The Senate of the University of Jaén has awarded an honorary degree to the scientist Joan Massagué, adjunct director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), Chairman of the Cancer Biology and Genetics Programme at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The award has been given in response to a request by the Dept. of Health Sciences of this university in recognition of Massagué’s scientific merit and universal character.
Joan Massagué (Barcelona, 1953), doctor in Pharmacy/Biochemistry from the University of Barcelona, has devoted more than twenty years to the study of the molecular mechanisms that trigger cancer and metastasis. Specifically, he has focused on the study of the receptors of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-Beta), which in certain circumstances favour the spread of cancer cells in the organism. His research has also led to the identification of the metastatic characteristics of breast cancer cells and some of the genes that predispose to metastasis in early stages of a tumour. Over his career Joan Massagué has produced around 300 scientific articles.
The researcher is one of the 50 most cited scientists in the last twenty years and has received several prizes, among these special mention is given to the Howard Taylor Ricketts Award, the Premio Nacional de Investigación Rey Don Juan Carlos I, the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de Investigación Científica y Técnica and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine. Since 2005 he has served as adjunct director of the IRB Barcelona and scientific coordinator of the MetCentre, a programme that addresses the multidisciplinary study of cancer metastasis in conjunction with other centres and hospitals in Barcelona. One of Massagué’s main tasks at IRB Barcelona is to draw up advanced research policies and apply protocols of scientific excellence.