Research

IRB Barcelona’s research purpose is to address fundamental biological questions in order to provide groundbreaking solutions to unmet medical needs. Our institute is organised around three major research challenges, namely Cancer Science, Aging and Metabolism, and Mechanisms of Disease, with the aim to decipher why diseases develop and find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat them.
At IRB Barcelona, 400 outstanding scientists from diverse disciplines and technical support staff come together to develop knowledge that will ultimately allow society to overcome these challenges.


Research Structure Chemical and Structural Biology Computational Biology Invertebrate Models of Disease Cell Pathophysiology Preclinical models of Cancer Preclinical models of Disease Aging and Metabolism Cancer Science Mechanisms of Disease

Core Facilities & Services

Research groups:

Mechanisms of Disease

Chair:

Marco Milán

Description:

Human diseases are characterized by impairments in cellular and molecular functions. The Mechanisms of Disease Programme is devoted to understanding the correct function of the cell and thus identify the underlying bases of pathological conditions. The programme applies a highly interdisciplinary approach, involving genetics, proteomics and animal models of human disease, to provide answers to fundamental questions in the life sciences.

Aging and Metabolism

Chair:

Manuel Serrano

Description:

Our aging society brings with it significant challenges with respect to health. The Aging and Metabolism Programme focuses on deciphering the mechanisms underlying the aging process and associated disruptions in metabolic pathways. Research efforts into these fields seek to develop precision therapies for aging-related diseases, putting an emphasis on multi-morbidities, with the purpose to ensure healthy aging.

Cancer Science

Chair:

Eduard Batlle

Description:

The Cancer Science Programme strives to unravel the molecular, cellular and physiological processes that lead to cancer and the most deadly complication of this disease, namely metastasis. Detailed studies of the mechanisms responsible for malignant transformation and of the relationship between stem cells and cancer will improve the chances of finding solutions and thus making a significant difference to patients’ lives.

Programmes

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Core Facilities & Services

Research groups:

Mechanisms of Disease

Description:

Human diseases are characterized by impairments in cellular and molecular functions. The Mechanisms of Disease Programme is devoted to understanding the correct function of the cell and thus identify the underlying bases of pathological conditions. The programme applies a highly interdisciplinary approach, involving genetics, proteomics and animal models of human disease, to provide answers to fundamental questions in the life sciences.

Research groups:

Affiliated Group Leader:

Aging and Metabolism

Description:

Our aging society brings with it significant challenges with respect to health. The Aging and Metabolism Programme focuses on deciphering the mechanisms underlying the aging process and associated disruptions in metabolic pathways. Research efforts into these fields seek to develop precision therapies for aging-related diseases, putting an emphasis on multi-morbidities, with the purpose to ensure healthy aging.

Research groups:

Affiliated Group Leader:

  • Oscar Yanes, Centre for Omic Sciences (COS). CIBERDEM.

Cancer Science

Description:

The Cancer Science Programme strives to unravel the molecular, cellular and physiological processes that lead to cancer and the most deadly complication of this disease, namely metastasis. Detailed studies of the mechanisms responsible for malignant transformation and of the relationship between stem cells and cancer will improve the chances of finding solutions and thus making a significant difference to patients’ lives.

Research groups:

Affiliated Group Leader:

  • Jaume Mora, Developmental Cancer. Sant Joan de Déu Research Foundation.

Research Nodes

Biomedical problems are complex and must be tackled following a strategy that combines scientific disciplines with the aim to advance towards a common goal: a deeper understanding of pathology that will lead to improved therapeutic approaches, moving basic research to clinical stage testing. To facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing, our researchers are organised into six integrative research nodes.

Chair: Modesto Orozco

Research Nodes secretary: Eva Poca

Chemical and Structural Biology

Description:

Researchers in this node address a common interest, namely understanding biomedicine at the deepest molecular level. Each laboratory contributes a different approach, including the ability to design and synthesise new bioactive compounds, to study and unravel the molecular interactions taking place at protein surfaces, and to elucidate the structure of biomacromolecules and other structurally complex systems.

