The first “Alumni of Excellence Award” goes to David Vilchez

David Vilchez, winner of the "IRB Barcelona Alumni Award of Excellence" (M.Minocri, IRB Barcelona)

David Vilchez did his PhD at IRB Barcelona, and since 2013 he has headed a lab in Germany, where he has obtained a prestigious “ERC Starting Grant”.

Today, IRB Barcelona has presented David Vilchez (Mataró, Barcelona, 1978), group leader at the CECAD-Cluster of Excellence in Cologne (Germany), with the 2016 Alumni of Excellence Award “for his great aptitude for ground-breaking science throughout his career, making significant contributions to several fields, such as neurodegeneration, proteostasis, ageing, and stem cell biology,” states the report by the jury—a body formed by senior IRB Barcelona researchers with expertise across several fields of research. The jury also highlighted David Vilchez’s engagement in science communication activities, noting his proactive approach to participate in conferences and interviews to disseminate science.

Dr Vilchez is the first recipient of the Alumni Award, a prize that was announced upon the launch of the Alumni Network at the end of October 2015, coinciding with IRB Barcelona’s 10th anniversary celebration.

David Vilchez studied for his PhD in the Molecular Medicine Programme of IRB Barcelona between 2003 and 2008. In 2009, he went to the US to undertake a 5-year postdoctoral training period at the University of California in Berkeley, and in 2013 he took up the position of group leader at the CECAD in Cologne (Germany), heading the “Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases” laboratory. Since managing his own lab, Vilchez has secured competitive funding, the most recent received in 2015 through an ERC Starting Grant amounting to 1.5 million euros—a clear reflection of his solid start in science.

“IRB Barcelona recognizes and values the impact that the members of its community have on the greater scientific landscape, even after they have moved on from the institute. The Alumni of Excellence awards celebrate their outstanding achievements and contributions to science in Spain, Europe and beyond,” states the director of the IRB Barcelona, Joan J. Guinovart.

Vilchez has published articles in high impact journals, such as Nature, has a high citation index, and holds a patent. He currently supervises the work of seven PhD students and two postdoctoral fellows. David is a reviewer for various scientific journals and a member of the editorial board of Frontiers in Molecular BioSciences (Switzerland).

The prize given with the support of Eppendorf consists of a commemorative certificate, an award of 2,000 €, and an expenses-paid trip to IRB Barcelona in 2016 to give a talk in the Barcelona Biomed seminar series.