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"We are committed to promoting research that is useful for the health of citizens as well as producing a new generation of knowledge, created through interdisciplinarity".
Jordi Camí, General Director of the PRBB.
The PRBB's research centres, with almost 30 scientific programmes and 200 principal investigators, study the mysteries of living systems and human health.
With a comprehensive approach, from the molecular to the populational perspective, scientists and experts in their respective fields meet, discuss and collaborate within this building, generating synergies and productive cross-pollination.
The cancer research programme contributes to improving the prevention and the diagnosis of the illness, and to increase recovery rates and quality of life through research. This programme consists of twelve research groups, which are classified into three complementary levels.
The Epidemiology and Public Health (EPISAP) research program is formed by about 120 persons, in 12 research groups. The 3 major lines are: Cardiovascular disease, Global Burden and Outcomes of Mental disorders, Suicide and Occupational conditions, and Cancer epidemiology.
The Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics carries out fundamental research and technological developments on the application of advanced information technologies and computational methods in the health and life sciences. The programme has a wide experience in the participation and coordination of research projects funded by the European Commission and a long tradition of collaboration with the pharmaceutical and biotech industry in the framework of R&D projects and providing services, especially developing computational methods to discover new drugs.
The mission of the Neurosciences Programme is to support clinical research, which in the end must give us a better understanding of mental and neurodegenerative illnesses. There is special interest in those disorders induced through the poor usage of psychoactive substances and pharmaceuticals. The Programme is comprised of 20 research groups with a highly clinical orientation.
The Translational Clinical Research Program (Research in Inflammatory and Cardiovascular Disorders Program before) combines the effort, knowledge and know-how of the 40 investigators and more than 100 technicians and support personnel of 13 research groups committed to the expansion of the knowledge on the physio-pathological, inflammatory and genetic mechanisms of cardiovascular, respiratory, bone and other acute and chronic disorders, their treatment and management.
This programme brings together several research groups with diverse but overlapping scientific interests, with the aim of deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying physiological pathways and the diseases associated with these.
The Molecules, Genes, and Cells Program explores the realms of normal and pathological processes through a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from fields such as molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry, proteomics, genetics, and neurobiology.
The research groups that make up this programme are dedicated to acquiring and interpreting quantitative knowledge of biological processes using systems-level approaches, and using this knowledge to control and act on cells and their environment.
The Research Programme explores population and evolutionary genetics, as well as complex systems and occupational health.
Genomic technology is generating an extraordinary amount of information, unprecedented in the history of biology. Bioinformatics addresses the specific data acquisition, storage, analysis and integration needs generated by genomics research. The programme groups cover a wide range of topics: from the computational biology of RNA processing, comparative bioinformatics and comparative genomics to gene function and evolution and genomic and epigenomic variation in disease. The programme also plays host to the EGA team at the CRG, which together with the EMBL-EBI, manages the European Genome-Phenome Archive (EGA).
The programme focuses on the interactions between intercellular signalling systems and the cytoskeleton, and how this contributes to the spatial organisation and information processing capacity of cells and groups of cells. It centres on systems with strong genetics (Drosophila and zebrafish) and uses multidimensional phenotypes based on genomics and proteomics.
The interests of the scientists in this programme range from the mechanisms of gene expression and epigenetic regulation to the molecular basis of the cell decisions involved in tissue homeostasis and cancer. Mechanistic and biological studies of gene regulation cover the entire gene expression pathway, from the organisation of chromatin in the cell nucleus to the translation of mRNA in the cytoplasm. In addition, cell reprogramming research includes differentiation and transdifferentiation studies in various systems.
The programme's research groups cover a wide range of topics: from dynamic gene regulation networks to systems neuroscience, and employ a wide range of model systems to address these problems, including prokaryotes, cell lines, C. elegans, Drosophila and mice. The programme is strongly interdisciplinary, involving a growing number of physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists, as well as biologists.
