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Joan Massagué joins IRB Barcelona

15 Oct 05

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The renowned scientist of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York has joined IRB Barcelona as Adjunct Director

The 53-year old prominent cancer biologist Joan Massagué, head of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MKSCC), has become Adjunct Director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine – IRB Barcelona, in Barcelona.

The mission of Joan Massagué, together with the IRB Barcelona director Joan Guinovart, is to design competitive research programs, recruit leading scientists and formulate advanced research policies at the IRB Barcelona with the goal of developing a first-class research centre in biomedicine. He will also supervise a laboratory devoted to research on cancer metastasis, with strong links to his lab in New York.

His appointment is designed to strengthen the development of first-class research in biomedicine

Short Biography

Joan Massagué (Barcelona, 1953) is Adjunct Director of the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine. He is also is Chairman of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his Ph.D. degree in Pharmacy (Biochemistry) from the University of Barcelona in 1978, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University, where he discovered the structure of the insulin receptor. In 1982 he became Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School until he assumed his current position in 1989.

Joan Massagué is interested in how growth factors, signaling pathways, and gene expression programs control normal cell behavior and cancer cell metastasis. Combining cell biology, biochemistry and genetics, he elucidated fundamental machinery that conveys TGF-b growth inhibitory signals from the cell membrane to the nucleus. An end result of this process, Massagué found, is the inhibition of cell division through novel CDK inhibitors that he co-discovered. His work provided a direct explanation for how external signals block mammalian cell division. These mechanisms are now known to be crucial in embryonic development, and their disruption causes tumor formation and metastasis. Dr. Massagué has recently identified genes and mechanisms that mediate the ability of breast tumors to form metastasis in vital organs, answering long-standing questions and opening new avenues of investigation into this devastating aspect of cancer. Dr. Massagué is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Spanish Royal Academies of Medicine and Pharmacy, and the European Molecular Biology Organization.

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).