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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    Juan Manuel Toro
    Toro, Juan Manuel
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Social & Behavioural Sciences
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    Research interests

    I am interested in studying why language and music have only emerged in humans and not in other animals. I tackle this issue using a variety of experimental techniques and populations that include human adults and infants, and non-human animals. Our studies have demonstrated that some of the building blocks of language learning are found in other animals. For example, we showed that rats extract prosodic information present in speech in a similar way human infants do (a study named one of the five best Ig Nobel prize-winning scientific papers). I am also interested in music, as another ability that might emerge from sensibilities already present in other species. We have shown uniquely-human consonance advantages not shared with other animals, have characterized the biological bases of beat perception and how they set the stage for human rhythmic abilities, and identified how our brains react to the violation of harmonic expectations.

    Key words

    Comparative Cognition; Language processing; Music cognition; Speech

    ORCID

    : http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5336-5658

    RESEARCHER ID

    : F-3933-2010
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    David Torrents
    Torrents Arenales, David
    Research Professor at
    Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    Genomes are the central molecules of life because they carry all the information necessary for the development, the survival and the reproduction of all organisms.  Over the lasts 20 years, the study of the genome in a biomedical context has provided valuable information about the genetic and molecular basis of diseases. Current sequencing of DNA allows the incorporation of the genome analysis as an integrated and regular protocol within the health-care system, resulting in a Precision Medicine, where the genomic information will be determinant for a more accurate diagnosis and for the selection of a more precise treatment. In this context, our group and my research activity is focused on the design and implementation of analysis protocols, including artificial intelligence approaches to, ultimately, improve our understanding of the relationship between genomic variation and disease, and to generate the basis for more precise medical care.  

    Key words

    Genomics, Bioinformatics, Cancer Genomics, Genetics, Complex Diseases, Personalized Medicine

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-6086-9037

    RESEARCHER ID

    : G-5785-2015
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    Diego Torres
    Torres, Diego F.
    Research Professor at
    Institut de Ciències de l'Espai (CSIC - ICE)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    The familiar sights of peacefully shining stars would be replaced by something extreme and variable should you look with gamma-ray eyes. You would be glancing at the most energetic phenomena known in astrophysics: accreting masses around black holes, pulsars, close binaries, regions of stellar formation, explosions of supernovae, and others. I develop theoretical models for these scenarios, and test them with observations using ground-based telescopes and satellites. My research focuses on compact objects and cosmic rays. My earlier research includes gravitation and cosmology; particularly, scalar-tensor theories and non-minimal couplings, scalar dark matter, boson stars, gravitational lensing, and wormholes. I published several papers on all these topics. My research group hosted 40+ scientists since its foundation in 2006. You can know more about all this, including links to my publications, from my own or the institute's webpage, https://sites.google.com/view/dft-research https://www.ice.csic.es/  

    Key words

    high energy astrophysics, astronomy, cosmic-rays, gamma-rays, neutrinos

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-1522-9065

    RESEARCHER ID

    : O-9422-2016
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    Xavier Trepat
    Trepat, Xavier
    Research Professor at
    Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (IBEC)
    Engineering Sciences
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    Research interests

    We aim at understanding how physical forces and molecular control modules cooperate to drive biological function. We develop new technologies to map and perturb the main physical properties that determine how cells and tissues grow, move, invade and remodel. By combining this physical information with systematic molecular perturbations and computational models we explore the principles that govern the interplay between chemical and physical cues in living tissues. We study how these principles are regulated in physiology and development, and how they are derailed in cancer.

    Key words

    Biophysics, Biomechanics, Cell Migration, Nanotechnology, Biomaterials

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-7621-5214

    RESEARCHER ID

    : I-3912-2015
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    Isabel Usón
    Usón Finkenzeller, Isabel
    Research Professor at
    Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona (CSIC - IBMB)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    Structural biology provides eyes to the life sciences. This field, traditionally dominated by crystallography, has been enriched by atomic resolution microscopy and accurate structure predictions using deep learning to relate knowledge. New challenges can be conquered harnessing further sources of information to experiments and predictions in the development ofrational, integrated structural methods implemented in our own software ARCIMBOLDO and in SHELX. Our methods exploit the stereochemical knowledge present in small, local folds to determine and interpret structure within chemical, biomedical and biotechnological research. To extricate experimental information from model bias and data pathologies we propose a change of the validation paradigm (average stereochemistry) into verification (outperform alternative hypotheses) and are extending fragment-based algorithms into the field of electron diffraction.

    Key words

    Crystallography, phasing, refinement, computational methods, problem structures
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    Juan Valcárcel
    Valcárcel Juárez, Juan
    Research Professor at
    Centre de Regulació Genòmica (CRG)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    The genome provides the instructions to build and maintain the function of a living organism. Strangely, in complex organisms these instructions are not written as continuous messages, but rather as smaller pieces interrupted by meaningless text. This arrangement has the advantage that the pieces can be combined in different ways to generate alternative instructions. We study the molecular machinery that puts messages together and how the production of alternative messages is regulated.

    Key words

    RNA processing, gene regulation

    ORCID

    : 0000-0001-5398-3571

    RESEARCHER ID

    : O-9814-2014