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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  • Vilardell Trench, Josep

    Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona (CSIC - IBMB)

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    Vilardell Trench, Josep

    Research Professor at
    Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona (CSIC - IBMB)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    Living systems carry on the information to reproduce ("Genetic" Information). As the rest of features of life, this is subjected to Natural Selection and there are many examples of strategies to optimize the storage of genetic information. However, apparently this does not hold in multicellular organisms, including us. Most our genes are repeatedly interrupted by many comparatively large, apparently meaningless, segments, that are neatly removed before decoding the gene. This removal is done by the spliceosome, a machine akin to a genome’s ghostwriter and possibly the most complex enzyme in a eukaryotic cell. Our research aims at what controls the spliceosome and how this is achieved. For this we follow a reductionist scheme with the yeast model, using molecular and computational approaches. We study the initial steps in the recognition of “meaningless” segments and their regulation. In addition, taking advantage of large datasets publicly available, we investigate how the spliceosome responds to aging, mutations, or disease, both in yeast and human cells.

    Key words

    RNA splicing, genomics, gene expression, genetics, yeast, human

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-7102-4590

    RESEARCHER ID

    : K-9726-2014

  • Voityuk, Alexander

    Universitat de Girona (UdG)

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    Voityuk, Alexander

    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Girona (UdG)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    Electron transfer (ET) and excitation energy transfer (EET) are  important processes in biochemistry and material science. The main area of my research is the development of theoretical and computational tools to explore ET and EET in molecular systems and their application to  biomolecules and organic materials to understand  underlying mechanisms that control the charge and exciton migration in the systems. Semiempirical methods, the development of computer codes and simulation of ET and EET in DNA and related systems are of special interest.

    Key words

    Computational modeling, electron and excitation energy transfer, DNA, Proteins, organic semiconductors

    ORCID

    : 0000-0001-6620-4362

    RESEARCHER ID

    : K-3647-2014

  • Wagner, Peter

    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

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    Wagner, Peter

    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)
    Social & Behavioural Sciences
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    Research interests

    Peter Wagner's research is based in comparative historical and political sociology, social and political theory, and sociology of the social sciences. It focuses on the identification and comparative analysis of different forms of social and political modernity and of the historical trajectories of modern societies. In this perspective, the term "modernity" does not signal a single and unique model of social organization, but rather variable interpretations of basic human problématiques in the light of specific historical experiences. It was initially applied to a comparative political sociology of European societies, and subsequently to transformations in the self-understanding of Europe.  Over the past few years, it was elaborated further towards a "world-sociology", focusing on the tensions between struggles for autonomy and persisting forms of domination and exploring current possibilities of progress in the light of historical experiences in different world-regions.

    Key words

    political sociology, social and political theory, comparative-historical sociology, European studies, sociology of the sciences
  • Wanner, Leo

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

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    Wanner, Leo

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    Leo Wanner is working in the field of computational linguistics, teaching the computer to understand spoken and written natural language material,  to supply people with information that might be useful to them and to interact with people. His research areas include human-computer interaction (in particular, the design and realization of conversation agents that reveal social and cultural competence), automatic written and spoken graph transduction-based language generation, automatic summarization of written material, data-driven parsing, information extraction, and, more recently, profiling of authors of written material and the information structure-prosody interface. He is furthermore interested in lexicology and lexicography, and there, in particular, in the automatic recognition, representation and use of lexical idiosyncrasies (so-called "collocations") by both native speakers and learners of a language. An important characteristics of his research is that it is multilingual.

    Key words

    computational linguistics, language generation, language analysis, summarization, lexicology, lexicography.
  • Williams, Andrew

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

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    Williams, Andrew

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    My interests lie in moral and political philosophy and practical rationality, as well as intersecting areas in economics and political science. I am especially interested in issues of distributive justice, including ones arising across states and generations. I explore how egalitarian distributive principles  should guide the design of social institutions that shape the prospects of children, parents, the elderly, and future generations. My current work focuses on how we should deal with the needs of the elderly and with variations in lifespan.

     

    Key words

    Political Philosophy, Ethics, Rational Action, Distributive Justice, International Ethics, Intergenerational Ethics, Liberalism, Political Authority, John Rawls, Demographic Change, Climate Change

    ORCID

    : orcid.org/0000-0001-7907-8991

  • Wiltschko, Martina E.

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)

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    Wiltschko, Martina E.

    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    <p>My research explores the fundamental building blocks that make up human languages, how these building blocks relate to each other and how languages of the world differ in this respect. I pursue this research focusing on two major empirical domains: traditional grammatical categories and categories belonging to the <em>language of interaction</em> which I hypothesize is also constrained by grammar.</p>

    <p>In my 2014 monograph, I develop a framework for discovering and comparing <strong>grammatical categories</strong> across languages. This work was inspired by 15 years of fieldwork on two languages indigenous to North America (Halkomelem, Blackfoot). It seeks to reconcile a tension between two opposing views: Typologists observe that languages differ in their categorial inventories but generative linguists assume that there is a core which all languages share, including a set of universal categories. The key to reconciling this tension, I argue, is to assume that the categories we observe are always constructed on a language-specific basis, but that there are some universal building blocks involved in their construction, namely the <em>universal spine, </em>a hierarchically organized set of functions which is at the core of constructing sentential meanings.&nbsp;</p>

    <p>I have since used this framework to explore an empirical domain which lies outside of what traditional grammars and modern linguistic theory have considered, namely the <strong>language of interaction</strong><em>.</em> When embedded in a conversation, sentences are enriched with elements that serve to manage interaction (e.g., particles like <em>hm, oh, </em>and sentence intonation). My research has revealed that the linguistic behavior of these elements – their universal and their language-specific properties – can be explained in much the same way as that of grammatical categories of the traditional type.&nbsp;</p>

    <p>Thus, my research links to neighboring fields, including philosophy (referential semantics, pragmatics), sociology (conversation analysis), and psychology (theory of mind).&nbsp;</p>

    Key words

    theoretical syntax, syntax-pragmatics interface, language variation, field-work, categories, language of interaction, discourse markers