Today, Joan J. Guinovart, director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), has been admitted as a new member to the “Reial Acadèmia de Farmàcia de Catalunya” (Catalan Royal Academy of Pharmacy).
In an extraordinary session held at 19h in its “Sala d’Actes”, Guinovart has given an admission speech entitled “La biomedicina, una àrea de futur per a la farmàcia catalana”. Guinovart has held that in the coming decades the pharmaceutical sector may experience unprecedented growth thanks to advances in life sciences, particularly, in molecular biology. In the words of the director of IRB Barcelona, “today we have a new paradigm in drug discovery. The activity is now so complex that is cannot be performed solely by the pharmaceutical industry. It requires the key involvement of Genomics, Bioinformatics, and Structural Biology.” The response speech was given by the Honorary Member, Joan Massagué, who was Guinovart’s pupil, and with who he has maintained professional contact through his position as adjunct director of IRB Barcelona. Massagué summarized the trajectory of Professor Guinovart as a pharmacist, academic, scientific leader and vital person of influence for the progress of science in Catalonia.
Joan Josep Guinovart (Tarragona, 1947) is a full professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Barcelona (UB). In 1969, he gained a degree in Pharmacy and Chemistry from the UB and achieved his PhD in Pharmacy in 1973, which was followed by a post-doctoral stage at the University of Virginia. In 2001 he took up the post of director of the Barcelona Science Park, which he occupied for one year, and from where he started to plan the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), an organization that he has headed since its establishment in 2005.
Guinovart is an international authority on glycogen metabolism, the fundamental energy store of the organism, mainly in the liver and muscle. His research has defined the biology of these molecules and recently he has discovered genetic defects in the regulation of glycogen in a totally unexpected organ, namely the brain. The research conducted by Prof. Joan Guinovart and his group has resulted in three patents and 120 publications, which have been cited more than 2,800 times. He is the founder and first president of the “Confederación de Sociedades Científicas de España” (COSCE)(Spanish Federation of Scientific Societies), a platform through which the scientific community channels its communications to the government and to society in general. He serves on the councils of the Federation of European Bi¬ochemical Societies (FEBS) and of the International Union of Bioche¬mistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB).
He has received the following prizes and honours: “Leandre Cervera” (1979 and 1985) and “August Pi i Sunyer” (1983) and “Prat de la Riba” (2009) from the “Institut d’Estudis Catalans”. “Novo-Nordisk” in Basic Diabetes Research from the “Sociedad Española de Diabetes” (1996). Medal of the "Société Française de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire" (1998). “Narcís Monturiol” Medal for scientific and technological merit from the “Generalitat de Catalunya” (1999). He is an honorary member of the SEBBM (2005). FEBS Diploma of Honour (2007). Member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences (2005). Numerary member of the “Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia”(2006). Favourite son of Tarragona (2007).