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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    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. I address this research question with an approach that I call "Data Science for Linguistics", integrating methodologies from Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence.

    The focus of my research are the mechanisms by which people put together generic information stored in our linguistic system (such as the lexicon or the grammar) with information coming from the specific situations speakers are in when they use language. For instance, given a picture of a chihuahua seen from quite afar, in a park, next to its owner, do people use "chihuahua", or "dog", or yet some other word? To understand this behavior, my team and me carry out statistical modeling and computational experiments, often using Machine Learning techniques. 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
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    Christian Brander
    Brander, Christian
    Research Professor at
    Institut de Recerca de la Sida - IrsiCaixa (IrsiCaixa)
    Life & Medical Sciences
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    Research interests

    Our group aims to understand the cellular immunity to viral infections. Using complementary sets of immune analyses and integrated -omics approaches, we seek to identify functional correlates of virus control and to explore their underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. We combine cellular assays and methylome, communicome and transcriptomics analyses to assess to what degree and at what stages of different viral infections the effector function profiles of virus-specific T cells are epigenetically controlled. We also pay special attention to the effect of viral infections on neurological function.

    Key words

    HIV, cellular immunity, host genetics, viral evolution, viral immunity in solid organ transplantation, neuro HIV

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-0548-5778
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    Stefan Bromley
    Bromley, Stefan T.
    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Barcelona (UB)
    Engineering Sciences
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    Research interests

    With the constant technological drive for device miniaturisation, materials are increasingly being used at scales of only a few 100s or 1000s of atoms (i.e. the nanoscale). Such nanomaterials display novel size-dependent properties compared to materials at everyday length scales. Employing classical atomistic and quantum chemical modelling methods implemented on powerful supercomputers, we aim to provide a detailed predictive understanding of the structural, electronic and chemical properties of nanomaterials. We focus on how nanomaterials evolve with size, and designing new materials from nanoscale building blocks. Our research follows three main themes: (i) inorganic nanoclusters and nanostructured materials for energy applications (e.g TiO2, ZnO, CeO2), (ii) nucleation and properties of astronomically important nanomaterials (e.g. TiC, silicates), and (iii) design and understanding of low-dimensional materials for electronics/spintronics using organic molecular building blocks .

    Key words

    Nanoclusters, Computational Modelling, Nanostructured Materials

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-7037-0475

    RESEARCHER ID

    : A-2481-2009
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    Sandra Brucet
    Brucet, Sandra
    Research Professor at
    Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya (UVIC)
    Experimental Sciences & Mathematics
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    Research interests

    Our research focuses on the response of aquatic ecosystems and their biodiversity to global changes (e.g. eutrophication, habitat destruction, climate change). We use the organisms’ size structure, in combination with taxonomical approaches, to assess biodiversity and ecosystem processes. We are also interested in basic and applied aspects of ecological theories relating organisms’ body size, metabolism and temperature. Our research includes the whole trophic structure from phytoplankton to fish. We focus on different aquatic ecosystems (lakes, rivers, ponds) and use complementary approaches such as experiments, latitudinal comparisons and models. Ultimately, we aim to apply our research results to solving problems related with the conservation of aquatic ecosystems. We also pay particular attention at transferring our knowledge into European policies and platforms (e.g. Water Framework Directive, Biodiversity Strategy, IPBES) and the general public. 

    Key words

    biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecology, global change, aquatic ecosystems, trophic structure, conservation

    ORCID

    : 0000-0002-0494-1161