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Young budding scientists from around the world gather in "La Pedrera"

13 Nov 13



PhD Student
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Josep Garcia
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Communication Officer
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  • A two-day symposium on aging organized by PhD students at IRB Barcelona bring together 200 young scientists from 17 countries.
  • The senior guest speakers are from universities such as Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, among others, and a Max Planck centre in Germany.

This week scientists from leading international universities are participating in the 3rd IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium entitled “The Clock of Life”, a unique event of its kind in Spain and organized every two years by young researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). Described as “exciting” by guest speaker Andrew D. Hamilton, vice-dean of the University of Oxford, the symposium will bring together more than 200 scientists from 17 countries in the building “La Pedrera”.

On 14 and 15 November, aging and associated diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, will be discussed in depth. According to two of the organizers, the PhD students Constanze Schelhorn and Sílvia Vilaprinyó, “the mean age of the population is increasing and that is why it is important to analyze the molecular bases that regulate aging and to progress in treatments for diseases associated with the aging process.”

The symposium will involve Tuomas Knowles, from the University of Cambridge, who will talk about the chemical and physical factors that control the behavior and aggregation of molecules at the root of neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, Carlos López Otín, senior professor with the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oviedo, will explain the most recent findings made by his team, which is devoted to studying the genes involved in cancer. Together with Elías Campo, at the “Centro de Diagnóstico Biomédico” of the “Hospital Clínic de Barcelona”, he currently codirects an international project on the sequentiation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Francisco Freixo, a Portuguese PhD student at IRB Barcelona and member of the Organizing Committee, comments, “it has been a big challenge to select a topic that encompasses the interests and five fields of research at IRB Barcelona and which also is attractive to biomedical students throughout Europe. The response has been fantastic. We set ourselves the complicated challenge of gathering 200 researchers and we have done it.” The main sponsors of the 3rd IRB Barcelona PhD Student Symposium are the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), SIGMA, Promega, and the “Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera”.

The Organizing Committee comprises thirteen PhD students of diverse nationalities belonging to different scientific programmes at IRB Barcelona and who share enthusiasm and passion for science. The 3rd PhD Student Symposium forms one of the main missions of the institute, namely the training of future scientific leaders in an exciting, international, and competitive environment. The 23 labs at IRB Barcelona currently host more than 130 PhD students and more than 100 postdoctoral fellows, 43% of who are non-Spanish nationals.

IRB Barcelona is public research institute engaged in basic and applied research at the interface between molecular and cellular biology, structural and computational biology, and chemistry, and supported by experts in proteomics, genomics, biostatistics and advanced digital microscopy. The strategic mission of IRB Barcelona is to translate results to clinical practice, and since its foundation the institute has set up three biotech companies. IRB Barcelona was founded in October 2005 by the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) and is located at the Barcelona Science Park. The institute holds the “Severo Ochoa Award of Excellence”, presented by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the Narcís Monturiol Prize, awarded by the Government of Catalonia.


Information on the conference, the programme and the speakers at the Symposium website.


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 28 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).