Understanding how our genome functions offers unrivalled opportunities to transform medicine. By providing insights into the genetic mechanisms of disease, it enables the development of more efficient preventive or curative therapies. The Medical Genomics Programme acts as an innovation hub for CRG´s cross-cutting efforts to understand human disease. It fosters partnerships and creates collaborative forums within CRG and across partner institutions, including research centres, clinical scientists, and industry.
Climate change is becoming a major issue for public health and features in global political agendas. The programme's scientific work focuses on the effects that the environmental consequences of climate change may have on human health, as well as the development of predictive computer models.
The programme includes exposure assessment; epidemiological and health impact studies on a variety of urban exposures, including air pollution, noise, temperature, natural environments (green and blue spaces), and lifestyle, such as active transport and physical activity. The programme's main objectives are to achieve a better understanding of where and how exposure takes place, how it influences health, and what the likely disease burden is. Our work uses a combination of innovative tools such as geographic information systems, satellite data and smartphone technology to estimate people's exposure.
The programme focuses on the causes and mechanisms of cancer and respiratory and allergic disease development and progression throughout life in low- and high-income countries, focusing on environmental, occupational and lifestyle determinants, and incorporating advanced epidemiological, bioinformatic and statistical methods.
This programme assesses the effects of environmental contaminants on the health of children, particularly following exposure during intrauterine and postnatal periods. This is considered an international priority.
The overall goal of the programme is to develop a better understanding of the potential risks associated with radiation exposure. Ultimately, this serves to protect the general population, patients and people exposed as a result of their work, and to inform policies for achieving this objective. Another programme aim is to boost the way we monitor populations affected by nuclear accidents, in the past and future, and improve their living conditions.
ISGlobal develops other research programmes on their Clínic Campus: Chagas and parasitic and imported diseases; viral and bacterial infections; malaria; and maternal, child and reproductive health.
The members of this research programme study animal biodiversity from a phylogenetic perspective with the aim of obtaining a greater understanding of the tree of life. Specific research interests include the origin and distribution of biodiversity, group systematics, speciation, hybridisation, diversification, biogeography, evolutionary ecology, and phylogenetic methods.
This programme compares genomes at the intra- and interspecific level with the general aim of understanding genome dynamics, reconstructing the evolutionary processes that generate biodiversity and linking genomic and phenotypic differences between individuals and species. To achieve these objectives, they implement experimental studies and theoretical/numerical approaches, with a strong emphasis on computational techniques.
The synthesis of evolution, palaeontology, genomics and development led to the new field of Evolution and Development (referred to as EvoDevo). The aim of EvoDevo is to address basic evolutionary questions taking into account embryological data but with a broader comparative perspective. The programme takes a step forward, combining evo-devo analysis with functional genomic approaches. The goal is to study fundamental biological issues such as the evolution of multicellularity, development, growth, metamorphosis and ovogenesis.
Genetic diversity is the result of the intricate interaction of several processes: some are embedded into the genome, such as mutation and recombination, others may be the result of natural selection. In this programme, all three of these processes are studied in humans. They investigate how recombination may be affected by genetic differences between populations; the demographic histories of particular populations or populational groups, such as the Bantu expansion; and the extent to which humans adapt to their pathogenic environment.
This programme includes the study of the evolution of complex systems, both natural and artificial, with the aim of identifying general organisational rules. The research in this programme can be expanded to a wide range of different systems. Special emphasis is placed on the study of computational biology, the biology of protocells, synthetic systems and network biology, specifically the dynamics of viruses, tissue architecture, ecological networks, cancer systems and language networks.
The scientists in this unit explore how tissues and organs function and develop, in terms of health and disease. They examine questions such as “How do molecular and genetic networks ultimately build, regulate and control tissues and organs?”, and “How do changes in genes filter through cells, tissues and organs to cause disease?”
The commitment to research and innovation in radiopharmacy is one of this unit's founding goals, with a clear objective: to work together with the region's biomedical network to develop and facilitate next-generation radiopharmaceuticals that improve quality of care and the life of patients.