Computational Biology

Description:

The Computational Biology Node brings together research groups that develop data-analytical and theoretical methods to study fundamental biological processes and explore novel therapeutic strategies. Indeed, the interests of the node cover a broad scientific spectrum: from the modelling and simulation of the dynamic properties macromolecular interactions to chemoinformatics, cancer genomics and systems medicine.

Invertebrate Models of Disease

Description:

Basic research carried out in invertebrate model organisms has often provided the first glimpse into the mechanism of action of genes and proteins involved in human diseases. The Invertebrate Models of Disease Node includes four laboratories that use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to address fundamental questions in cell and developmental biology, as well as to study key aspects of human diseases, including cancer.

Cell Pathophysiology

Description:

The Cell Pathophysiology Node brings together groups devoted studying the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate normal cell function and their alteration in disease. The node uses a variety of cellular models—from yeast to human cells—and experimental approaches, including genetics and “omics” methodologies.

Preclinical Models of Cancer

Description:

Cancer is the second cause of death in industrialised countries. Despite significant advances in our understanding of the disease, many types of cancer remain incurable. The Preclinical Models of Cancer Node aims to identify and characterise the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie tumourigenesis, with a special emphasis on metastasis. To this end, the node uses its strong background in basic biology to drive the development of novel anti-tumour therapies in clinical practice. An exciting group of multidisciplinary scientists are using state-of-the-art approaches such as mouse models of cancer, patient-derived samples, omics, epigenetics, immunology, organoid research, and computational biology, among others, to achieve these goals.

Preclinical Models of Disease

Description:

The leitmotif of the Preclinical Models of Disease Node is to unravel the normal mechanisms operating in physiology and those underlying disease. To this end researchers use a variety of murine models and a wide range of experimental approaches, including physiological, biochemical, genetic and “omics” methodologies. The main translational goal of this node is the identification of therapeutic targets.

Core Facilities & Services

Scientists at IRB Barcelona are supported by an extensive range of Core Facilities that provide state-of-the-art technologies and scientific services. These facilities are a key asset for our research, allowing the Institute to obtain outstanding results. They are designed to incorporate the most novel technologies available and provide them to our researchers in the shortest time possible as well as, when the availability of resources allows it, offering their expertise to other external users.

Head of Core Facilities: Goretti Mallorqui

Interdisciplinary initiatives

IRB Barcelona's partnerships, with organisations in areas of mutual interest and expertise, aim to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge, resources and technologies so critical to advancing the field of biomedicine

