lasers, however, produce good beams: the radiation of especially very important semiconductor microlasers, microchip lasers,VCELSs, are too random and divergent. We develop new physical concepts and new techniques to manipulate the spatial structure of radiation, by using micro-modulated photonic materials: photonic crystals, metamaterials, Non-Hermitian optical materials. We develop these novel light-manipulation techniques in fundamental level and implement them in photonic industry. Also the good quality beams of microwaves, sound waves, or matter waves are required. We apply our experience in "smart manipulation of light patterns" to the other types of waves, to produce "clean" and well directed sound beams by so called "sonic crystals" in acoustics, as well as "clean" matter wave ensembles in modulated Bose condensates.

    Key words

    Lasers, Photonic Crystals, Nonlinear Optics, Metamaterials and metasurfaces, Non-Hermitian Optics.

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-0539-9538

    RESEARCHER ID

    : E-8582-2014