The PRBB Animal Facility supports the animal experimentation carried out by the centres and is one of the most complex and automated in Europe. Its 4,500 m2 are organised into six areas that house mice, rats, zebrafish (Danio rerio) and Xenopus frogs.
Animal welfare is one of the PRBB’s fundamental commitments. That is why, in addition to complying with the corresponding official regulations, the animal facility has expert veterinary staff who ensure optimal animal health and welfare conditions.
For more information on the animal facility and animal experimentation visit:
Anyone who wishes to undertake an experiment involving animals must take an experimental animal user training course.
The PRBB animal facility, in collaboration with Charles River, organizes courses, accredited by the Generalitat de Catalunya and designed for the park's residents, to train them in:
The courses are taught partly online, in Spanish or English. The theoretical part is online, and the practical classes are given in the PRBB facilities.
Register to courses:
"Actions at the park are developed with pragmatism. Each centre lends its experience and shares it with the others."
Jordi Camí, General Director of the PRBB
The PRBB inter-institutional coalition allows all the scientists to obtain support from a wide variety of platforms with state-of-the-art equipment and led by experts in the field. The service units continuously explore new and emerging technologies, including for data interpretation and representation. In addition, most units organise courses for the researchers to help them become familiar with the technology. With the exception of the PRBB Animal Facility, all the services are managed by the centres.
The MARBiobanc unit holds several biological sample collections designed for biomedical research purposes, and it is organised as a technical unit with standards of quality, order and purpose. The service includes cryopreservation, sample processing, and laser microdissection
Contact: Núria Somoza
The Biocore unit provides external researchers and organisations with consulting services, planning for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and other genomic experiments, NGS data processing, analysis and management, software and database development, bioinformatics training and access to high-throughput computing resources.
Contact: Julia Ponomarenko
The CNAG-CRG is an institute specialising in massive sequencing and genomic analysis, and is located within Barcelona Science Park (PCB). Sequencing and data analysis projects span research areas including cancer genetics, rare diseases, host-pathogen interactions, evolutionary studies and the improvement of species of agricultural interest, in collaboration with scientists from universities, hospitals and research centres, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Contact: Ivo Gut
This is a comprehensive service that includes different cytogenetic analysis techniques: conventional cytogenetics; fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH); and multicolour spectral karyotyping (SKY) of human or mouse chromosomes. These three techniques can be complemented with the microarray technique (Affymetrix ®) by hybridising cytogenetic chips.
Contact: Blanca Espinet
This technology makes it possible to study a number of individual particle parameters simultaneously and quickly. It is useful for studying cell surface receptors, nuclear and cytoplasmic antigens, DNA content, enzyme activity, cell integrity and membrane permeability, and calcium flow. The unit currently houses five analysers and two classifiers, and is the largest Becton Dickinson site in Spain.
Contact: Òscar Fornas
The main purpose of the CEEA-PRBB is to evaluate experimental procedures using animals, with the ultimate aim of avoiding unnecessary suffering. This evaluation takes into account: - the suitability of the procedure in relation to the study objectives. - the possibility of reaching valid conclusions with as few animals as possible. - the fact that the effect on animals is not disproportionate to the potential benefits of the research. - the possibility of employing alternative methods to the use of animals. The CEEA-PRBB has been authorized by the Catalan government to carry out the tasks as a competent body (OH) defined in Royal Decree 53/2013 which is framed in Directive 2010/63/EU adopted by the European Parliament.
Contact: Dirección de secretaría
The CBS-PRBB was set up on 2nd July, 2011, to regulate and supervise activities involving Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) undertaken within the PRBB environment. Its purpose is to evaluate the biosafety of scientific projects that employ GMOs or biological agents, as well as any chemical products that may have a particularly significant, complex or dangerous biological effect.
Research ethics committees for medicinal products (RECm) are independent of research project sponsors and researchers, and their purpose is to ensure the methodological, ethical and legal adequacy of any research project that involves a physical or psychological risk to a human being.