Selected IRB Barcelona publications

Torres AG, Reina O, Stephan-Otto Attolini C and Ribas de Pouplana L.
PNAS, 116 (17), 8451-8456 (2019)
Orellana L, Thorne AH, Lema R, Gustavsson J, Parisian AD, Hospital A, Cordeiro TN, Bernadó P, Scott AM, Brun-Heath I, Lindahl E, Cavenee WK, Furnari FB and Orozco M.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 116 (20), 10009-1001 (2019)
Gawrzak S, Rinaldi L, Gregorio S, Arenas EJ, Salvador F, Urosevic J, Figueras-Puig C, Rojo F, Del Barco Barrantes I, Cejalvo JM, Palafox M, Guiu M, Berenguer-Llergo A, Symeonidi A, Bellmunt A, Kalafatovic D, Arnal-Estapé A, Fernández E, Müllauer B, Groeneveld R, Slobodnyuk K, Stephan-Otto Attolini C, Saura C, Arribas J, Cortes J, Rovira A, Muñoz M, Lluch A, Serra V, Albanell J, Prat A, Nebreda AR, Benitah SA and Gomis RR.
Nat Cell Biol, 20 (8), 990 (2018)
Escobedo A, Topal B, Kunze MBA, Aranda J, Chiesa G, Mungianu D, Bernardo-Seisdedos G, Eftekharzadeh B, Gairí M, Pierattelli R, Felli IC, Diercks T, Millet O, García J, Orozco M, Crehuet R, Lindorff-Larsen K and Salvatella X.
Nat Commun, 10 (1), 2034 (2019)
Hernández-Alvarez MI, Sebastián D, Vives S, Ivanova S, Bartoccioni P, Kakimoto P, Plana N, Veiga SR, Hernández V, Vasconcelos N, Peddinti G, Adrover A, Jové M, Pamplona R, Gordaliza-Alaguero I, Calvo E, Cabré N, Castro R, Kuzmanic A, Boutant M, Sala D, Hyotylainen T, Orešič M, Fort J, Errasti-Murugarren E, Rodrígues CMP, Orozco M, Joven J, Cantó C, Palacin M, Fernández-Veledo S, Vendrell J and Zorzano A.
Cell, 177 (4), 881-895.e1 (2019)
Picchioni D, Antolin-Fontes A, Camacho N, Schmitz C, Pons-Pons A, Rodríguez-Escribà M, Machallekidou A, Güler MN, Siatra P, Carretero-Junquera M, Serrano A, Hovde SL, Knobel PA, Novoa EM, Solà-Vilarrubias M, Kaguni LS, Stracker TH and Ribas de Pouplana L.
Cell Rep, 27 (1), 40-47.e5 (2019)
Koronowski KB, Kinouchi K, Welz PS, Smith JG, Zinna VM, Shi J, Samad M, Chen S, Magnan CN, Kinchen JM, Li W, Baldi P, Benitah SA and Sassone-Corsi P.
Cell, 177 (6), 1448-1462. (2019)
Welz PS, Zinna VM, Symeonidi A, Koronowski KB, Kinouchi K, Smith JG, Guillén IM, Castellanos A, Crainiciuc G, Prats N, Caballero JM, Hidalgo A, Sassone-Corsi P and Benitah SA.
Cell, 177 (6), 1436-1447. (2019)
Pich O, Muiños F, Sabarinathan R, Reyes-Salazar I, Gonzalez-Perez A and Lopez-Bigas N.
Cell, 175 (4), 1074-1087. (2018)
Benhra N, Barrio L, Muzzopappa M and Milán M.
Dev Cell, 47 (2), 161-174.e4 (2018)
Parras A, Anta H, Santos-Galindo M, Swarup V, Elorza A, Nieto-González JL, Picó S, Hernández IH, Díaz-Hernández JI, Belloc E, Rodolosse A, Parikshak NN, Peñagarikano O, Fernández-Chacón R, Irimia M, Navarro P, Geschwind DH, Méndez R and Lucas JJ.
Nature, 560 (7719), 441-446 (2018)
Muñoz-Espín D, Rovira M, Galiana I, Giménez C, Lozano-Torres B, Paez-Ribes M, Llanos S, Chaib S, Muñoz-Martín M, Ucero AC, Garaulet G, Mulero F, Dann SG, VanArsdale T, Shields DJ, Bernardos A, Murguía JR, Martínez-Máñez R and Serrano M.
EMBO Mol Med, 10 (9), (2018)
Cánovas B, Igea A, Sartori AA, Gomis RR, Paull TT, Isoda M, Pérez-Montoyo H, Serra V, González-Suárez E, Stracker TH and Nebreda AR.
Cancer Cell, 33 (6), 1094-1110. (2018)
Tauriello DVF, Palomo-Ponce S, Stork D, Berenguer-Llergo A, Badia-Ramentol J, Iglesias M, Sevillano M, Ibiza S, Cañellas A, Hernando-Momblona X, Byrom D, Matarin JA, Calon A, Rivas EI, Nebreda AR, Riera A, Attolini CS and Batlle E.
Nature, 554 (7693), 538-543 (2018)
Silva J, Aivio S, Knobel PA, Bailey LJ, Casali A, Vinaixa M, Garcia-Cao I, Coyaud É, Jourdain AA, Pérez-Ferreros P, Rojas AM, Antolin-Fontes A, Samino-Gené S, Raught B, González-Reyes A, Ribas de Pouplana L, Doherty AJ, Yanes O and Stracker TH.
Nat Cell Biol, 20 (2), 162-174 (2018)