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Dr. Núria López-Bigas: “Studying healthy tissue helps us to understand the onset of cancer”




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The IRB Barcelona researcher and full professor at the UPF is the first expert in bioinformatics to become a full academic member of the Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales

Barcelona, 25 April 2024, Dr. Núria López-Bigas, ICREA researcher, head of the Biomedical Genomics group at IRB Barcelona , and full professor of the Pompeu Fabra University, has been named a full academic member of the Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales (RAC). 

In her inaugural speech on the future of cancer research, the Catalan researcher emphasised that understanding the disease will also require the analysis of healthy tissues: "The definition of which genes and mutations are causative of cancer will be refined in the coming years using information from healthy tissue." 

With Dr. López-Bigas's admission, the RAC welcomes its first expert in bioinformatics, the 12th woman to be appointed a full academic member of the institution.



In her speech entitled "Cancer: A Darwinian Evolutionary Process", the computational biologist explained that "by pinpointing mutations in healthy tissue, we can gain a more accurate insight into which genes and mutations are directly involved in tumour development." This research is made possible through the application of new technologies such as "high-precision sequencing," which allows direct observation of mutations present in tissues that are still healthy.

The induction ceremony, held this Wednesday evening at the RAC headquarters in Madrid, was attended by the rector of the Pompeu Fabra University, Dr. Laia de Nadal, who is also the head of a Group Leader at IRB Barcelona.


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).