Contact: Cristina Llop
This technological platform offers protein production and automated biochemical and biomolecular detection processes. Other techniques include the production of clones, mutants and plasmid libraries, protein and antibody purification, and the biophysical characterisation of proteins and nucleic acids. ©Tecan. ©ThermoFisher.
Contact: Carlo Carolis
BiblioPRO is a virtual library of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) questionnaires and other patient-reported outcomes (PRO), in Spanish, which can be accessed free of charge. It is intended to promote the appropriate use of HRQL instruments (in Spanish) in research, clinical practice and social-healthcare management, by providing comprehensive online information, evidence-based evaluations, and specialist training in this field. The library currently holds information on more than 500 questionnaires and is updated regularly.
Contact: Jordi Alonso
The EGA provides a service for permanently archiving and distributing personally identifiable genetic and phenotypic data arising from biomedical research projects. The EGA data was obtained from individuals whose consent agreements authorise data disclosure only for use in specific research carried out by bona fide researchers. Strict protocols govern how the EGA project manages, stores, and distributes the information.
Contact: Arcadi Navarro
This service provides next generation microarray and sequencing technologies. Several high-throughput technologies enable the evaluation of differential expression, inter-individual gene variation, microRNA discovery, genome sequencing, targeted re-sequencing, epigenetic profiling and the identification of DNA- or RNA-associated protein binding sites. The microarray unit is equipped with the latest Agilent technology.
Contact: Jochen Hecht
The MARGenomics platform is primarily intended for translational research that integrates all phases of the genomic analysis process: from the initial assessment of the project, through sample processing, to the final data analysis and support for interpreting the results. This platform integrates structural and human resources from the Hospital del Mar Research Institute and is coordinated with the MARBiobanc platform. It offers DNA analysis services, microarrays, next generation sequencing and data analysis.
Contact: Montserrat Torà
The platform offers a wide variety of methods for analysing DNA and RNA. The available equipment includes liquid-handling robots for automated pipetting tasks, capillary sequencers for Sanger sequencing and fragment analysis, DNA quantification and quality control with Picogreen and Bioanalyzer, real-time PCR and OpenArray system for the absolute and relative quantification of nucleic acids (genotyping and gene expression). It is also equipped with two state-of-the-art Illumina sequencing platforms: MiSeq, ideal for sequencing specific and small genomes; and NextSeq, a highly flexible platform able to perform a wide range of applications.
Contact: Ferran Casals
The platform features the latest technologies used in the fields of stem cell biology, stem cell differentiation, organoid formation and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). In collaboration with the Biomolecular Screening & Protein Technologies Unit at the CRG, the platform provides a CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing service.
Contact: Laura Batlle Morera
This service is accredited by the Generalitat de Catalunya as a Phase I Clinical Trials Unit. Here, clinical trials with drugs are performed on healthy volunteers, nutritional studies are conducted, and other support activities are carried out for developing trials in various therapeutic areas. The unit has space for 12 volunteers in the admissions area as well as three dispensaries for screening visits and outpatient evaluations. It has a high recruitment capacity due to its database of over 500 volunteers.
Contact: Ana Aldea
This platform enables 3D images to be taken of biological tissues over time. Mesoscopic microscopy involves looking at the details of biological systems in the context of an organ, body part or organism. It employs techniques such as selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) and optical projection tomography (OPT), which combine the capture of fine details with the ability to study relatively large samples over long periods of time.
Contact: Jim Swoger
The unit is equipped with several advanced light microscopy systems, equipment for sample preparation and maintenance prior to imaging, and resources for the subsequent processing of the image data. Current imaging applications include super resolution microscopy, multiphoton microscopy, confocal microscopy, wide-field microscopy and detection microscopy.
