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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    Jens Biegert
    Biegert, Jens
    Research Professor at
    Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    Our research in Attosecond Quantum Dynamics aims at revealing the dynamic behaviour of the quantum world within atoms molecules and solids that lead to macrocopic functionalities. We use attosecond soft x-ray pulses and quantum microscopy with single electrons to address fundamental problems such as molecular isomerization, phase transitions and superconductivity with applications across quantum sensing, energy harvesting and storage, efficent sensing and computing.

    Key words

    attoscience, ultrafast dynamics, strong field physics, atomic and molecular physics, laser science, nonlinear optics, parametric interaction, soft X-ray, electron ion spectroscopy

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-7556-501X

    RESEARCHER ID

    : D-2243-2009
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    Bart Bijnens
    Bijnens, Bart
    Research Professor at
    Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS)
    Engineering Sciences
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    Research interests

    Translational Cardiovascular Pathophysiology, focussing on assessing cardiac function and understanding changes induced by disease and how treatment can modulate this remodelling. This is approached by integrating information handling and computing, combined with basic pathophysiology knowledge in order to advance clinical sciences. This implies an approach from basic understanding of disease towards a clinical study; selecting/designing appropriate investigational tools to assess relevant clinical parameters; quantifying diagnostic information (from clinical information to imaging data) to extract pertinent information and interpreting results and relate them to pathophysiology. Recent projects include the combination of computational modelling with interpretable machine learning in order to find easy to implement/deploy techniques for the identification of patients at risk for adverse events, as well as to improve our understanding of disease and decission making.

    Key words

    Cardiac Imaging, Cardiovascular Dynamics, Cardiac Function and Deformation

    ORCID

    : 0000-0003-3130-6937

    RESEARCHER ID

    : C-2955-2008
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    David Block
    Block Allen, David M.
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    In recent years, I have focused primarily on the dominant form of capitalism in the early 21st century (AKA neoliberalism) and the inequality and class warfare it has wrought from a sociolinguistic perspective. My most recent work examines four different aspects of contemporary society: (1) ‘post-truth’ and related concepts and the critical analysis of discourses in the hyper-mediatised, toxic information environment in which we live; (2) the internationalization and Englishization of higher education worldwide as part of the broader neoliberalization of societies; (3) new ways of framing discussions of the construct ‘identity’ in the early 21stcentury (e.g. incorporating historical materialism and Marxist humanism); and (4) the roots and routes of intersectionality, via memoirs, biographies and other accounts of African American history and sociology and, in particular, Black feminism. 

    Key words

    Marxist political economy, social class, identity, post-truth

    ORCID

    : orcid.org/0000-0003-0783-3083
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    Cedrick Boeckx
    Boeckx, Cedric
    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)
    Humanities
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    Research interests

    My current research focuses on developing new ways to shed light on the neurobiological foundations of the human language faculty. My graduate training and early career were in theoretical linguistics, but my more recent work has a more explicit biological, and experimental orientation. My current projects are all intended to facilitate integration among disciplines (linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and genetics), and lead to better experimental testing of theoretical hypotheses, as well as to more solid interpretations of experimental findings. I also seek to exploit the full pluralism characteristic of the life sciences to force a rethinking of long-held assumptions in theoretical linguistics and other domains of cognitive science.  

    Key words

    cognitive biology, theoretical and comparative linguistics, cognitive sciences, ethology

    ORCID

    : 0000-0001-8882-9718

    RESEARCHER ID

    : F-4781-2016
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    Gemma Boleda
    Boleda Torrent, Gemma
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Engineering Sciences
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    Research interests

    I want to understand how language works; in particular, how humans convey meaning through language. The focus of my research is how the linguistic system and its use in communication influence each other. For instance, a speaker of English can use different expressions (e.g. "the dog/chihuahua/small dog") when referring to a given chihuahua. The choice depends, a.o., on the words and grammar available in the language and the properties of the object. In turn, over time, specific speaker choices in communicative situations change the system itself. I study these dynamics in a range of semantic phenomena; which aspects are universal across languages; and what governs variation.

    My team and I address these research questions with a cross-disciplinary approach that integrates methodologies from Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognitive Science. Our approach requires large amounts of data, and part of our work involves gathering linguistic data on a large scale.

    Key words

    Linguistics; Computational Linguistics; Natural Language Processing; computational semantics; semantic theory; distributional semantics; neural networks; deep learning; reference; concepts; lexicon

    ORCID

    : http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6140-7080
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    Luca Bonatti
    Bonatti, Luca
    Research Professor at
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
    Social & Behavioural Sciences
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    Research interests

    I am fascinated by thinking, by the very fact that we conceive structured states of mind that can be true or false, that can be imaginary or real. I am fascinated by how pervasively thinking populates our mental life. We reason when we read, or when we speak, but also when we walk around, or when we dream. Indeed, thinking is at the roots of the unique cognitive place humans have in the animal kingdom. I investigate its early structure, finding ways to describe the potential primitives of the scaffoldings supporting the combinatorial structure of human thought. I try to reveal bits and pieces of the representations underlying our abilities to come to conclusions, to form expectations, or to find what happens next. When time allows, I also work on how infants and adults find linguistic structure in speech, and how we can pack so much conceptual information inside those tiny and odd bits of sounds that we call words.

    Key words

    Language acquisition, Cognition, Infant cognition, Probabilistic Reasoning, Deductive Reasoning