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Dr. Núria López-Bigas, Dr. Ferran Muiños and Dr. Abel González-Pérez receive the 2021 City of Barcelona Award

1 Feb 22




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The Barcelona City Council acknowledges "their contribution to advancing basic knowledge of cancer by developing innovative and essential computational methods that allow mutational patterns to be deciphered from data from different types of tumour types taken from patients".

Barcelona, 1 February 2022- Today the Barcelona City Council has announced the winners of the 2021 City of Barcelona Awards, the highest recognition that the city gives to its residents. 

In the Life Sciences category, the awardees are Dr. Núria López-Bigas, ICREA researcher and head of the Biomedical Genomics lab at IRB Barcelona, Dr. Ferran Muiños, a postdoctoral fellow in the same group, and Dr. Abel González-Pérez, a research associate in the same lab.

The scientists have been presented with this award for the development of a computational method, called BoostDM, that identifies cancer-causing mutations for each type of cancer. Published in the journal Nature, the work aims to accelerate cancer research and provide tools that help oncologists choose the most appropriate treatment for each patient.

The jury has recognised " their contribution to advancing basic knowledge of cancer by developing innovative and essential computational methods (…)", while highlighting "the importance of this study for cross-sectional advancement in different basic research disciplines, such as genomics, evolutionary biology, and cell biology”.

“This work is the result of a close collaboration between five people, namely Fran Martínez-Jiménez, Oriol Pich, and the three of us. The fact that the jury has deemed our work worthy of the City of Barcelona award is wonderful and we are most excited about it,” says Dr. López-Bigas

This is the fourth time that researchers at IRB Barcelona have received this award: Dr. Ernest Giralt (former head of the Peptides and Proteins lab and current Emeritus professor of IRB Barcelona), winner of the award in 2014, followed by Dr. Salvador Aznar-Benitah (head of the Stem Cells and Cancer lab) in 2016, and Dr. Eduard Batlle (head of the Colorectal Cancer lab) in 2018.

The 2021 City of Barcelona Award ceremony will take place at 18:00 on 15 February 2022 in the “Saló de Cent” in the Barcelona City Council building. 


About IRB Barcelona

Created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) and University of Barcelona, IRB Barcelona is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, a seal that was awarded in 2011. The institute is devoted to conducting research of excellence in biomedicine and to transferring results to clinical practice, thus improving people’s quality of life, while simultaneously promoting the training of outstanding researchers, technology transfer, and public communication of science. Its 27 laboratories and eight core facilities address basic questions in biology and are orientated to diseases such as cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rare conditions. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 employees and more than 30 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona is a CERCA center, and a member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).