Contact: Nadia Halidi
Synthetic peptides are useful tools for applications involving immunogens (antipeptide antibodies, vaccines), affinity capture and purification ligands, intracellular administration shuttles and anti-infection therapies. The latest-generation equipment allows fast and reliable peptide synthesis in a wide range of sizes (up to 50 residues), quantities (1-500 mg), purities and forms (free, coupled to carrier proteins or affinity supports, biotinylated, lipidated, fluoro-labeled, etc.)
Contact: David Andreu
This unit provides proteomics services to both internal and external users, and develops quantitative techniques based on mass spectrometry. It formed part of the European Epic-XS Project infrastructure that brought together the top European proteomics laboratories and platforms to disseminate proteomics access and tools to the international community. The service is also part of the "Biomolecular and Bioinformatics Resource Platform" and "ProteoRed" from the Carlos III Health Institute, part of the Spanish National Health System.
Contact: Eduard Sabido Aguade
The international scientific community is increasingly aware of the importance of maintaining the highest standards of good scientific practice and integrity in research. To this end, research institutes around the world are developing and adhering to codes of good practice that establish scientific norms and quality standards.
At the PRBB, we aim to create an environment conducive to high quality research performed with the utmost integrity. To raise awareness on this important topic, and help prevent malpractice in science, we have established:
In addition, the PRBB centres have their own committees, protocols and resources related to research integrity. For more information, contact your centre or check out the individual websites: ISGlobal, CRG, MELIS-UPF, IBE (UPF-CSIC), Hospital del Mar Research Institute, FPM/BBRC.
For more on research integrity, you can also check out the Committee for the Integrity of Research in Catalonia CIR-CAT website, and the resources therein.
Technology at the Hospital del Mar Research Institute
UPF Business Shuttle and Innovation Unit
Technology and Business Development Office at the CRG
Analysis and Global Development at ISGlobal
EMBLEM Technology Transfer
Acellera is dedicated to developing cutting-edge applications for the computational discovery of drugs. In 2019, Acellera was named one of the Top 30 "AI Drug Discovery" companies in the world.→ https://www.acellera.com
Chemotargets is a world leader in artificial intelligence solutions and predictive analytics for better and safer drug discovery. The goal of this spin-off from Hospital del Mar Research Institute is to help the biopharmaceutical industry accelerate drug discovery and development programmes.→ http://www.chemotargets.com/
qGenomics is a biotechnology company operating in the genetic diagnosis market and based in Barcelona. They have created a sustainable and responsible business aimed at bringing together genomic research and clinical application to help all citizens.→ https://qgenomics.com
ZeClinics is a biotechnology CRO (Contract Research Organisation) and an early stage biopharmaceutical company (Pharma) that uses zebrafish (Danio rerio) to detect the safety and efficacy of new chemical molecules.→ http://www.zeclinics.com
Microomics is a biotechnology-based spin-off that provides innovative metagenomic and genomic solutions to traditional and novel issues in the Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, Agri-Food, Consumer Goods and Environmental sectors.→ http://www.microomics.eu
World leaders in fluid transcriptomics. Flomics was created by a group of genomics researchers with the goal of transforming laboratory discoveries into better healthcare for society.→ http://www.flomics.com
This UPF spin-off company seeks to reduce the impact of pig waste by extracting molecules that are useful for producing feed, adhesives and binding materials.→ https://www.bioinspiredmaterials.com/
MedBioinformatics Solutions are based on DisGeNET, a tool developed by the GRIB (Hospital del Mar Research Institute-UPF). It stores 600,000 associations between more than 17,000 genes and 24,000 human diseases.→ https://www.medbioinformatics.com/
A spin-off company from the CRG founded by experienced entrepreneurs and funded by Invivo Ventures. Pulmobiotics will use its technology to discover and develop novel treatments and vaccines for respiratory diseases.→ https://www.pulmobio.com/
Integra Therapeutics, a spin-off company from MELIS-UPF by Marc Güell, has combined the precision of CRISPR systems with the gene transfer efficiency of viral integrases and transposases in the patented new genome editing technology Uni-large.→ https://integra-tx.com/