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




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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

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).