IRB Barcelona to coordinate the European Project Evomet, which will train future leaders in metastasis research


The goal is to train 15 young researchers in the understanding of metastatic processes and their evolution, with the aim to identify therapeutic solutions.

The Evomet consortium is formed by 13 institutions, which include several of the best academic, clinical and industrial centres working in cancer research and metastasis research in Europe.

Awarded in the Innovative Training Networks Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions call of the European Commission, the Evomet project has received €4 M and will last for four years.

The prevalence of cancer is increasing, with more than 3.5 million people affected in Europe, metastasis being responsible for the vast majority of deaths related to this disease. The European Evomet project, coordinated by IRB Barcelona, seeks to train future metastasis researchers to apply the knowledge generated in basic research to the search for therapeutic solutions. The objective is to leverage the development of drugs and, ultimately, have an impact on the clinical treatment given to these patients, who have the worst prognosis.

The 13 beneficiaries of the Evomet project are: the research institutions IRB Barcelona, the Fundació Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL), the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Gustave Roussy, the Institute of Cancer Research-Royal Cancer Hospital (ICR), and the Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS); the universities University of Lausanne, University of Cambridge, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Universite Paris-Saclay, University of Basel; and the companies Boehringer Ingelheim, Intomics and ChromaCure. Each of the institutions will host one of the selected young researchers and will train them until they complete their doctorate, except for IRB Barcelona and IDIBELL, which will host two predoctoral researchers each.

Multidisciplinary and intersectoral training

To prepare future leaders in metastasis research, Evomet has developed a multidisciplinary and intersectoral strategy, in which the problem of metastasis is approached from multiple angles and using a wide range of scientific methods.

"It takes a broad spectrum of scientific and technological capabilities to decipher in detail how metastasis, a deadly feature of cancer, works and develops. By establishing a multidisciplinary and intersectoral research training programme, Evomet will have a transformative impact on these young researchers, providing them with a comprehensive set of skills that will accelerate the development of a new wave of targeted therapies against cancer and metastasis," says the project coordinator Roger Gomis, ICREA researcher and head of IRB Barcelona’s Cancer Growth and Metastasis Control Laboratory.

During the 4-year duration of the project, young researchers will also receive complementary training covering innovative and creative thinking, social and interpersonal skills such as communication, entrepreneurship and innovation, research management, etc. thanks to the participation of Scienseed and hfp consulting, science communication and training agencies respectively.

The 15 young researchers will be mentored by the following supervisors:

  • Roger Gomis: Group Leader at IRB Barcelona
  • Mariona Graupera: Group leader at IDIBELL Barcelona
  • Anna Christina Obenauf: Group leader at the IMP
  • Clare Isacke: Professor in the Breast Cancer Now Research Centre at ICR
  • Aleix Prat: Group leader at IDIBAPS, Head Medical Oncology at Hospital Clinic and Professor at the University of Barcelona
  • Johanna Joyce: Full Professor at University of Lausanne
  • Sakari Vanharanta: Group leader at the MRC Cancer Unit, University of Cambridge
  • Fabrice André: Director of research at Gustave Roussy and professor at Université Paris-Saclay
  • Cédric Blanpain: Full professor, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Mohamed Bentires-Alj: Full Professor at University of Basel Sebastian
  • Sebastian Carotta: Scientific Director for External Research in the Cancer Cell Signalling Department at BI
  • Federico De Masi: Senior Bioinformatics Project Manager at Intomics
  • Jalal Vakili: CEO of ChromaCure